New findings show that patients who suffered with depression reported more severe arthritic knee pain than those without depressive symptoms. Tae Kyun Kim, MD, study author and director of the Division of Knee Surgery and Sports Medicine at Seoul National University Bundang Hospital’s Joint Reconstruction Center said, “Often, the level of arthritic symptoms reported by patients is much more severe than what is represented by X-rays, which can make it difficult for the doctor to treat.
“The results of this study indicate that depression can play a major role in the way patients experience the symptoms of knee arthritis, and that even when X-rays show the arthritis is not severe, patients with depression may report significant pain,” Dr. Kim said. “The relationship between pain and depression suggests that both should be considered by physicians when treating patients with knee osteoarthritis, particularly in those with X-rays not indicating severe damage to the joint.”
Dr. Kim also noted that the symptoms of depression that contributed to the arthritic symptoms were just as relative and important as the actual damage that could be seen on an X-ray. “Despite the reported satisfactory outcomes of knee replacement surgery a percentage of patients still experience knee pain and impaired movement,” said Dr. Kim. “Sometimes pain and disability after surgery is medically unexplained, so in these patients screening for depression might be a very good option.”
The study was conducted on 660 men and women over the age of 65. Each was evaluated based on the level of pain symptoms and severity of arthritis that appeared on their X-ray. In addition, each client was interviewed to determine any coinciding depressive disorders. The overall conclusions show how proper treatment for mental illnesses directly impact overall physical health.
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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