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How Physical Injury can Lead to Mental Health Problems

Elina Krima, Mental Health

Most people who lead active lifestyles will eventually suffer an injury severe enough to put them out of action for months, if not a year or more. Persistent long-term injury can not only cause physical pain and discomfort: it can take a toll on your mental health in several distinct ways. If you’ve been on the receiving end of substandard treatment, then the experience can be made that much worse – which is what makes medical negligence cases worthwhile.

Recovering from the injury means not only dealing with the injury itself but giving yourself the tools you need to stay mentally resilient.

Inability to Exercise

If your injury is preventing you from exercising as you did before, then you’ll no longer get the mental health benefit that comes with physical activity. You’ll need to find some other way to release those feel-good endorphins. This goes double if you got some mental stimulation from the strategic aspect of a particular sport. 

While you’re recovering, it’s important you find a way to stay active without aggravating your injury. If you’ve broken an arm, you can still go for daily walks, for example.


If your lifestyle has been severely affected, then it’s normal to experience feelings of frustration. This goes especially if you’re used to being independent, and suddenly find yourself reliant on others to do even simple things, like get something out of the fridge. If you put too much pressure on yourself and experience a setback, then you might make the situation worse. Set yourself realistic targets, and try to take one day at a time.


While many injury-sufferers find themselves straining to get back to where they were before, there are others who feel nervous or afraid, or unable to take up the activity again. If you’ve been thrown off a horse, then getting back into the saddle can be a big step. Some people never take it and end up seeking alternative ways to stay active in the long-term. If you really enjoyed a particular activity, however, it might be worth pushing yourself to get over the mental obstacle. Consider seeking professional King of Prussia counseling – it might make the difference.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

In some instances, particularly when the injury you experienced was especially traumatic, you might find that you experience the symptoms of PTSD. These might include flashbacks, nightmares, nausea, sweating, and general distress. You might ask yourself the same questions over and over again, which will prevent you from getting over what’s happened to you.

In the majority of cases, PTSD goes away on its own – but it’s helpful to have someone there to talk to about your symptoms, especially if they’ve been through the same thing that you have. It’ll help you to understand that progress isn’t impossible and that your behavior and feelings aren’t all that strange.

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