Mind Matters for Improving Surgery ResultsWhat determines the result of knee surgery? Is it how well the body heals? Is it how well the patient can get around? Researchers say it's something called the health locus of control.
This refers to the patient's beliefs about themselves and others. They may believe that other people (doctors, therapists, trainers) control what happens. Some patients think that the final result is left to fate, luck, or chance. These people have an external locus of control. Others hold to the belief that their own actions decide the outcome. This is an internal health locus.
Researchers used a group of patients who had surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee as study models. They found that patients who believed their outcome after surgery was under the control of others had a poorer result. Those patients who thought fate, luck, or chance were responsible for their result had the same reduced result with more pain, less function, and more limitations. Patients who believed that their own actions and attitudes made the difference had less pain, could do more, and weren't as limited.
Before surgery, it may be a good idea to do an attitude check. A positive internal drive, rather than reliance on other people, luck, or chance may be all it takes to have a better result.
John Nyland, EdD, PT, SCS, ATC, et al. Internal Health Status Belief and Lower Perceived Functional Deficit are Related Among Anterior Cruciate Ligament-Deficient Patients. In Arthroscopy. May/June 2002. Vol. 18. No. 5. Pp. 515-518.
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