Preparing for Back Surgery

March 12, 2013

Undergoing back surgery can be scary. But if you need back surgery to treat a spinal condition, here are a few tips that can help you prepare for it.

Follow the instructions

Your surgeon, or the clinical facility where the surgery will take place, will have detailed preparation instructions for you. Read them carefully and follow them accordingly. If you have questions, do not hesitate to call the doctor’s office to get an answer.

The detailed instructions may be different from facility to facility, and may differ drastically depending on the type of back surgery you need. But all instructions will probably mention medications. Certain medications, such as aspirin, may increase the risk of bleeding or other surgical complications. Your doctor may ask you to stop taking these medications before the surgery.

Know what to expect

That means knowing how the surgery works and what might happen during and after the surgery. If your doctor has given you an information sheet, read it. If not, ask for the information you need. Knowing what to expect may help you ease anxiety and better cope with the surgery.

Plan ahead
If your surgery will take place out of town, make travel arrangements early. If you need to stay at the hospital after the surgery, make sure you have everything need for the stay. Even if you don’t need a hospital stay after the surgery, you’ll still need someone to drive you home. And after you get back home, you’ll most likely need some help with daily activities such as cooking and cleaning. So plan ahead and if necessary, ask family members and friends for help.
Quit smoking
Study after study has shown that smoking is bad for our health, it interferes with pain relief and surgery recovery. If you are a smoker, now is the time to quit.
Exercise can help you stay fit. And overall physical and mental fitness can help with your recovery. Furthermore, exercise can help reduce stress and ease anxiety. So exercise if you can. If necessary, ask your doctor to help design an exercise program that is appropriate for you.
Eat a healthy diet
A healthy diet rich in protein can help with tissue repair. Your doctor will likely have diet recommendations for you. If not, ask for recommendations.