How to Prepare Psychologically for Back Surgery

There’s no question that undergoing a surgical procedure is an important (even traumatic) event in anyone’s life, regardless of the type of surgery involved.

Many people approach surgery with at least some trepidation.  If it’s a first surgery, that effect can be multiplied.  Friends and relatives tend to ply patients with tales of doom to compound the effect.  There’s worry about the surgery’s success, complications and the effect of anesthesia.

But with the right attitude and preparation, patients can prepare themselves for back surgery and feel ready to go into it completely at peace with the procedure and with trust in the surgeon involved.

The Power of Information

The mystique of the surgeon is unquestionable.  But at Advanced Spine, we believe patients are partners.  That’s why we encourage our patients to ask questions.  We provide them with detailed information about their surgery, allowing them to gain a full understanding of what to expect.

Every patient anticipating surgery should take note of any questions that arise while awaiting surgery, no matter how insignificant they may seem.  Any question you have is a good question and one your surgeon will be happy to respond to.

Don’t be shy.  Ask any questions you have.  The information you gather will support you as you move toward the operating theater.

Take notes.

Everyone retains information at different rates.  In addition, anxiety associated with surgery can get in the way of remembering what your surgeon has told you.

Taking clear notes you can refer to when needed is a great strategy for remembering what you’ve been told.  This can avoid misunderstandings in the future.  The act of writing helps us remember details we might not when we simply rely on our memories.

There is also a strong sense of empowerment in approaching your surgery as an opportunity to learn something new.  That empowerment will stand you in good stead, as you see the stages of your surgery unfold, from pre-operative preparation, through recovery room procedures, to what happens on the hospital ward and during follow-up.

Benefits of Preparing Psychologically for Surgery

Over 200 studies about pre-surgical preparation in recent years have shown numerous benefits for patients.  All patients prepared themselves (unconsciously) in their own ways, but intentional preparation has a measurable effect on recovery time and healing.

Anxiety can have a serious impact on your ability to heal and recover.  Taking charge of your psychological state by informing yourself can reduce anxiety significantly.

The studies mentioned above have repeatedly proven that preparing yourself for surgery intentionally and actively also reduces the incidence of complications.  Best of all, you can expect less pain.  It’s well known that stress and anxiety create a radically altered physical landscape.  Knowing what’s going to happen is a way to prevent these psychological factors from causing you more pain than is necessary.

We’re offering these guidelines on how to prepare psychologically before back surgery to empower you to fully participate in the process and ensure the best possible outcome.  Contact us for more information.