4 Tips to Help You Prepare for Spine Surgery

Back pain, shoulder discomfort and odd body numbness can often be cured with spinal surgery. Preparing beforehand can help ensure that the surgery and recovery go smoothly.

1. Attend Pre-Surgical Assessments

You may need to check in with your doctor and certain specialists before surgery can proceed. For example, if you have other pre-existing health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease, the surgeon may require a health assessment from your endocrinologist or cardiologist before they will schedule spine surgery. This is because other conditions can have an effect on how well you recover from a spinal operation and specific strategies may be necessary to avoid any type of health emergency during surgery.

2. Make a List of All Medications

Medications can impact the surgery itself as well as recovery times. For example, medications like blood thinners can lead to dangerous conditions during spine surgery, while other medications can interfere with how well the anesthesia works. Other medications may be contraindicated for use with those your surgeon will prescribe to aid with surgery, or they may slow down healing time. To avoid these issues, make a list of all medications and supplements — both prescription and over-the-counter — and present it to your surgeon well in advance of your spine surgery.

3. Keep Up With Any Physical Therapy

Depending on the spinal condition your surgery is for, you may have been prescribed certain exercises or physical therapy for before the procedure. This physical therapy is designed to aid with recovery and perhaps to help reduce discomfort following surgery. Keep all physical therapy appointments and perform any prescribed exercises at home to ensure proper recovery. Spinal surgeries can sometimes come with a long recovery period, so anything that helps decrease recovery time and improve comfort will be much appreciated following the procedure.

4. Prepare Your Recovery Space

In the first days following surgery, you may be unable to move much. A comfortable recovery space is needed. Your surgeon may recommend special pillows or even hiring an adjustable hospital bed for home use. Having someone stay over to help with basic tasks, such as cleaning and personal hygiene, may also be recovered. Bending and lifting will be severely limited for some weeks, so you may also want to have plenty of ready-made meals on hand. Needed items in the kitchen, bathroom and other spaces should also be moved to a level where you can reach them without bending over or stretching. 

Contact your surgeon to get further advice for preparing for spine surgery.

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