How to prepare for back surgery
Something I didn’t think I would ever have valuable advice on is how to prepare for back surgery. But as I sit here preparing for my third back surgery (the 2nd one this year, actually!), it made me think that I wanted to share this advice with my readers. I know how scary back surgery can be, heck, I’m scared even though I have been through it a few times before, but being prepared will not only distract your brain and it will also lesson your anxiety as you will feel as prepared as possible when that day finally comes.
Now I know that not all back surgeries are created equal, and of course not everyone’s experience will be the same as mine, so I’m going to try to keep these tips pretty general, and things that everyone should be able to use, regardless of the exact type of surgery you are getting. In my case I have had 2 types of back surgery, I have had a Discectomy and I have also had a fusion. My upcoming surgery is a full decompression. None of them have been very fun, ha! So as someone who has had to search the internet, make lists, and go over everything in my head over and over, I wanted to share some helpful tips that made my surgery and recovery just a little easier, and I hope they help you too!
How to prepare for back surgery (my tips and tricks)
- Find your support system! This is probably my number 1 tip for any type of surgery. Having people around you to support you is SO important. And that support looks different for different people. For some it’s a spouse/partner, for other it’s a parent/sibling/other family member. Sometimes its a good friend that’s always been there. I would not have gotten through everything without my family by my side. Not only will you need people to lean on (mentally and physically), you will need people to do things for you that you simply cannot do for yourself. Things that I didn’t even think of like picking up something for me that I dropped, running to the store to grab my prescriptions, or just being there to be a shoulder to cry on when the pain just became too much. Gather your tribe, don’t try to do it alone!
- Ask ALL the questions! This is something I struggled with the first time. I know that doctors seem busy and in general, tend to try to get through appointments quickly, but if you have questions, speak up! This is my advice before AND after your surgery. Before your surgical consult write down a list of questions you want to ask about anything in a notebook and take it with you, you will never remember everything on the fly. If you have a question while you are in the hospital, ASK IT! Not sure what you should be doing when you are at home and recovering? You already know what to do, ask. Everyone on your team is on your side, and they want this to be as easy for you as possible, help them help you and everyone wins!
- Plan out as much as you can in advance. If your house is anything like mine, it all runs because you run it. So what happens when the manager of the house is down for the count? Everyone else has to help pitch in to keep things running. This was a mistake I made during my first back surgery. I didn’t think of things like who would get the laundry done, who would go pick up pet food, who would help my kiddo with her math homework. Things like that. My husband works, like a lot, so most of those things were on me and I didn’t think about what would happen if I suddenly wasn’t feeling up to doing them. By the time my next surgery came around I had all of that taken care of and taped to the fridge so everyone knew what they could do to help.
- Get things that will make your life easier, even if they seem silly. There are SO many tools out there to help you get through a back surgery recovery. I know you might think you can “tough it out” without them, but my question is, why? Trust me when I say, if it makes your recovery just a little easier, it’s worth the investment if you can afford it. The first time I was able to take a shower after my surgery I was SO thankful for the shower chair I purchased. I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy that first shower with out it. I personally suggest picking up a shower chair, button down sleep shirts, and most importantly, a grabber. I still use my grabber to this day. It’s a must for any back surgery recovery kit.
- Last, but not least, Breath. As I said before, I know how scary any type of surgery can be, especially a surgery on your spine. But the more relaxed you are, the better it is for all. Remember you are in the best hands possible and that it’s all going to be worth it when you feel better. You CAN do this, and it will all be over soon! <3
What tips would you give someone to help them prepare for back surgery?
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