Fears common among patients about to undergo spine surgery may present added challenges during their recovery period. Engaging in cognitive behavioral therapy, a form of therapy addressing such concerns, prior to spine surgery may help patients develop a healthier perspective that could improve outcomes.
Developing Effective Management Techniques
Patients heading into spine surgery often focus more on the actual procedure they will be undergoing rather than any emotional issues that may hinder recovery. The purpose of behavioral therapy is to help patients develop effective self-management techniques. The process often includes:
• Learning relaxation techniques
• Developing a symptom management plan
• Setting realistic post-surgery goals
• Establishing effective coping mechanisms
Encouraging Patient-Doctor Communications
Gaining personal insights prior to surgery through CBT can have the added benefit of encouraging patients to discuss their concerns with their board-certified orthopedic surgeon. Behavioral therapists often have a background in physical therapy that can help patients determine how to best verbalize their concerns with both their primary care physician and surgeon.
Offering Additional Support
Cognitive behavioral therapy can include individual sessions or group sessions. The therapist conducting CBT sessions often has an understanding of what’s involved with most common spine surgeries to better determine what topics to bring up with patients to help spur productive dialogs. While patients can benefit from any approach to CBT, groups made up exclusively of patients scheduled to have spine surgery tend to offer an added level of support, as evidenced by the success of similar groups for cancer patients.
Understanding Concerns Early
While CBT can be applied post-surgery, participating in sessions in advance of surgery presents an opportunity for patients to better understand emotional concerns they may be having at a time when such issues can be effectively identified. Behavioral therapy can also preemptively address:
• Concerns about post-surgery activity levels
• Fears about possible re-injury following surgery
• Worries about any post-surgery pain
Recovery from spine surgery is a complex process that extends beyond physically recovering from the procedure. Many other factors play a role in determining how patients respond to spine surgery. Being better prepared both physically and emotionally, however, increases the odds of experiencing a successful outcome.
For more information about spine surgery or to learn more about the spine treatments available to you, reach out to Dr. Hyun Bae, Medical Director of The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. Dr. Bae is a leader in minimally invasive spine surgery in Los Angeles and fusion alternatives and can diagnose the source of your pain and discuss treatment options right for you. Call (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation today.