The decision to have spine surgery is often made after months or years of living with persistent or disruptive pain. While most people focus on the possibility of living without pain post-surgery, there are many smaller steps involved outside of the procedure itself. If you have a friend or family member who is getting ready to have spine surgery, there are some things you can do before and after the operation that he or she will likely appreciate.
Helping Out Before Spine Surgery
You can help a friend or loved one in the weeks or days leading up to the surgery. A good place to start is by letting the person voice concerns prior to the operation. It’s only human nature to have thoughts about what “could” go wrong. However, try to steer the person toward the positive things associated with spine surgery to minimize stress.
For instance, you might help your friend or family member make a list of things he or she would like to be able to do following surgery but hasn’t been able to do lately because of the spine-related pain. You can also lend a helping hand by:
- Preparing some meals to freeze for easy preparation following surgery
- Offering a ride to see a Beverly Hills spine surgeon
- Volunteering to take certain daily tasks off the to-do list post-surgery, such as picking up the person’s kids from school or running to the grocery store
- Asking if there are things you can do while he or she is at pre-op appointments (e.g. walking the dog, watering the plants, watching the kids, helping out with laundry and other household tasks)
What You Can Do After Surgery
Even with minimally invasive spine surgery, there will be a need to recover after the operation is complete. During this time, your friend or loved one will have to avoid certain movements and activities, especially anything too strenuous, which means he or she likely won’t be able to do some of the things normally done on a regular basis, such as yardwork and housework. Start by volunteering to do some of these things. Additional steps you can take to help your loved one or friend during recovery include:
- Helping with transportation (e.g. offering rides to post-surgery appointments, taking kids to afterschool activities)
- Seeing if he or she needs some assistance changing surgical dressings or evaluating the wound site to look for signs of infection
- Encouraging him or her to stick to recommended physical therapy exercises
- Pointing out any improvements you see to give him or her some added confidence
- Planning some social activities to give him or her a break from being confined to the house, such as going to a movie, taking a walk to a local park, or going out to get a cup of coffee at a local café
In addition to the suggestions discussed here, simply asking how your friend or loved one is doing emotionally before and after surgery can be helpful, as can letting him or her know you’re available if anything is needed. Even being around to listen can mean a lot. A good way to get a better perspective on what someone else having spine surgery is going through is to ask yourself what you would need both physically and mentally if you were in his or her place.
Get in touch with The Spine Institute if you or someone you know needs to undergo a fusion procedure or spinal fusion alternative. Beverly Hills patients can call 310-828-7757 today to schedule an in-person evaluation.