It doesn’t take a study to determine that any type of surgery, including spine surgery, can cause some level of stress in patients. Conversely, there is extensive research to suggest that certain psychological techniques can help patients deal with the emotions often associated with something as serious as spine surgery.
Today the Los Angeles spine surgeons from The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration are going to talk about some of the common emotions experienced by patients before surgery, and what can be done to help alleviate or minimize such feelings.
Many patients experience some degree of stress while preparing for spinal surgery due to having some degree of fear about the outcome of the procedure or concerns about what might happen if the surgery isn’t successful. Added stress can cause patients to experience:
- High blood pressure
- Diminished immune system function
- Slowed tissue healing time
Some patients may experience depression either brought on by the initial back pain itself, especially in the case of degenerative or chronic conditions, or increased anxiety from the thought of going through surgery. Depression has also been linked to poorer short-term outcomes following surgery, and decreased postoperative satisfaction.
Being Prepared for Surgery
While it’s normal to have some degree of nervousness before spine surgery, it’s just as important to find ways to deal with the emotions sometimes associated with any type of back surgery. An effective way to combat the emotional aspects of spinal surgery is to be as informed and involved as possible. Consider the following steps:
- Ask for a detailed explanation of your condition (in understandable terms)
- Ask for a detailed explanation of your surgery (especially for more advanced procedures such as cervical or lumbar artificial disc replacement or spine surgery with coflex)
- Monitor your own stress level (reporting increased stress to your doctor)
- Get any instructions related to your surgery in writing (to relieve the stress of forgetting something)
Keeping emotions in check before and after spine surgery can also help patients enjoy a more productive healing process. In order to reduce the psychological stress associated with surgery as much as possible, patients are also encouraged to ask questions and develop a strong support system with friends and family.
For more information about spine surgery, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today at (310) 828-7757. The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration is home to some of Santa Monica’s top surgeons who are board-eligible and certified. Call us for an in-person consultation and start on your path to a pain-free lifestyle.