Nearly a million spine surgeries are performed each year in the United States. Statistically, many of these procedures, especially common ones like spinal fusion, produce positive results. Even with the odds being on your side, it’s understandable to be anxious when having any type of spine surgery. However, being excessively nervous can contribute to added physical and mental stress that could affect recovery. Here are some ways you can ease your nerves and calm your anxiety before spine surgery.
Several studies have noted a link between chemicals in cigarettes and the way important nutrients are delivered to the spine via tiny blood vessels. Anything that disrupts this process can make it difficult to heal post-surgery. Make an effort to stop smoking as soon as you and your Los Angeles spine surgeon determine spine surgery is the right option for you.
Anxiety sometimes comes from not fully understanding either the condition or the procedure that’s been recommended to treat it. Even if your surgeon went over everything, you may still have questions. Consider scheduling a separate appointment to talk about your concerns. The discussion may involve:
Some people get more anxious if they know too many details about their surgery. Decide what’s comfortable for you.
It’s surprisingly easy to get bogged down in thoughts about what could go wrong with spine surgery. Doing so can also be what’s making you anxious. Realize your surgeon will do everything possible to handle the specifics of your procedure, and focus your attention on what surgery could mean for you. For many patients, this includes:
Maybe all you need is something to keep your mind off concerns about your surgery. One way to do this is by making a list of things you need to get done before your operation. As you busy yourself with smaller tasks you have more control over, you may find yourself stressing less. With spine surgery, this typically includes:
Having someone to talk to about your concerns can be a good way to get the reassurance you’ll need to keep your nerves in check. Your personal support group might include your spouse or immediate family members and close friends. If this isn’t an option, consider joining a support group. These same people can be a source of comfort as you recover.
Should your anxiety about your upcoming spine surgery be something you can’t manage on your own, consider professional counseling or therapy sessions. Options include talk therapy where you simply discuss your concerns with a therapist or cognitive behavioral therapy that involves shifting your way of thinking.
Your susceptibility to stress and anxiety can also be affected by the foods you eat and the general lifestyle you lead. For instance, foods such as fruits and veggies, dark chocolate, whole grains, and fatty fish like salmon may naturally enhance your mood. Other lifestyle adjustments that could naturally minimize your stress include:
If you have lingering anxiety related to an inability to effectively de-stress, there are some relaxation techniques that may benefit you. Plus, many of these techniques can also be applied to other aspects of your life. Possibilities include:
Some people find it helpful to explore pet therapy when managing pre-surgery stress. Keeping a diary or journal where you write down your thoughts and concerns may also be an effective way to manage anxiety. There are various procedures you might be considering, from traditional fusion surgery to Mobi-C disc replacement. Los Angeles residents can turn to Dr. Bae at The Spine Institute for the relief they need. To schedule an in-person evaluation, call 310-828-7757 today.