Preparing for Back Surgery: Three Tips

There are a number of conditions associated with back pain. These can range from spinal degeneration to arthritis to injury. Whatever the case may be, back pain can be debilitating to live with. Most options that treat back pain are conservative in nature. They can include physical therapy, medication, rest, cold/hot therapy, and low-impact exercise. However, there are instances where conservative therapy is not enough. When this occurs, a patient undergoing excruciating back pain will be recommended for back surgery. The purpose of back surgery is to get to the root cause of the patient’s back pain. 

If you have been recommended for surgery, the next step you need to take is to properly prepare for the procedure. This will ensure that your surgery will go as smoothly as possible. A successful surgical procedure will get you back to the activities you love in no time. At BEST, we offer a number of treatment options for back pain including minimally invasive surgery. Check out this guide to learn more. 

Do You Need Back Surgery?

Surgery in general can be a daunting decision. In fact, a study has found that 60%–92% of patients experience significant amounts of anxiety before their procedure. With that being said surgery is only considered a last resort option. 

Your doctor will begin treatment for back pain with a number of conservative options. If these do not provide relief more invasive options will be considered such as ant-inflammatory steroid injections. Typically these options provide a significant amount of relief and often eliminate the need for surgery. 

If these treatments do not provide the necessary relief for a patient to go back to their daily activities then surgery is considered. Surgery will only become an option when conservative treatments have been explored fully. 

How to Prepare for Surgery

If surgery becomes the only option capable of providing long-lasting relief, there are a few necessary steps needed to be taken to help you prepare for surgery and ensure your procedure is successful. The following will help you do so. 

1. Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes can include a wide range of options. For example, if you smoke it is recommended you quit several months in advance as there is a possibility it can reduce the chances of a successful surgery. In fact, it increases the chances of severe complications during the procedure. 

If you are recommended for surgery, certain medications can put you at risk of an unsuccessful surgery. These medications can include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This is because this type of medication can interfere with anesthesia that is typically provided during a procedure. 

It is also important to maintain a healthy diet. A strong immune system can increase your chances of a successful surgery due to the decrease in the possibility of infection. 

2. Stay Active

We understand back pain is a difficult condition to live with but maintaining an active lifestyle is important. Staying active can help reduce excess weight and speed up your overall recovery. Maintaining a healthy weight will significantly increase your chances of a successful surgery. 

Although staying active is important it is equally as important to do so in a safe manner. Be sure to consult with your doctor about the kinds of exercises you are able to perform safely. If you are suffering from back pain, certain exercises can worsen your condition. 

3. Get a Second Opinion

More often than not patients will be unsure if surgery is what is right for them. This will cause them to have doubts and become increasingly worried about undergoing a procedure. As a patient, it is important to be as educated as possible when it comes to surgery. This will allow patients to make a well-thought-out decision that considers their condition and the type of lifestyle they lead. 

Patients who feel unsure and uneasy about a procedure are recommended to get a second opinion. A second opinion will give a patient peace of mind that the procedure they have been recommended is the best option which will help a patient become less stressed about the procedure. 

There is nothing wrong with seeking a second opinion and if a patient feels the need to do so they should. 

How BEST Can Help

BEST Health System offers a variety of conservative treatment options for our patients. This includes our physical therapy programs, orthotics, and nutritional services. These are just a few options offered at BEST. In addition to conservative treatment, we do all-out imaging on-site. Our state-of-the-art facilities are all-inclusive and capable of running diagnostic imaging including x-rays, MRI, and CT scans. 

If you require surgery, our minimally invasive option is a much safer and more effective alternative to traditional open-back surgery. Our board-certified surgeons, Dr. Girton and Dr. Abbott use a muscle-sparing approach to surgery, meaning the incision used will typically be less than an inch. This will eliminate the need for an overnight hospital stay and help reduce the overall recovery time and lowers the risk of complications. A majority of the patients who undergo surgery with BEST are walking within hours. 

If you would like to learn more about what BEST has to offer, feel free to reach out to us today!