8 Tips For Dealing With Pre-Surgery Anxiety

Category: Minimally Invasive Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: October 20, 2022

Stress Back Pain

Even though spine surgery is safer than it’s ever been, the prospect of surgery can still be a bit scary. It’s completely natural to be anxious ahead of your operation, but this isn’t a fun headspace to be in, and studies have actually shown that fear and anxiety can have negative effects on your recovery after surgery, so we always work to help calm any nerves about the operation and rehabilitation. In today’s blog, we share eight tips for dealing with anxiety before your spinal operation.

How To Deal With Nerves Before Spine Surgery

It’s normal to feel nervous before your spine operation, but we want to do everything in our power to help calm these feelings of anxiety. Here are some helpful ways to get your nerves under control before your operation.

  1. Focus on the good, not the bad – Sometimes our fear is driven by how we frame the operation in our mind. We start to focus on all the things that could happen if something goes wrong instead of getting excited at all the things that will happen assuming it goes as planned. You may be able to get back to doing the activities you once loved or simply be able to move without pain. Focus on all the good the surgery can bring, and you’ll start to feel less anxious about the operation.
  2. Find the right surgeon – Make sure that you’ve selected the right spine team for your care. That’s easier said than done, but if you’ve looked at online reviews, asked relevant questions during your pre-surgical consultation and felt comfortable with your surgeon during the lead up to surgery, odds are you’re in good hands. Do a little research prior to your operation and move forward with a surgeon you have faith in.
  3. Control what you can control – Sometimes what drives our anxiety is the fact that our fate seems to be out of our control. While you can’t control every aspect of your operation, if you control what you can control, you’ll find that your anxiety may lessen. Follow your pre-op protocols, eat a healthy diet and commit to becoming the healthiest version of yourself prior to your operation.
  4. Talk out your concerns – If there is anything specific that’s driving your anxiety, talk out these concerns with your physician, your surgical team or a family friend. Talking about any concerns and getting answers to any questions you might have can help to calm your nerves ahead of surgery.
  5. Develop a plan – You can also help to calm your pre-op jitters by making a plan for the day of surgery. Know how you’re getting to the surgery center, know how you’re getting home, and pack an overnight bag with clothes, toiletries, a phone charger and anything else you may need for your time at the surgery center. Again, control what you can control and make a plan so that things go as expected on the day of surgery.
  6. Keep your mind busy – Keep your mind busy in the days and weeks leading up to your operation. Read some books, challenge yourself with a crossword puzzle, start a new Netflix series or simply get ahead on some work. Find ways to keep your mind occupied, and it will be less stressed about the upcoming operation.
  7. Avoid smoking or drinking – While smoking or drinking may provide a very short-term fix to your anxiety, these habits can significantly increase your risk of complications during and after your surgery. Instead of turning to these products, turn to some relaxation techniques or breathing exercises to help calm your nerves.
  8. Prepare your home – Finally, make your home a place that will be easy to return to after your operation. Pick up any tripping hazards, get the laundry done and prepare some easy-to-reheat meals. Take some stress out of the surgical process by preparing for your return ahead of time.

For more tips on how to calm pre-op anxiety, or to talk to a spine surgeon with decades of experience helping patients find spine pain relief, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi and the team at The Midwest Spine & Brain Institute today at (651) 430-3800.

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