Emotional Recovery after Spine Surgery

Category: Minimally Invasive Surgery, Surgery Recovery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: January 20, 2015

emotional recoveryWe talk a lot on this blog about the physical aspects of the surgical process. An important element of surgery that often gets overlooked is the impact surgery has on a patient’s emotional and psychological well-being. In this article, instead of focusing on the physical aspects of recovering after spine surgery, we are going to hone in on the emotional toll a surgical procedure can take and how to successfully recover from those injuries.

Psychological Effects of Surgery

So how does a surgical procedure impact a patient emotionally or psychologically? Depending on the extent of the surgery and the patient’s state prior to the procedure, surgery can have a profound impact on a patient’s psyche. Emotional issues after surgery can include any of the following:

  • Fear & Helplessness. Particularly during a drawn out physical recovery, the patient may experience feelings of helplessness and despair.
  • Memory Issues. Concentration and memory difficulties can be very frustrating during surgery recovery.
  • Depression and PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after any sort of trauma, including surgery. It can cause anxiety and depression in the patient.
  • Sometimes patients have flashbacks to the time before and immediately after surgery. This can also be traumatizing.

When you couple these emotional issues with the physical elements that accompany any surgery, successful recovery can be doubly difficult.

Treating Emotional Trauma

Surgery recovery must address both the physical and emotional aspects of the patient’s state. Oftentimes, the physical trauma of surgery contributes directly to the emotional issues described above. Treatment options for these issues are numerous – they depend on the severity of the patient’s emotional state. Prescription medications may help the patient deal with their trauma, and speaking with a qualified surgical trauma counselor.

Be sure to talk with your surgeon prior to your procedure about the potential psychological issues you may encounter post-op, and how to effectively treat these injuries.

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