How Do I Prepare for Neck and Spine Surgery?

Assuming you have already found one of the best spine surgeons in New Jersey and have decided to have a surgical procedure on your neck or spine, proper preparation is key.

Get your health in order

This may seem challenging since most people who seek out neck and spine surgery are in chronic pain and can barely move. However, the people who have the best neck and spine surgery are the ones who are the healthiest before going into surgery. Ask your surgeon or your primary care physician what type of exercise is safe for you to perform and then do it. The more physically fit you are before the procedure, the fewer risks you will have, and the better you will do during surgery.

Get your medications in order

If you have any chronic illnesses, they should be under good control before you have neck and spine surgery. If you have type 2 diabetes, for example, your blood sugars or hemoglobin A1C should be in the target range before undergoing orthopedic surgery. This can be achieved through oral medications, insulin, diet, and exercise. The same principle applies to other chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, asthma or COPD, gout, abnormal blood cholesterol levels, etc. Likewise, any heart rhythm or cardiac issues should be treated and controlled in preparation for neck and spine surgery.

Get your house in order

After you leave the hospital or surgery center, most of your recovery will take place at home. This means everything should be in order before the day of your surgery. Things that will make your recovery easier include:

  • Pre-prepared, healthy meals (make, freeze, and repeat as needed)
  • Mobility aids such as a cane or walker
  • Convenience aids such as a toilet riser, shower chair, or gripper
  • Clothing and bedding that is both comfortable and supportive
  • The phone numbers or e-mails of your support system and health-care providers
    • Friends
    • Family
    • Spine surgeon
    • Physical therapist
    • Primary care physician
    • Pain management specialist

If you will need back braces or other support devices, make sure you have those before your surgery (or before you leave the surgical center).

Make sure you are knowledgeable about postsurgical rehabilitation

The commitment to have neck and spine surgery does not stop at the decision to go under the knife. You must also be committed to all postsurgical rehabilitation and physical therapy that is needed to heal properly. This can be difficult. This can be uncomfortable. This can even be painful to a small degree. Nevertheless, postsurgical rehabilitation is an extremely important part of your neck and spine surgery recovery. Make sure you know what will be required of you during the recovery process, what appointments will be needed, if home physical therapy an option, and how long recovery will take (approximately). During this time you will need to be excused from duties at work and at home or at least on a modified schedule with modified duties. Make sure your employer and members in your house are aware of this and are willing to pick up the slack. Your goal is to get your life back. Neck and spine surgery can help, but you need to be properly prepared and follow through with the work that needs to be done.

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