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3 Ways to Psychologically Prepare for Surgery

If you’re one of the millions of people living with chronic pain, then you know the significant effect it can have on your psychological health. Stress, anxiety and depression are all common side effects of chronic pain that can impact your health as well as the healing process following a procedure. That said, several evidence-based techniques may help reduce stress and anxiety so your body can focus on healing. You can employ these techniques throughout your treatment to help you relax and put your mind at ease. Try to keep the following tips in mind before and after your surgery.

Maintain your motivation. Think about what you’ll be able to do after your procedure – maybe you want to play golf, walk around the neighborhood with your children or take your dog for a stroll on the beach. Keep your end-goals in mind and remember them whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Avoid catastrophic thinking. Many people have a habit of dwelling on worst-case scenarios. This happens when we overestimate the likelihood of something bad happening and/or underestimate our ability to deal with it.  This type of coping is considered negative in that it can undermine your resilience and be harmful to your physical and mental health in other ways. If you tell yourself that the outcome will be negative, then your mind is already made up. Choose to think positively and focus on a healthy, successful result. If your mind is in the right place, then your body will follow.

Incorporate positive anti-anxiety skills. Alleviate your anxiety through breathing exercises, journaling, reading a good book, speaking with a therapist or family member, or engaging in light exercise and meditation. Use the techniques that work best for you both leading up to your surgery and during your recovery.

A poor mood, anxiety and stress can be normal reactions to surgical treatment and chronic pain. Remember to think positively, incorporate good coping skills and keep your end-goals in mind. If you are still having difficulty coping, then we strongly encourage you to speak with your doctor. With guidance from a medical professional and tools to help ease your mind, you’ll be well on your way to a healthy and thorough recovery.

Our multidisciplinary approach to healthcare at the Spine Health Institute includes pain psychology services that help you understand the relationship between pain and psychological function, and help reduce emotional distress. We focus on healing the mind, body and spirit at every stage of treatment. You can schedule an appointment online by clicking the “Book Online” button at the top of this page.