How to Prepare for Back Surgery

Back surgery is not something you should take lightly. Of course, no surgery is, but when it comes to having actual work done on your back in the surgery, it’s important to prepare yourself properly. This prep doesn’t only involve your general health, but your mental well-being and personal environment as well. After all, you need to make sure that everything suits your level of recovery and mobility both pre- and post-surgery.

Pre-op planning

There are many things that you need to take care of before the actual back surgery. For starters, you need to consult your GP just in case, to make sure that having back surgery won’t affect your health negatively.


In case you smoke, it’s important that you quit at least a couple of months prior to the surgery. Unfortunately, nicotine users are at a higher risk of complications and infections during the surgery.


Just like nicotine, certain anti-inflammatory meds and even over-the-counter vitamins and supplements can affect your blood coagulation and the effectiveness of anesthesia. This is why it’s paramount to mention everything that you take to your doctor in early consultation stages, so that you can stick to the doctor’s advice 100%.

Blood donations

You may want to discuss the option of donating your own blood, just in case. Depending on the type of back surgery you’re going to have, you may lose more or less blood. This is why donating your own blood before the operation may turn out to be a more effective solution compared to receiving blood from another donor.

The operation

Right before surgery, you’ll have to discuss your anesthesia options with the anesthesiologist. General and spinal anesthesia are the two most common types of anesthesia for this procedure, but, in the end, you two will decide what’s best for you. The surgery itself lasts for about 1-3 hours. Of course, once you’re awake, you’ll be taken to your hospital room where the nurses will take care of you and explain everything you need to know about the meds and other essentials.

Post-op management

The biggest challenge might come after the surgery. After all, you won’t only have to deal with the physical pain, but the mental torture of limited mobility as well. Not everyone can take the back surgery recovery period, which is why it would be wise to have expert advice on the matter. That said, Life After Surgery by Dr Timothy Steel may be just the kind of professional help you need to get through this.

Home setting

You, or someone who helps you, should adjust your home properly for the recovery period. In that sense, a toilet riser as well as a reacher or a grabber are common items that will become a must-have during this period. Try to rearrange your home so that your most used and favorite things are easily within your reach. Also, you may want to stock up on food that’s really quick and easy to prepare.


There are various meds that can help you with pain after the surgery. However, one of the most important things to remember, even before surgery, is to be very careful with meds that are opioids. These can become highly addictive, and you should pay a great deal of attention to your reaction to them. If you have to take these post-op, make sure to quit the moment you feel like you can get by without them.


Considering that you’re recovering from back surgery, it’s only natural that your movement will be limited and that you’ll have to move specifically according to the doctor’s instructions. In general, the “log rolling” technique is something you’ll have to use. However, keep in mind that there will be many things that you won’t be able to do on your own. This is why it’s paramount to have someone else to help you during the recovery period. In that sense, the said person(s) should also learn everything about your allowed movements during this period.

Blood clots and infections are the most common complications that could happen post back surgery. Therefore, make sure to pay attention to all of the warning signs such as leg swelling and/or pain, redness around the knee or the wound, drainage, high fever and chills.