The decision to have spine surgery can be a significant life-changing event. A successful spine surgery can give many patients relief from debilitating back or neck pain.
Thanks to the technological advancements in spinal surgeries and minimally-invasive surgical techniques, most surgeries are done on an outpatient basis, allowing the patient to return home the same day.
Most patients experience greater patient satisfaction recovering in the comfort of home. However, the recovery process will limit mobility for those who are used to being active. This limited activity can cause feelings of depression for some patients. Studies show upwards of 20 percent of patients developed depression following their spinal procedure1. Although the onset of depression after surgery is different for everyone, major changes in activity, medications, stress levels and sleep can contribute to feelings of fatigue, anxiety and despair.
Taking proactive steps to acknowledge and address feelings of depression will help the recovery process. These tips can help reduce the onset of depression after spine surgery:
- Commit to a physical therapy program
- Have a regular sleep routine
- Eat healthy
- Focus on patience
- Take walks outdoors as often as possible
- Reach out to family and friends
- Connect with a support group, therapist or mental healthcare provider
- Try alternative treatments like acupuncture and mediation
Anyone who experiences depression after surgery should notify their doctor, who can provide help. Therapists and healthcare providers can help you manage the mental health effects of stress and depression during your recovery process so you can bounce back to an active, happy lifestyle.
Dr. Brett Braly is a board-certified fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery. Dr. Braly is a leading advocate for minimally invasive techniques in spine surgery. Dr. Braly is named in the top “20 under 40” best spine surgeons by the North American Spine Society.