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Before spine surgery

About 80 percent of all adults will experience back and neck pain severe enough to keep them from at least a week of routine activities. There are many treatments, and it's important to consider multiple approaches to determine what works best for you.

What lifestyle changes do I need to make before surgery?

A positive outcome after spine surgery depends on more than a skilled surgeon. It's important that you also set yourself up for success by making lifestyle changes, where needed. The most important things to address before surgery include:

Not taking control of these things can significantly slow your healing process, increase post-operative pain and/or raise your risk for infection.

If you need help quitting smoking or other forms of tobacco, losing weight or managing additional aspects of your health, talk to your doctor. Gundersen offers many resources to improve your overall wellness and help you prepare for a successful surgery and recovery.

Is spine surgery for me?

Depending on where you are on your journey to finding relief, spine surgery may be an option. If surgery is recommended, it's important that you:

Before you discuss surgery with your doctor, you may want to try other pain-relief approaches. Exploring our comprehensive back and neck treatment options and care pathway can help you see what may work well for you.

Explore non-surgical treatments

What else do I need to consider before surgery?

As you consider spine surgery, here are some other preparations you will need to make in advance:

  • At the time of discharge, a fully licensed, responsible person at least 16 years old should be available to drive you home. Your driver must be at the hospital before you can be discharged. If you do not have a driver, a responsible person at least 16 years old must ride with you in a cab or on the bus. If you need help to get a ride to or from your home, call Social Services at (608) 775-9407. or (800) 362-9567, ext. 59407.
  • Have a "recovery buddy" available to help you for one to two weeks after surgery. This person must be physically able to help you prepare meals and do other activities in your home like cleaning and laundry.
  • Arrange for rides to follow-up appointments, when applicable.
  • Prepare your home for safe set-up.
  • Talk with your employer and let them know that you will need to miss work during your surgery and recovery. If a note from your doctor is needed, arrange for this in advance.
  • Expect to have pain after surgery. It takes many weeks to recover and for your pain to improve. You will need to rely on ice, heat, gentle stretching, topical ointments and medications.

what to expect

We've taken steps at all our locations to keep you and our staff healthy and safe. Here's what to expect when you visit us.

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