Before you have surgery, seek out answers to these 4 questions
It can be quite a confronting option for many people. Will it be the one solution that solves your health problems? Are you asking the right questions before surgery so you can make an informed decision about all your options?
Surgery can be a game changer, however if you don’t ask the right questions it can be a change, but perhaps not the change you wanted.
This post asks 4 common questions people may ask when considering a surgical procedure and we frame the answers from a natural healthcare perspective.
What to ask your surgeon before an operation
1) What is a successful surgery?
So what exactly is a successful surgery?
Your answer to that question may be something like “a successful surgery gets the pain to stop” or “a successful surgery would fix the problem.” Consider this follow up question: “you want the pain to stop so that you can…”
Few people like pain and we would all like for it to stop, but take stock in what the pain is preventing you from doing.
Is it stealing your hobby, relationships, career, or plainly robbing you of life enjoyment? It is necessary to have this conversation with your doctor/surgeon as they may have a different idea of a successful surgery. Are your expectations of what surgery may achieve realistic?
Surgery is more than just taking out the damaged tissue and reattaching everything. That is a very mechanical viewpoint of surgery, but it indicates a need to have a very direct conversation as to what a surgical success is to you and what you are hoping to accomplish by having the procedure.
2) Does surgery address the cause of back pain?
It might be a bit of a revelation, but just because an MRI, CT and X-rays all demonstrate that your discs are herniating or your vertebrae are breaking down doesn’t mean that the cause of your back pain has been discovered. Damaged tissues may be causing your pain, but may not be causing your problem. The problem a lot of times can be a habit or lack thereof.
Consider this; do you sit at a desk for 8 hours a day or could you lose a few kilos?
Over the years, poor posture habits and a sedentary life style may contribute to a range of health problems. You may need to look to the habit that contributed to the problem in the first place. If you were to have surgery and continue with the same lifestyle, how effective will the results be into the longer term? It may be a wise investment to consult your health care team to figure out the lifestyle habits that are holding you back and the ones you need to adopt to move your health forward, with or without surgery.
Sometimes, however, the cause may be from a previous injury where correct healing still needs to take place. Chiropractors can advise you on a range of musculoskeletal disorders and may recommend solutions to address these problems.
3) Have you exhausted all options?
There is no one size fits all approach to health and healing, that is for sure. Surgery is certainly not the end all. You have many options to consider and no one option is likely to solve all your health challenges.
What are your other options?
While it may be said to you that surgery is your only option, what you have to remember is that with any back or neck surgery, when it’s done, it’s done. You can’t go back. So you must make absolutely sure you do your due diligence and make sure it is absolutely necessary.
When it comes to neck and back issues there are a number of ways to work with the body to encourage healing: acupuncture, physical therapy, massage therapy and chiropractic just to name a few.
4) Are you ready to put in the work?
If you do find yourself facing surgery after exhausting all possible options, know that surgery is the easy part. Healing is where the work begins. The actual surgical procedure may involve tissue being cut, tissue being removed and other serious and invasive procedures. To your body, surgery is another injury it has to heal from.
Your body will need proper nutrition before and after surgery to assure healing.
If your diet is full of processed food, sugar and grains your body may already have a greater degree of inflammation. Eating a more natural diet with plenty of fresh produce may help reduce inflammation and give you a greater chance of healing than otherwise.
As well, once the surgery is complete you will need to put in the physical work to fully recover. This is where most people miss it. They think that once they have surgery all they have to do is sit around and let nature take its course. Nature chooses the path of least resistance.
To get the best recovery and restore maximum function, education and therapy concerning posture, spine protection and body mechanics is necessary.
This is one area where chiropractic assists.
Even though you have had surgery, you may still be able to receive chiropractic care. Chiropractors are the experts when it comes to the spine. They can ascertain if it is safe to adjust your spine as well as the best way for it to be done. This can help facilitate healing and ensure that the rest of the spine stays in working order throughout the healing phase.
Failure to be proactive with these things post-surgery may leave you partially healed and possibly create a compensation in your body that may cause other problems and more pain. This is very common because of patient apathy or lack of coordinating care.
So you must consider what happens on the other side of surgery and be prepared to advocate for and play an active role in your recovery.
Answering these questions critically with your loved ones and doctors can set the framework for what you do next. They will open the line of communication so that all expectations can be addressed. In doing so you may find an alternative solution or come to a different conclusion to your own health.
Contributor: Jeremy D Overholt
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