I'm going to have the first operation of my life: a spinal decompression. What can I do to get the best results afterward?

Spinal decompression is a way to remove bone from around the spinal cord or spinal nerves. It takes the pressure off these structures and reduces pain and other symptoms.

A recent study from the National Spine Network (NSN) reported patients have the best result after spinal decompression compared to other spine operations. First surgeries go better than repeat spinal operations.

Based on research, doctors suggest the following steps to a good result after spinal surgery:

  • If you smoke or use tobacco, stop! Wound healing is better and faster when tobacco isn't part of the patient's life.
  • Start a general physical fitness program. If you can't do it before the operation because of pain, get started in rehab afterwards. Keep up an exercise program on a regular basis even after recovery.
  • Involve your family members in your operation and recovery.
  • Think positively! Mental health is just as important as physical health when facing back surgery.