Our spine is literally the backbone of our skeletal system. Without it, the slew of motions and activities we take for granted everyday would be impossible.  In the United States alone, roughly 500,000 Americans undergo surgery for lower back issues.  So if this is your next step in corrective measures, what can you do to make the process a little smoother?

1. Plan to get extra help.

If you live alone, you should arrange for a friend or family member to stay with you for the first few days after surgery. You may need help with errands or getting around the house, as well as everyday things like preparing meals, or even getting changed. Trust me, by preparing your meals ahead of time, your back will thank you! If you will require more extensive assistance after surgery, your doctor may work with you to arrange for home health care services.

2. If you need it, keep it close.

Initially, bending after spine surgery will be a no-no. So it’s a good idea to keep frequently used items close within reach. Again, preparation is key. Make time to set everything up before hand so that when surgery time comes, you won’t be scrambling to place items where you need them to be. Anything in high places should be set on counters or at a comfortable height that will not require climbing or stretching overhead. Also, things that may normally be placed beneath sinks or below waist height should be placed at eye level.

3. Wash laundry ahead of time

You likely won’t be able to bend very far after surgery. This can especially be the case if you undergo a fusion procedure. To avoid the strain of loading and unloading washers and dryers, clean your clothes ahead of time; this way you will have clothes that are ready to wear without the backache.

4. Make your home fall-proof

Even after back surgery, regaining mobility is key in the recovery process. Stiffness is detrimental to healing, so patients are encouraged to move about after their procedures. However, because general movements have been compromised, it is crucial to avoid any hazards that may cause slip and fall injuries. If need be, rearrange any areas in the home prior to the surgery. Check if there are any rugs or loose floor boards that need to be secured; even check the bathroom (where majority of slip and falls happen) to ensure safety.

Take the time to prepare yourself and your home before you go into surgery. It will help to put your mind at ease knowing that everything is in place and secure for when you return home.