We asked our Facebook fans what the #1 thing is that they wished they knew before having their spine surgery.

Considering spine surgery? Educate yourself first. Start with Back Surgery and Neck Surgery Overview

We did get many negative comments and a few positive ones (like “I wish I had my surgery earlier”), but here are the most popular responses. We hope you can learn from them.

Veritas Health: What’s the #1 thing you wish you knew before having your spine surgery?

In no particular order, here’s how our readers replied:

  1. Scar tissue from the surgery can cause pain. Scar tissue may form after a spine surgery, but it doesn’t always cause pain. If you do feel pain after the surgery because of scar tissue, it is most likely because the tissue is binding the nerve roots.

    See Scar Tissue and Pain After Back Surgery

  2. Mental preparation is crucial to avoiding problems like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A recent study showed that 20% of spine fusion patients experienced PTSD after their surgery. It is prudent to address any depression, anxiety, or PTSD conditions you have with a psychologist before you have spine surgery.

    See How to Prepare Psychologically for Back Surgery

  3. Forums on sites like Spine-health are key to preparing for spine surgery. One of our readers wishes she would have known about our forums earlier. Thousands of our members give tips and support to each other here as they prepare for and recover from surgery. If you are planning surgery, consider joining our Surgery Buddies forum .
  1. Recovery takes longer than you would expect. Many of our readers were not prepared for how long they would be in pain after their fusion surgeries, and for how long it would take to get back to work. Make sure you discuss pain control and return-to-work expectations thoroughly with your surgeon.

    See Spine Fusion Post-Operative Care

  2. That they would take a bone graft during surgery. I’m surprised this reader’s surgeon did not tell her they would be taking a bone graft from her hip during her fusion surgery. Your fusion surgery may require a bone graft, but there are other options as well. Make sure you discuss everything your surgeon plans to do so you don’t have any surprises like this.

    See Bone Graft for Spine Fusion

  3. How difficult it is to get back to living life after being so withdrawn during recovery. This reader spent 6 months resting and rehabilitating her body after spinal fusion, which is to be expected! However, she wasn’t prepared for the feelings of isolation, and the difficulty of re-entering life outside her home after 6 months.

    See Spinal Fusion Surgery Recovery: 3 Months and After

  4. That surgery is not as bad as people make it seem. While it’s true that we get a lot of negative comments on our Facebook page when we ask these types of questions, we also get some positive comments, like this one. The most important steps you can take to have a positive outcome is to find a good surgeon you trust and educate yourself about your condition.

    See How to Select a Spine Surgeon

  5. Having surgery earlier would have helped me get on with my life sooner. If you know you can benefit from surgery but fear is holding you back, do as much research as you can to educate yourself about the pros and cons of your surgery. Join our forums, talk to healthcare professionals, and consider talking to a psychologist to help you make the right decision.

    See Choosing Spine Surgery: What to Consider

Learn more:

Preparation Before Back Surgery

Practical Advice for Recovering from Back Surgery