How to Best Prepare For Your Upcoming Surgery

When it comes to thinking about upcoming surgery, or even making a short visit to a Pain Doctor to have a minimally invasive pain management procedure, such as spinal cord stimulation or a nerve block; many patients can feel apprehensive, nervous, confused, or even frightened. Yet whilst experiencing such emotions are the norm, it is nonetheless, good to know how to calm our nerves, and prep for an upcoming procedure or surgery

Tips to Help You Prepare For Surgery or a Minimally Invasive Procedure

• Be sure to attend all pre-surgery/procedure appointments as directed by your Pain Doctor or surgeon
• Take your pharmaceuticals as directed by your Pain Doctor or surgeon
• Stop smoking, or try to cut down (this will help your body regardless of your condition)
• Eat fresh healthy food including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat
• Drink sufficient fluids to keep your body well-hydrated. (Drinking water every day, is a good policy)
• Ensure that you have plenty of rest and relaxation
• In the case of certain types of surgery, arrange support from friends or family both during, and post-surgery (this should include transportation to and from the clinic/ hospital [1]
• Arrange to take time off work if the doctor has told you that you will need a recovery period. Many patients think that they will be able to go back to work, even though they have been advised otherwise. To that end, it is prudent to inform your employer about your situation; that way, you can have an understanding that you will only return when you are up to it

A Check List of What You May Like to Take to the Hospital/Clinic

There are various necessities and comfort items that patients pack. These include:

• All the medications that you are on (in their original bottles/containers); along with a list of the same
• A list of medications, food and materials that you are allergic to, or have given you an adverse reaction (for example, iodine and latex)
• All your up-to-date health insurance cards, pharmacy and drug list cards, medical device identification cards, as well as a form of photo identification (such as your driver’s license)
• A copy of your living will (if you have one)
• Information about your internal defibrillator or pacemaker (if you have one)
• Information about your dental work (including removable false teeth, bridges, crowns and implants)
• Any special equipment that you require (for example, a walking stick, walker, a continuous positive airway pressure machine; or surgical or insulin pump supplies
• Comfortable, soft, loose-fitting clothing that you can wear whilst in the hospital/clinic, and on the day you go home
• Non-skid slippers or slip-on walking shoes
• Items such as books, magazines, and a phone with earplugs so you can listen to music or YouTube videos. These will help to keep you occupied, and help take your mind off your procedure/surgery [1]

Ways to Help Reduce Your Nerves

Pain Specialists often recommend tried and tested holistic options. These can include aromatherapy, taking some deep breaths, meditation, and other relaxation techniques.

Lavender essential oil can be used to calm anxious patients. “According to 2012 research, lavender aromatherapy is thought to calm anxiety by impacting the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls emotions. A 2019 review evaluated 71 studies that used lavender to ease anxiety. It found that inhaling lavender could significantly lower anxiety levels measured using a clinically validated scale. Massage with lavender oil was also found to help reduce anxiety levels” [2]. The latter could include massaging the hands with some cream or base oil poured into the palm of the hand, and adding a drop of lavender.


[1]. Cumberland, E. (2022). “Preparing for surgery? What you need to know.” Mayo Clinic.,to%20ensure

[2]. McDermott, A & Timmons, J (2022). “The 15 Best Essential Oils for Anxiety.” Healthline.