Movement specialist, Michelle Turner, has shared a few tips with us to help us prepare for our surgery ahead. She herself put these practices into place when recovering from her own surgery. Learn how you can help your body and mind through the healing process.

Steps to Prepare for Surgery

Eat Well – Even though you are told not to eat anything 6 to 8 hours prior to surgery, you still want to eat well a few days in advance. No matter the type of surgery, it’s still surgery and you will need to recover. As you age, the process of cell regeneration starts to slow down. Eating fresh, non-processed foods a week prior to surgery will help your body be at a better level to recuperate from the trauma.

Weight Loss – Any major surgery is going to affect mobility. The more invasive the surgery, the longer your mobility or lack of movement will continue. I see this all of the time, when a person doesn’t consider reducing their caloric intake prior to a knee or back surgery and they continue to eat during a post-surgery – in two months they can hardly move. They have muscle loss, are very weak and have gained an additional 20 to 30 pounds. Not only does this prolong the recovery time, it can also create a sensation that the surgery was unsuccessful due to new aches and pain that can be created.

Breath – Anesthesia creates a barrier for your brain to feel pain. It also reduces any response for your body to react to the surgery. Many people are nervous or hold their breath as they are put to sleep. Try to go into this with a nice calm breath. If you tighten your chest prior to being put to sleep, your system is ‘held’ in that position for hours. It can create a lot of unnecessary aches and pains in your recovery.

Move – The second I came out of my colon surgery, I started doing very gentle movements through my pelvis. People don’t realize that they might have just gotten a great new hip, but your brain is used to the old one. Just like being a baby, slow movements without pain allows the brain to get introduced to your new body. Just as the old saying, “You’re not the same person as you were before.”

Achieve Pain Free – We’re all taught the “No Pain, No Gain”. It is true that you will have some or severe pain or discomfort after surgery. At the same time, after the initial first few days, try to take time and move as slowly as you can without pain. This will allow your brain to learn that you can do all the things that you want without pain. If all that you do hurts or is pushed to the limit, your brain is also learning… “don’t do that, it hurts.”

Derek L. Hill, D.O.