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6 Tips for Maintaining a Positive Mindset When Recovering from Orthopedic Surgery

For many people, undergoing orthopedic surgery is an important first step to restoring a pain free life and resuming your favorite activities. But it’s important to understand that the key phrase in that statement is first step. There is a long recovery period before you get back to living the life you love. Often, this recovery process is challenging and frustrating. You may find that it’s hard to notice progress at first, and there will likely be days when it’s hard to find the motivation to do your physical therapy exercises.

This is perfectly understandable. The initial stages of your recovery are accompanied by significant pain, and often you may also potentially struggle with side effects associated with medication. In addition, you will likely experience a lack of mobility in the treated region, making it challenging to perform many routine daily tasks. These factors can make it hard to maintain a positive mindset.

While it’s common to struggle with depression and experience feelings of frustration after surgery, it’s important to try and maintain a positive mindset during your recovery. There are numerous studies that have linked a positive attitude during your recovery to an improved surgical outcome. One study published in the BC Medical Journal found that unrealistic expectations regarding pain and function resulted in poorer results after knee replacement surgery. Another study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that a negative attitude after surgery is correlated with an increase in pain behaviors, such as facial grimacing or walking with a limp.

Recovery after orthopedic surgery is hard, and some days will certainly be harder than others. But if you can actively take steps to maintain a positive mindset throughout your recovery, you can potentially speed up the healing process and increase your likelihood of achieving the best possible outcome.

Why Does Maintaining a Positive Focus Help My Recovery?

maintaining a positive mindset after orthopedic surgery

6 Tips for Maintaining a Positive Mindset When Recovering from Orthopedic Surgery

Scientists have offered a few potential theories to explain why a positive mindset contributes to a smoother recovery and better surgical outcome:

How to Adopt a Positive Post-Surgical Mindset

The following tips will help you maintain a positive mindset after surgery and improve your surgical outcome.

Learn About the Pain and Recovery Process Associated with Your Procedure

Do your research prior to undergoing orthopedic surgery. The more you know about the amount of pain you can expect to experience and the steps associated with the recovery process, the more you’ll be able to set realistic expectations.

While you should conduct some online research, make sure to ask your orthopedic surgeon to explain the recovery process and the expected pain in detail. This can reduce any apprehension you may have coming into surgery, and it will also help you manage frustration during the early stages of recovery.

Celebrate Small Wins

celebrating small wins while recovering from orthopedic surgery

How to Adopt a Positive Post-Surgical Mindset

Keep in mind that your recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. It will be a long, challenging process where improvement is incremental. If you’re able to celebrate these small successes when they occur, it will help you maintain a positive mindset.

You may find that your range of motion is slightly improved, or you’re able to perform one of your rehab exercises a little more easily. You’ll slowly be able to resume performing routine daily activities. These things may seem insignificant, but they are positive signs that you’re recovery is going well and that you’re experiencing improvement. When you embrace and celebrate these wins, it can provide additional motivation to continue pushing forward with your rehab.

Embrace a Mindset of Adaptability

The early stages of your recovery will be fraught with a variety of challenges and limitations. Small actions that you took for granted will be difficult to complete. If you dwell on these limitations, it can have a negative impact on your overall health as well as your mindset. Instead, embrace the need to adapt in order to overcome these limitations.

The more you’re able to adapt, the easier it will be to complete routine daily activities that are challenging immediately following surgery. This will provide you with confidence that can fuel the positivity needed to continue overcoming challenges as they arise.

Surround Yourself with Positive People and Energy

The people you surround yourself with can significantly impact your mindset as you recover. You may know people who had a bad experience recovering after surgery who express this negativity to you. Unfortunately, this can prove toxic and make it challenging for you to embrace a positive mindset.

Instead, spend time with people who provide you with support, encouragement and positive energy. These people will help inspire you to push forward with your physical therapy exercises each day, and they will help you stay patient and positive during the challenging stages of your recovery. Think about the things that motivate you during your rehab, and focus on these things each day. Sometimes, something as basic as listening to uplifting music can provide the energy you need to maintain a positive attitude.

Practice Mindfulness

practicing mindfulness to maintain a positive mindset after surgery

Colorado Advanced Orthopedics Can Help Restore a Pain Free Life

Stress and frustration can make your pain worse. You need to actively take steps to reduce stress and minimize frustration. Dwelling on your injury won’t help you recover. You can’t control what happened in the past; you can only control the energy you put towards your recovery moving forward. Practicing mindfulness can help you block out these negative emotions and create a more positive focus.

Activities such as deep breathing and meditation can help you relieve stress and get into a more positive head space. This will make it easier to focus your emotional energy on addressing the challenges you’re experiencing head-on instead of wallowing in your inability to do things that were once second nature to you.

Talk with a Mental Health Professional

In some instances, you just may find that it’s hard to block out the stress, frustration and negative emotions in order to focus on the positive moments. Depression is very common after undergoing surgery, and this can make it hard to persevere through your recovery. If you find yourself experiencing depression or struggling to overcome feelings of stress and frustration, it may be helpful to speak with a mental health professional.

Therapy is beneficial in many instances where you experience adversity in life. Speaking with a mental health professional can provide you with the tools and framework to manage this adversity so that you can overcome feelings of depression and helplessness. For many individuals, working with a therapist after surgery is an important way to maintain a positive mindset.

Colorado Advanced Orthopedics Can Help Restore a Pain Free Life

If you need orthopedic surgery after a serious injury, Colorado Advanced Orthopedics can help. With a team of fellowship trained, board-certified orthopedic surgeons and the most advanced technology available, we’re raising the bar for healthcare along the Western Slope. Our surgeons regularly achieve surgical outcomes that exceed industry standards, ensuring you receive the exceptional treatment you deserve.

In addition, you’ll benefit from an in-house physical therapy team that works closely with our surgeons to ensure your entire team is aligned on your recovery plan. This allows us to facilitate a smooth rehab process that gets you back to enjoying your favorite activities as soon as possible.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Colorado Advanced Orthopedics serves patients in Meeker and throughout the White River Valley.

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