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Christina69CChristina69 Posts: 534
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:22 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
How long did you have to wait before surgeon removed driving restrictions after surgery. I had a PLIF at L5-S1.

Thanks in advance for you input,
Christina >:D<


  • ..but it was also during the winter, so I waited a bit longer b/c of the ice & snow & slush etc.

    Hurt a lot to sit & drive & when you can't twist/bend etc. ya gotta really be careful...mobility is less, etc. I found it hard to react quickly--so I stayed away from heavy traffic/crowded areas.

    Still hurts to drive long distances (I'm 7 months out) & being a passenger is a killer, yet!

    But---getting the "freedom" back was a big step in the total recovery...was just nice to take some short trips & didn't always need to depend on others to go places.

    You are about 6 weeks out, Christina? Most docs say 6-8 weeks, unless you are doing super-duper well...how doyou feel about it? Often they will let you decide...

  • I'm a neckie, so I can't answer your question. I just wanted to say to be sure not to drive until you are no longer taking pain meds. A lot of people don't realize that if you are taking anything and an unfortunate accident happens, you can be charged with DUI. In fact, if there is a death, they could get you for vehicular homicide. So please keep that in mind before you start driving again. Sometimes we don't feel like the meds are affecting us, but it will still show up in a blood test. but don't you just hate not having independence!!!!! The no driving thing about drove me crazy.
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • I started driving about 4 weeks post op. I am not on any strong meds and I really only drive to work and to the grocery store or short errands. I have driven on the interstate only a couple of times. My feet are still numb six weeks p.o. and I stay very far back in traffic. I still brake too hard and I get real nervous but I am real carefull
    I was released by my Dr. four weeks p.o. to drive but I really don't think i was ready, However when he released me to go back to work I had no choice.
  • My nurse told me (when they released me from the hospital) that the doc to not order any driving restrictions since I did not take any pain meds. I am still not driving-I drive a stick shift and I just had major surgery-I do not want to risk it!
  • My NS says absolutely NO to the stick shift.

    My paperwork says I can drive after I am off the medications. But my Dr. himself says that it's just way too risky to drive right now.

    He is mostly concerned about getting in another accident, as a passenger or driver. It would ruin everything he has done.

    Also as a driver I'd be more tempted to twist, which is a big NO right now and since I can't twist, my driving skills are impaired. The less I drive or am even in a vehicle the happier he is.
  • I was not taking any pain meds, so my OS told me I can drive (automatic) after 6 weeks, but only short distances. But since I don't have automatic seat and I am short and don't see out without turning my body, my husband encourages me to let him drive. I am 3-mos post-surgery, so I think I will give it a try shortly.

  • I was ok to drive at 6 weeks.
  • Did you lumbies (especially in winter) need or have a temporary handicap parking card?
  • Yes, on my last pre-op visit the nurse gave me the papers to do it. My husband
    went to DMV and got it right away. It is good for 6-months.

  • ..is truly helpful, esp in the winter or in Northern climes..they are good for 6 months & can be renewed. It wasn't so much the walking I wanted to avoid, as much as the tight spaces where I'd have to maneuver too much unless it was a large hanidicapped spot.

    Re the meds: good point! While I was on post-op pain meds, it was totally a "no-no" to drive & even now, if I take a Valuim, etc., I won't drive.

    And getting into an accident now, after all this, truly scares me....!

    My hubby loves to drive, so most of the time, I have a chauffuer! :)

    Good luck to you all! Driving is NOT a comfy thing to do, even now, on many levels!

  • I had mine since a week before the surgery. I asked my Family doctor about it and she wrote me a script. I got it the following week and its good for 5 years.
    At this point Im so thankful I asked. :)
    As for driving, I ended up having to drive today as noone was around to take my daughter to work and my back is now sore tonight. I'm definately not ready for driving on a steady basis. :( Ah well, thank goodnes for my hubby :)

  • On my last post-op visit at 7 weeks dr told me to start weaning off my brace and when I felt comfortable without it I could drive, just could not drive with it on. I was out of it by 8 1/2 weeks and am now going to be 10 wks po on Tuesday. I have driven a couple of times close to home, but still feel uncomfortable for driving much distance. Also am not taking any pain meds, so not the issue, just the twisting and looking. I think it is totally what you feel comfortable with. Make sure your dr has ok you and listen to your body.
  • I was able to drive at 6 weeks and though that was great it took me a little longer to get behind the wheel. The Dr said to sit in the car and drive up and down the driveway to see how it feels before going out onto the road.

    I am still taking meds (oxycontin) but they dont effect me at all and I thoink our rules here are different to your. If they are prescription meds and the Dr says OK to drive then that is fine. I do however dont take them if I am about to drive- I hold off till I get home.

    For me as I live alone it made such a difference but If I had a partner to drive it would have been preferable especially in the first 10 weeks.

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