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How much fusion before return to work??

dbullwinkelddbullwinkel Posts: 224
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am hoping to return to my position as a special education teacher in January..that would be five months home. This is a very physical job..we compare it to manual labor! (I have decided to put in for a transfer for next year to a less physically demanding program). But have to get through this year, as cannot transfer programs mid-year. My doctor understands my job and said he will leave it up to me when I feel ready to go back. At my last appt. Friday we talked about going back in January. I feel pretty good now, will be starting PT for a shoulder issue (that surfaced in PT following cervical surgery). I did not ask the doctor how much fusion had taken place and will do so at my next appt. January 2nd.
I am wondering, how much fusion is expected to have taken place before returning to a physical job? I am sure if it wasn't ok...my surgeon would tell me! I am just nervous! Thanks.Donna
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Comments

  • It isn't so much a question of how much fusion has occurred as it is how do you feel.

    If your 5 months post surgery, you should be fused. That being said, it takes a long time for the bone to fully mature. At five months I felt pretty stable, but there were still a lot of things I couldn't do because it didn't feel right.

    When you go to PT, ask them about doing an evaluation on you to check range of motion and such. They have an evaluation they can do which can determine, based on your occupation, if you should return to work.

    Keith
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • Having been a SpEd teacher myself I must ask what kind of kids you work with? It can be a bit scary working with students who are physically aggressive and unpredictable if you have just had surgery, are pregnant, etc.
  • Hello. the students I work with typically are on the spectrum, with some other students having emotional problems. Not an easy job. I just came from PT for a new issue (my shoulder)...I thought it started from PT..he explained it is an old injury..that PT aggrevated; just like any other activity would do. He says the type of tear I have comes from being pulled by the arm....which happens to me all the time. Will bring this to my attorney's attention..but I am not feeling comfortable going back to work for sure now!
    Meg, what population did you/do you work with? Thanks for the input.
    donna
  • dbullwinkel said:
    He says the type of tear I have comes from being pulled by the arm....which happens to me all the time. Will bring this to my attorney's attention..but I am not feeling comfortable going back to work for sure now!
    Meg, what population did you/do you work with? Thanks for the input.
    donna
    I had to laugh at this, although its not truely funny, I am laughing with you. This is exactly how I got my labrum tear in my rotator cuff, although I could never prove it came from the kids. I always had kids dropping to the floor while we were walking and such. Its a hard one to prove. After my shoulder surgery I was sent back to work and told to take it easy. The first week a student ran from me, I grabbed his arm and he dropped to the floor, I was in pain for 4 weeks. It was either that or he would head for the main doors.

    Try and stay home as long as possible and gain your strength. I understand that this is not a job that you can do working at 1/2 capacity, it just doesnt work!

    Hugs,
    Shell
  • I worked with students with severe behavior disorders for about 20 years - it was really fun but very physically challenging. After that, I became an elementary principal in a school with much SpEd. Another wonderful job that I loved. But when my husband (who is 10 years older than I am) retired 2 years ago, he persuaded me to retire, too, so we could travel. I do really miss the students and staff, though.

    Yes, be careful returning to work. I do know, however, that many students will be very careful to protect a teacher they love when they know that person has physical issues. - so sometimes it is a real advantage. When I went back to work following a hysterectomy the kids were so protective of me and told other students to be careful around me because I had just had surgery. So sometimes it is a real advantage!




  • I was told the amount of fusion doesn't matter. IT's all about how you feel. If you have hardware, that is sufficient stabilization for you to return to normal activities, provided you feel alright to do so.
  • a physical job to go back to I wouldn't be racing to get there till you really feel ready.
    Alos your PT is preobably better at understanding what your job entails so I would want to go ahead with them.
    Now, do you feel ready to go to the gym?????
    That pretty much is similar to working in your environment but a lot more predictable.

    Blessings Sara O:)
  • i am eleven weeks post op c1 c2 fusion and i still have to wear my brace. lol. i have tones of hardware in there too. hopefully i will back working in feb they tell me.

    follow up with NS and ct and xray dec 01.
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