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Question Regarding Back to Work

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All -

I hope I'm posting in the correct forum. If not, someone please let me know where I should post this.

I'll try to make this short. I had a tumor at L5 and had the lateral surgery in August and back surgery 9 days later. The tumor was removed (I only had a "shell" of vertebrae remaining). Bone was grafted from my hip during the first surgery and from cadaver for the second. Titanium and plastic hardware was used and the fusion has been a success. I was feeling pretty good until about 2 weeks ago when the numbness returned to my left side and now I also have these strange shooting/electrical sensations down my left leg. I have an appointment with my surgeon next week to follow up.

The reason for the post is because I'm scheduled to return to work part-time in 2 weeks. I have an office job and must request in writing my requirements (ergonomic workstation). Does anyone have a sample letter regarding this type of request? Or, have any ideas as to what I should specifically request. All I know is that I'll need a really comfortable chair. Honestly, I don't know how I'll handle this at all because I truly don't feel up to work yet.

Thanks for any help and have a great evening.



  • Lissy - I had back surgery in early December and hope to go back to work part time in a few weeks. I work in an office in my home. I manage projects and spend all day on the phone and computer. I would suggest a good chair with lumbar support. I have an Aeron chair which helps some. I am also looking at desks that allow both a sitting and standing work situation. I have included a few links here.



    I will be interested as to what you find out from others. I am trying to figure out what to send to my work. My surgeon has supposedly sent me something.

    Good luck to you!
  • Hi Lissy

    Firstly, I am glad to hear that your fusion was a success, but sorry to hear that things have been difficult for the past few weeks. I hope your follow up appointment with your surgeon goes well and that you are feeling better soon.

    I had spinal surgery (discectomy) in Nov 08. Initially I had a medical clearance for a month, but I extended my return to work date after my follow up appointment with my Neuro surgeon as I did not feel ready to go back to work at that point. Fortunately, my workplace was fine with this. My job is desk based and I spend all day either on the phone or on my computer.

    When I had my ergonomic assessment at work it was done by a Rehabilitation consultant who was experienced in working with people who are returning to work after injury. So, it was up to the person doing the assessment to determine what I needed at my workstation. I gave them a copy of my MRI results so they had all the info about my injuries etc. Sitting is the worst thing for my pain, so I spend a lot of the day standing up. People get used to it after a while.

    I was a bit ambitious about trying to get my hours up too soon and I ended up in a lot of pain. I have now vowed to keep shorter part time hours until I feel physically well enough to be at work for longer. It can be frustrating, but not as frustrating as dealing with further potential health issues that may arise if I push for too much too soon.

    Good luck. :)
  • I am sorry you have returned pain now. When was your last surgery?

    As for returning to work- can you go to an occupational therapist who can advise properly on what you will need, chair, backrest, etc. They should also be able to advise your employer as to how often you need to get up and move around. I know it will cost you (maybe claimable on your health fund) but at least it will take the guess work out of it.

    Blessings Sara
  • I returned back to work part time and, in addition to an ergonomical workstation, I use a small footstool that I purchased at our local "dollar store". When I sit at my desk, I put my "bad leg" foot on the footstool. I find that I have less leg pain and also less back spasms after work when I use it.

    Hope this is helpful to you and good luck!
  • Lissy,

    I found a great (and cheap) lumbar support at Kirkland's for only $5.99. It's made of a mesh material and fits on most chairs, works great in the car, etc. I have since bought four of them. I returned to work me after five weeks post op and wish that I hadn't. Sitting at a desk causes more problems that we think. I found myself pushing around my work area with my feet and rocking my body to move the chair around. After hurting quite a bit, I realized what I was doing to create more pain. Also, be sure to get up often. Some of my associates have made it a point to stop by and ask if I've been up moving lately as I get so caught up in what I'm doing.

    Good luck with your return to work.
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