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Lumber Fusion Surgery

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
How long should someone be out of work after a L4-L5-S1 surgery for an office job, sitting 8 or more hours a day?


  • I had the same surgery on Nov 18, 2008. Not quite 3 months ago. The big surprise for me is the problem most of us have with "sitting." I can sit for about 3 or 4 hours with breaks for walking/stretching every 30 minutes. I can do better walking or standing than I can sitting. Our "sit upons" are generally pretty compromised after the surgery because of the pressure that sitting places on the lower spine. Some on this forum have developed ways to stand and work. My hub and I own our business but my chair is terrible. No lumbar support. I just broke down and purchased a better chair. I'm hoping that will make it easier.

    I don't know whether you've had surgery or are anticipating surgery???? In my case, I couldn't even drive until 6 weeks after surgery. I have found 2 things! First, this surgery take tons of patience. It's a long, long recovery for many of us. Secondly, this is an invaluable website when it comes to information as well as support! Take advantage of all it has to offer.

    So if your surgery is upcoming, best of luck for a great recovery. If it's behind you, great. Hope u are doing well. At any rate, I am looking forward to learning more about your situation!
  • I was told I could start back in 3 months most likely. My job involves a lot of walking, standing, lifting (which will have to be light for awhile I guess), and sitting.

  • I saw that you said it bothers you to sit at work because of no back support. You probably already know this, but back supports are really cheap - $20 or so. I have one and carry it around with me everywhere. My son jokes about it and says I should just attach it to my back. I sit on the floor up against the couch with it. I also have one in my car - a life-saver. If you never saw one - go into a car parts place and they have them.

  • I had a spine fusion on Dec 3 and went back to work at 7 weeks post op. I also have a desk job and started slowly working 3 hours the first week increasing it to 4 hours the next week. This past week I was able to put in 5 hours per day. Next week I am going to try to put in a full day. My work day is 7 1/2 hours with an hour for lunch. I am fortunate to live 10 minutes from work so am able to go home and put on the heating pad and get off my feet.

    I have found as Kathy in Atlanta that the sitting is the problem. I also think as your sitting at your desk you do a lot of movement such as reaching for things on your desk as well as the pushing of your office chair back and forth to your desk, I think all this movement this takes its toll.

    When I go home I have to lay down with a heating pad and I tend to sleep for at least 2 hours. It seems that even when I am at home in the evening I reach a point where laying down is the only relief.

    Although it can be frustrating at times, I believe recovery is a slow process especially depending on your age.

    Good luck to you and keep us posted on your return to work.

  • hello i'm robert j from chicago on jan 15 i had transforaminal interbody fusion L5 - S1 I'M 44 YEAR'S OLD and driver for a living has anyone had this procedure
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,856

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  • I was back to work 5 weeks after my L3-S1 Anterior/Posterior Surgery.

    See my notes here:


    My job is Admin and Walking around. I bought a Pedometer to help me with keeping tabs on balancing my walking. February 2nd was 2 months for me. I can get through a day fairly easy now, but am beat when I get home. If I had to sit 8 hours and not get walking in throughout the day, it would be harder.

    This last week, I've been weaning off my back brace.

    The lumbar support for office chairs are cheap ($25) and make a huge difference. I even bought a recliner for my office to use at various times throughout the day.

    Keep positive, which can be hard and balance everything as much as possible. Make sure you Spouse and Kids understand, when you get home, you've got nothing left and they have to take care of you. It's not long before I'm home, that I'm in bed. My kids watch TV with me in BED, as does my wife after they go to bed. It will be like this for several months.

  • I know there's otheres here who've had your proceedure. Make a new post from left hand column to creat content or forum topic under surgery so others will see your topic. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Just wondering if, after a fusion of the lumbar spine, it's possible to squat down fairly regularly. I run a daycare and have to get down with the children off and on, so I'm concerned as to whether a fusion would make this impossible.

    Thank you,

  • You can squat down if you keep your back straight and go down in a deep knee bend. Or the preferred way is to bend one knee on the floor with the other leg bent at a 45 degree angle with the foot flat on the floor. Does that make any sense? I'm not quite sure how to describe it! My knees aren't that great, so I have trouble doing this. My husband always does this rather than leaning over from the waist like most of us do prior to surgery.

    I should think you'd be able to continue with your work. I hope you don't have to lift any of the kids. That could also be a big problem.
  • I do have to lift the kids once in awhile. If they hurt themselves or if the parents hand them to me in the morning when they're tired. Does lumbar fusion make it so we're not able to lift at all anymore? I don't lift all the time, but there will be times when I need to.

  • What a great idea! I never thought of going to an autoparts place to get the support! I'm off in an hour to shop!!!! Kathy
    csp said:
    I saw that you said it bothers you to sit at work because of no back support. You probably already know this, but back supports are really cheap - $20 or so. I have one and carry it around with me everywhere. My son jokes about it and says I should just attach it to my back. I sit on the floor up against the couch with it. I also have one in my car - a life-saver. If you never saw one - go into a car parts place and they have them.

  • I suppose you would not be permanently restricted if you have a complete fusion (meaning the bones fuse completely). I know people who do weightlifting that have been able to go back to it eventually. So I would imagine you would be able to lift your kids. I was never given any restrictions one way or another. This might be a good thing to ask your doctor.
  • Sounds like I have a lot of things I need to ask my doctor. I'm actually wondering if I should put a fusion off until later if the doc. says he will do it. I really don't know what the best thing to do is. To me, it seems like a fusion is most likely in my future anyway. And the sooner I get it done the better. However, this may be wrong thinking on my part. I don't know if it's possible to have a laminectomy and be okay for the rest of your life. Especially if the disc is deteriorating quicker than the others. Is it easy to break the fusion once it's taken? I mean, like if you bend too much, the fused bone could break?


  • Thank you for your advice. I think I would be okay then, because I do limit myself. I don't take infants for one thing. And if a child weighs too much, I just wouldn't lift him, just like I don't now. It sounds like I would have to continue doing what I'm doing now -being very careful. I would have to let the parents know in advance that lifting is not something I do regularly. That's the hard part - you can't scare the parents. But you have to be careful and be honest with them. There are lots of things I can do with the kids on the floor, as long as a fusion doesn't limit my ability to sit on the floor with them. Like I said, lots and lots of questions for my doctor I guess.

    If I could afford it, I'd go to your doctor I think. Because I trust him after all you've been through. As you can see by the 2 doctors that said "no" to surgery that my case is quite a bit less serious than yours was. But the scar tissue is still right on the nerve, and every little movement I do still causes pain. This is why I was thinking a fusion might help. Then I wouldn't be able to move the L5-S1 disc area at all. No movement means no pain, right? (I hope! I hope! I hope!). The doctor did mention keeping in mind the reality that I scar up a lot. So, this tells me he would take extra precautions. And, of course, I would tell him that I wanted to take Singulair. Then I would explain why and that it's at least worth a try. If he said "no," then I would say "no" as well.

    Wow, just read over this and boy, am I rambling. Okay, enough about myself.

    Are you still doing well? Are you able to get around more since some time has passed since your surgery? How exciting for you to have no leg pain. I bet you have pain in your face though, from your non-stop smile (just kidding of course). I bet Joy is excited as well. It's so hard to see someone you love suffer so much. You take on their pain as if it was your own. I've felt my heart break over pain my son has been in after surgery or after an injury a couple times. So, I hope Joy is celebrating as well.

    Here's some good news. I just received an engagement ring from my boyfriend yesterday. Can you believe he still wants to marry a woman with back problems? He must really love me. That makes me so happy!!!

    Well, have a great day, and hope you continue to do well.

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