Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

How long have you been/were you out of work after surgery?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,607
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi Everyone,

I'm new here and found this site when researching my back issues. I had an L4/L5 Microdiscectomy on March 12th.

Was completely out of work for the first week and then worked from home for the second and third. I then went back the first two days for half of each. Just started back full time yesterday and I’m very concerned because I’m having a tremendous amount of pain in my sciatic nerve areas (left side of my body), which was the whole reason I had surgery in the first place. I felt like things were going well when I was resting and not sitting for most of the day (with a long walk per day) but I feel like one day of sitting all day just erased all of my progress.

Needless to say I am very concerned that one day of sitting made me feel this way. Not sure if I came back too soon! But just curious how long others have been out of work for similar procedures?

I know it will vary but if you get a chance please post how long you were/have been out of work.

Thanks again and glad to be a part of the group!


  • I had 2 levels done though also and a setback as well. You really shouldn't be sitting much right now IMO. That is the absolute worst position for your lower back so try not to do that for awhile yet if you can.

    I think an MRI should be standard at 2 months Post-op anyway to make sure we didn't screw anything up. Fusion patients get an xray. Not fair! If only it was MY world...LOL!
  • to the surgery & activity orders after surgery vary from doc to doc but sitting constantly without getting up every hour or so is too long. You may have already been doing this I am assuming not from the post but if you did then I would discuss the matter with your doc and go from there, you may need more time at home...

    welcome to the boards and good luck!!!!
  • I had a L5/S1 Dysnes syestem put in on June 13th of last year and i was out of work for 6 weeks. I am going in on the 15th of this month to have that removed and have a total fusion with rods installed. The Doc told me that i would be out of work for a minimum of 6-8 weeks this time. It really does vary from person to person and how well they heal up.

  • Thanks for the quick replies. Hopefully a few more people will chime in!!

    I'm just a little concerned because in this economy I don't want to do anything that will cause me to lose my job in the future. I love my job but it depends heavily on me producing and in the condition I'm in I don't know that can be as effective as I need to be. I am constantly thinking about my pains because I have no choice and it's naturally impacting what I'm able to do at work. Hopefully the man upstairs gives me the assist on this one! Thanks again for the replies!
  • Hello there. I too had a l4/l5 discectomy on March 12th!

    My summary so far:
    Days 1-13: Perfect. No nerve pains, minimal incision pain for 3 days. Walked great and was on top of the world. Went back to working from home (lying down on side with a laptop) Day 4. Still have not driven into work (40 mile drive from NH to Boston) and am working from home still today.
    Day 14: Arched my back and felt "it" (The hip/butt/calf/ankle pain) again. Was the day of my 2 week followup and he said I just moved in a way that irritated the nerve and it will take months for the nerve to heal.. It was expected and will slow down.
    Days 14-17: lil nerve twitches but nothing too bad.
    Days 18-22: Felt great. Ready to go back into the office Monday!
    Day 23: lifted my 40 lb daughter. Back pain, soreness, lil nerve twitch by evening.
    Day 24 (Sunday): Still lil back ache and nerve irritation down leg. I was able to drive 1 hour, sit thru a 2 hour play, then sit for a supper and drive back. Minimal pain - taking Aleve.
    Day 25 (Monday): Nerve pain worsening. NOT going into the office today. When I tighten my abs I feel it. When I lift something light i feel it. Worried I re herniated and called the doc. Seeing him tomorrow (which is now today at 1 EDT)
    Day 26 (Today): Not too bad, lil nerve twinge on the walk and the general "tourniquet on my leg" feeling from the butt nerve pain/hotness.
    So... today I go and ask if i re herniated the disc. I am hoping its inflammation dn not a re herniation and a steroid helps me get thru this episode.

    I have sent you a private message with my info - let's chat and comisserate with each other. I too was same l4/l5, same day, same side, everything!
  • PS - My surgeon is supposed to be one of the best. He did back surgery on other doctors I know with great success. He also did brain surgery for Parkinsons on Michael J Fox and Annette Fonacello. I trust him totally and will be sure to post what he has to say after we meet this afternoon.
  • First time I had microdiscectomy I was given 4 weeks to recover. Then, I had repeat microD. And now I am not released to work for another 4-6 weeks.
    So I guess I will be out of 10weeks total.

    I don't think you can lose your job because of a medical problem. At least for a short duration. Do you feel comfortable asking your HR person?
  • I did the FMLA (Family and Medical leave act) which is good for 3 months.

    If you work for a good employer they shouldnt fire you so long as you can return back to normal functions.

    I should be able to return after April 24th, my surgeon said he would release me then, which will make it 3 months post op a 3 level fusion to return to work.

    I have been out of work now for 4months but luckily my CNO/DON both said I could take medical leave of absence now that my FMLA ran. (good for an additional 2 months).
  • I am due to have a fusion in May and the surgeon has informed me that I won't be returning to work for at least three months (part time) and six months (full time)
  • Thinks I have nerve irritation but NOT nerve compression. That means he thinks the disc held from my 'accident' Sat. He gave me a steroid for 6 days and thinks I will be fine.
    Thank the Lord!
  • i had open surgery and that takes 12 months plus unfortunately i have not been able to work for some years now as i have complications from further surgeries and i am still in pain.but back to you ..i dont think that you have given yourself enough time to heal take about 3 months of at least {what do you do ?}i was an electrician .dont be forced in to returning to work too soon because you only get one back ! and if you damaged it anymore work could be a distant dream .be careful my friend!
  • Instead of a reherniation? Symptom reasoning?
  • Laminectomy - Dec 31. 2008 - back to work 2 weeks later.

    1 level Fusion - March 19, 2008 - back to work 2 1/2 weeks later.

    Today was my second day back to work and I worked 10 hours and did fine. For me, every day gets better. Everyone heals at different rates and for me I am healing faster with the fusion surgery than I did with the laminectomy.
  • He thinks I just moved/lifted in such a way that things moved and pissed off the nerve. Told me the steroid should cool it down and told me not to lift.
  • My surgery was Jan 13, 09, and my NS said I won't be able to return to work for 6 months. I thought he was wrong since I work for myself at home, the problem is the nature of my work (CATI programmer) is such that when something needs done, it needs done YESTERDAY, and trying to do so led me to tell one of my clients I was done and going to look for a new line of work, I believe that wouldn't have happened if I'd waited. I see my NS next week, and hope he can give me a better estimate, since I've had so many set backs that were not expected.
  • ...I hear that it takes months to years to heal. My questions is, if the nerve is still irritated and bothering people - is it actually healing?!??! How do you know?
    I can twist a certain way and feel the nerve buzz me - so... if I never twist that way again for a year my nerve will heal?
    Seems kinda wishful thinking that a nerve can heal unless it's never irritated.

  • Thanks agian for everyone's replies. It's good to know that this really varies from person to person. I actually saw my surgeon today and he has again restricted me to my bed (no bending, twisting, sitting, etc.). Given the recurrence of my sciatic nerve pains he doesn't even want me to walk for now. He said that there's certainly a possibility that I re-herniated the disc but wants to give it a couple of more weeks of rest to see if these pains go away.

    Of course my fear now is that ultimately I'll be right back in the surgery room. And if this time around it's fusion... I can only say that this will really kill my spirits. As I'm sure many of you have experienced... this would be the worst news of all as it really puts you in a bad spot with work and life in general.

    I know someone mentioned that they can't fire you from work for health reasons -- but as with everything in this country... there are always ways to circumvent the system. If for whatever reason they are unhappy with the situation they could just as easily wait it out, bring you back for a couple months, and then just let you go for whatever other reason they can come up with. Hopefully over the years I've shown that I am valuable enough and they understand that I deserve the benefit of the doubt.

    Nonetheless, I have no choice but to do what's best for my health.

    Rolo - thanks again for your reply. I'll send you a PM now.
  • see below
  • In Florida we are a "Right to work state", so they can fire us for any reason they so chose.

    If you are out for an extended period or unable to come back and meet your duties of course they can fire you.

    But also remember President Obama has lowered Cobra premiums by 65% last I heard.
Sign In or Register to comment.