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How long off work after spinal fusion??

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I had a spinal fusion of two vertibrae 4 weeks ago. I am in no mood to return to work. How long was everyone else off from work after their procedure??


  • I had my fusion February 3rd. I am still off work. I had a ct scan Tuesday and met with the dr. yesterday. He finally
    authorized me to go back to work only for four hours each day and then on sedentary duty. My job was a lot of driving and chasing dogs. Good thing my boss has lots of paperwork for me to do.
  • I had my fusion on Jan 29th, and my 3month appointment is tomorrow at 8am (Friday), so I should be released then.

    I'll letya know, if all goes as planned tomorrow 3 month recovery.
  • I think 3 months might be a good guess. My surgeon told me that 6 months is not uncommon. It really depends on the job and how the patient is healing.
  • I was about 5 1/2 months after my 2-level fusion before I was allowed to go back to work as a librarian.

    I think you'll find a lot of variety - depending on everyone's job and thier personal recovery.
  • I am just a little over 4 months, just got out of back brace and started PT 2 weeks ago.

    I am working part-time. A desk job, and even though I constantly get up and move around, by 10:30am I am very uncomfortable. It is so individual, but at one month I would not been able to consider working! Good luck~
  • Mood for work. I like that.

    At three months I feel pretty good, but my doc still has restrictions like bending, twisting and lifting anything over 10#'s.

    My employer won't take me back until I have a full release. My doc says could be 6 months, but could up to a year.

    For now I'm finally cleaning the house, hiking (walkin) and I'm gonna learn fishing. I just got a sweet ultra light recliner to go fishing with. It works pretty good.
  • I think 1 month is way too early. I have asked the question myself. I had a ALIF fusion 6 weeks ago. Just saw the neuro surgeon and will return in 4 weeks. I think for me it will be about 3 months. The spine and muscles and energy needs to return, right now you're going at your own pace and the job (at least for me) is a whole different story. As my doctor and my husband remind me, let your pain and body be the guide. Good Luck
  • I am 4 1/2 months and just so ortho yestersay, dont even get PT yet. So working is off limits for a while. Six months min and probably 8 to 12 months.
  • my l5,s1 was done in jan, just went to doctor last week i start pt now but he told me probably another 6 months for me to get released. he also suggested a different job for me.. but anyway it is person to person i guess with recovery. good luck.
  • I went back to work 2 weeks after my fusion surgery and again 2 weeks after my Hardware Removal Revision surgery.
  • 18 days back to work full time (l5, s1 fusion). It's 5 weeks today since my surgery. I think I'm still in shock that I'm back working and almost back to normal.
  • Just got back from docs, 3 months post 3 level fusion back to work full time as of today.
  • I was off 6 month and believe me it was still tough going back - really tiring. So don't rush, after your three month start to buid up you activity level so going back to work isn't a total shock to the system.
    Good luck!
  • I had a spinal fusion from T10-L3 on Jan 6th 2010 and was in a back brace for 17weeks. I became very unfit and weak from wearing the brace for so long, but my fracture was very unstable so it had to be.
    I've only been back at work now for one month doing 4hr shifts 3 days a week. I feel like that is all my body can handle at the moment as I get tired so quickly. I work in hospitality so always on my feet and it can be quite physically demanding. On my last visit to the surgeon he said he could see some healing but not as much as he would have liked.
    I am going back to see him in early Aug so fingers crossed my MRI scans show more improvement than last time.
    Has anyone else had such a large fusion? I mean 6 vertabrae...thats quite alot! from what I have read most fusions are only 2-4 vertabrae on average.
  • I had an L5/S1 fusion on June 11th, back to work on July 12th. I work out of my home. I find that I can sit in the desk chair for about an hour or so at a time. After that, I need to get up and walk for a bit. I also take my laptop and phone and work out of the recliner which supports my legs and back. If I was working in an office full time at a desk, I think I would still be out until probably after 6 weeks. It's a luxury to work from home, but even from home, I still feel that it is early in the healing process.
  • That is a big fusion! :O
    Mine was only 1 level, but I also had a decompression at the level above.
    Amazing that you are back at work already. Well done! :D

    My surgery was 19th March, and I am still off work. I am hoping to return at the beginning of September when the new school year starts.
    I will have been off for 5 1/2 months!
    I am a teaching assistant and have to do lots of bending and sitting on little children's chairs.
  • I was back at work exactly 4 weeks after my open fusion. I have a desk job and felt great, but to be safe I used an egg timer to make sure I didn't sit for more than an hour at a time. My OS released me at 2 weeks, but I took an extra 2 weeks to build up my strength as at 2 weeks I still felt puny. This is always a good topic to show how drastically different everyone's experiences and healing processes are.
  • I had 2 fusions about 18 months apart. PLIF and then 360; both were 2 levels. I went back at 7 wks after both, the 2nd surgery was 1/2 days til 9 wks. I'm an RN, but in a Dr's office, so it was easier than hospital return. I know that everyone's cases are different, and Dr's protocols are different, but can't imagine being out of work 6 months or more for the surgery. I would never be able to afford it! :)

  • I know that I am very lucky to have all this time off on full pay! ;)
  • my little micro-d kicked my butt. i am not looking foreword to doing fusion. wow it may be the last surgery i do . image:)" alt=">:)" height="20" /> if you no what i mean O:)
  • I had to return to work at 14 weeks as my family mdical leave was up. My job is very physical~working with babies that need help to aachieve their developmental skills. So, it means been down on the floor with the babies, in and out of the car many times.

    It has been rough but I am getting there! The days that I work, I don't do much else~rest and be ready to go again the next day!

    Wishing you the best with your surgery and recovery!
  • In 6 days I will be 3 mos post-op from my spinal fusion. Dr told me I was lucky I was not paralyzed because he said my vertebrae looked like they were completely separated. I am getting bored at home and some days feel ready to go back to work but other days I just want to stay curled up in bed. I have no clue when I will be able to return to work, right now just hoping for a positive outcome from my surgery. Have been free of migraines for 1.5 months, taking percocet/endocet on pretty much a daily basis, numbness and tingling is returning but with less severity, and have begun to develop discomfort in thoracic region of back (hoping it is not another herniated disc or other problem). Definitely everyone heals differently...just taking it a day at a time, but with an uncertain future.

    My hx is as follows:

    March 2010 c/o lower back pain and went to family dr. Xray showed degenerative disc disease, compression of disc at L5-S1 and sacroiliitis in hips with 1/4" deviation bilaterally.

    April 2010 Had MRI done and revealed no spinal stenosis, but however was positive for disc herniation - a 10 mm herniated disc! During this time I began to feel numbness and varying sensations in my right leg/foot.
    May 2010 consultation with neurosurgeon who referred me out to pain doctor for steroid injections and EMG. EMG showed no signs of nerve damage and steroid injections (2 rounds) did nothing to relieve my pain.

    June 2010 met with neurosurgeon again who then recommended surgery

    July 21, 2010 surgery was supposed to last 1.5 hours according to doctor, but however lasted 4 hours. Dr said my vertebrae showed severe deterioration, disc was completely herniated (largest herniation ever seen according to my pain dr!), vertebrae showed severe displacement, and I was positive for spinal stenosis, where just 3 months earlier I had no indication of spinal stenosis! Doctor performed spinal fusion with laminectomy, decompression, arthrodesis, discectomy - pretty much the gamut of things!

    August 10,2010 ER for severe migraines, new onset since surgery, and seeping from incision

    August 24, 2010 Minimal response from pain medications and dr suggested using TENS unit, if could get approved through insurance. Prescribed percocet at this time, but had also taken darvocet, lortab, muscle relaxers, etc with no relief.

    November 15 is my next appt.
  • With a spinal in pa its 1 year for me but i was high risk and lost my job,
  • I can't get over all of the differences between everyone..

    Time off work, and braces, and PT.

    I am getting 2 level on November 3rd. I was told conservatively 6 weeks off work. Also no brace (titanium fusion) and no PT. HMMMM.

  • for me and I was off work for 5 and 1/2 months.
    When I returned, in less than a week, I was signed off again and then had to have a phased return. I am still not completely back to my full hours, after nearly 7 months!

    My job involves lots of bending and twisting as I am a Teaching Assistant and work with the children while they are seated around low tables.

    There are so many variables here.
  • I was off work for a year, and I only had a one level fusion. Of course the surgeon said I'd be back to work in 3 months, but I had barely gotten through the all night back spasms at that point. The kind of work you do will probably determine how long you're out. I tried to go back after 3 months, but I couldn't handle the lifting...
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    My surgeon is open to 6 months at minimum. I have a bunch of other problem that have led me to remain out of work since May 2009 but with my last fusion in 1993 I was out of work around 3 months.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • I had a double fusion with cage & bone stimulator implanted, and that was June 28th 2010. I haven't been able to return to work, and part of that is because I have a permanent lifting restriction, and my job cannot accommodate that, and I also have had some complications from the surgery.
  • Hey Jayhawk

    I am going to have to return to work earlier than I should. Don't look at the ticker date. My boss made me leave early when she saw the lifting restrictions. X(

    Anyways, how are you doing? I went with a friend to work the other day. All I did was stand and walk around for 4 hours, I was so tired and sore :''( that all I did was eat and sleep the rest of the day. The next day I was alright. I work in Spec Ed with 4-5th graders, and my other job is at a store. I can sit at both jobs so I should be ok, right? :S

    Thanks and Hugs
  • Wow that sounds wrong I am no dr but every one that I had seen said brace and pt after 8 to 12 weeks I hope it works out for you but I cant imagine not having my brace on walking for long periods right now I had L4 L5 fusion done on Oct 21st and am getting along perty well accept for the leg pain and lack of sleep but I am Hoping that is normal good luck Angelanic
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