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Returning to work after acdf surgery

51LKB551LKB Posts: 17
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:37 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Had 3-level ACDF surgery with plating for c4-5, c5-6, c6-7 on 9/23 and I am coming up on the 4 week mark. How much time should I expect to be off work? Is it realistic to expect to go back full time, or maybe its better to try part-time at first...
I was in a lot of pain after the surgery in my arms, neck, and back, however, with the PT it has gotten so much better. Also, the weakness and numbness in my hands and arms has improved as well. It is still difficult to sleep comfortably without some pain thru the night. In addition to the PT three times a week, I have been walking as well.
I have not yet been driving or doing any work since operation, but pre-surgery I was very, very active, so this time off is driving me crazy...
Will be going back to the neurosurgeon in a couple days...wonder what he will say.
any comments are appreciated!



  • Hello,

    Glad to hear you are doing so well after surgery, I had the same C4-7 done 12-8-08, I was in a hard collar for six weeks and no driving for 6 weeks, stared PT at that time and returned to work after 8 weeks. Did really will until March and started to have new problems on opposite side, been off work now for 8 weeks and will know next week what can be done to fix my new problem.
    My experience is go easy and do what the doctor says.
  • I also had a 3-lvl ACDF, same levels as you, and also with hardware.

    I'm not sure what you do for a living, but I went back part-time after two months and it was still difficult. My job was mostly computer work, but I could get up any time I needed or wanted. Most people who go back full-time wish they'd gone part-time first, just to get used to being back. It takes a pretty big adjustment on your body.

    I wish you a good and quick recovery.
  • Thanks, Rick for the advice. I don't want to do more than I should. I think I might consider your plan of starting Part Time after I get to 6 weeks. I am so afraid to do anything to aggravate this situation and I want to heal. But then I am going crazy being off.
    I really appreciate your advice...thanks for the response!
  • Hi Cath,
    thanks for your advice. I do most of my work on the computer and in meetings with some air travel once or twice a month. I already know that travel is going to be out, but perhaps I can do the part time thing. I appreciate the heads up about the adjustment. Some friends took my out for awhile on this past Sunday and I am still recovering from it...my body is weary from just that short time out.
    thanks again for the advice...it helps a lot.

  • Hi Leah
    I went back to work 5 weeks post op after each fusion(i had 2). I went back part time the first surgery which was easier.I went back full time the 2 nd surgery and it was tough. You get tired easily. Hopefully you can walk away from the computer often .Sitting at the computer for long periods can increase your pain and muscle spasms.
    It does feel good to get back into the real world after surgery but take it slow and easy.
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