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Back to work and starting PT ?

raygirlrraygirl Posts: 22
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery

Hi everyone,

Well this group has helped me before so here goes. I
am going back to a supervisor/office job this Thurs. and
am seeing my doctor on Wed. to release me and poss. start
PT. I am just now up all day and doing fairly well. If I
do anything physical like walk longer, shop for a couple
hours - I pay for it the next couple days. I do not take
any drugs even though I probably could use them some days.
I plan to ask for skeletin for going back to work. My
surgery area swells some days (L4-5 fusion with metal and
screws. I am wondering about starting PT at the same time
I am going back to work. ( 4 days/wk). I will ask the doctor
about it but I thought someone might have some experience with
it. I am very determined to exercise and walk to get the best
results possible. Also my foot does swell a bit when I'm up
alot or have over done it. I also would like to know if there
is anyone on here that is doing really well at one year and
their experiences. Thanks to all.


  • Well I am glad to here you are doing well. I know in my experience PT flared my pain up. Everyone is different and I am still early in my recovery. I am just now weaning out of my back brace..My back feels very weak without it. How long have you been off of work? I am just over 7 weeks out.
  • I am out 12 weeks. I did not have a back brace. It seems everyone does it differently. I was just
    supposed to not bend or lift or twist. Well that is
    hard. Sometimes I wish I had a back brace. What did your PT involve?
  • Hi Raygirl! I am 8 weeks post op from a 360. I am planning on going back to work mid June which will be at 3 1/2 months.

    My surgeon had me start PT right away ( 2 weeks Post op). I think there are pros and cons to starting PT and returning to work.

    PROs~ help with pain control through various modalities such as ultra sound, infra light, theraputic massage, ice/heat,manual manipulation. They could also monitor your spinal aleignment. Often because of spasms and guarding my aleignment is off and I experience additional pain in my low back, knees and ankles. PT can easily correct this with a "little hands on magic" :-). they also help with strengthening and endurance activites.

    CONs~the one that sticks out in my mind would just be endurance. PT doesn't have to hurt and you will want to have open communication with your PT. You will want to be in tune with your body and aware of maintaining "neutral spine" when performing strengthening activities.

    I think the sooner you begin PT, the better off you will be. I noticed you work 4 days/week. Maybe you could have PT x 2/week, your "off" day and just one day that you are working also.

    I hope your appointment goes well on Wed. I worry also about returning to work..... Hope you are having a minimal pain day! :) Shari
  • Well when I first started PT 3 weeks ago they just put me on a seated stepper for 10minutes..a few stretches and then massaged my left butt cheek with ultrasound then deep tissue. I am having sciatic issues on the left side since surgery. Last week they started working on my core muscle strength. Let me tell ya..it is hard..esp since I have had a brace on the whole time. You wouldn't think they could make you sweat by sitting on a bouncy ball and doing balancing exercises..lol...My doctor actually decreased my therapy from 3 times to 2 times a week because I just don't have the stamina to do back to back days...do to the fact I still can't drive the PT place scheduled me 2 days in a row every week..on that 3rd day I couldn't do anything.

    Maybe you won't have as hard of a time since you haven't had a brace on. I can't tell I have lost muscle strength..but muscle has memory so I feel I can get it back with a little work.

    Good luck
  • that should have said
    I "can" tell I have lost muscle strength..sorry
  • Raygirl,
    Pacing is the key in returning to work and with that knowledge and experience that you have that you energy level will deteriorate over the day will be hard at first. I was away from work before my return for many years and that goal was the only thing I always wanted and give yourself some encouragement, space and kindness.

    Not using any medication is your decision and it does have implications in attempting to perform in the workplace while using medication, which is not easy, our consultant pharmacologist suggested that once the pain has arrived we have missed the optimum chance of managing the pain more effectively, in taking medication by the clock it increases the overall threshold of those peaks and troughs. We are then taking medication when the levels of pain are not at its worse on the basis that when it does arrive we have some remedial protection.

    Trying to squash your daily performance into your new capability will take some time to adjust and all here wish you well.

    Take care and good luck.

  • Thank you for you kind letter. It is a daily job
    to remind ourselves not to overdo. Thanks for the
    encouragement. It does help!!
  • :S
    Thanks so much for the kind reply. It is amazing how
    much this site has helped me. I will not overdo and
    try to be good to myself from day 1 back.
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