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paulab67ppaulab67 Posts: 57
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:45 AM in Recovering from Surgery
I was wondering about when the Dr. allowed you all (who are driving) to begin to drive again. That's all I wanna know. Thank you. :D


  • He is exactly one month post fusion but he is on no pain medication. Now whether he will do much will probably depend on how it affects him.
  • I was released at my first follow up which was at 10 days post!! I felt it was highly irresponsible as I had a 360, was in a TLSO and on many medications.

    It was after 8+ weeks before I drove. I worried about muscle/motor control~ could I slam on the brakes if needed and were my reflexes quick enough?

    Hope all is well.
  • This is something that varies from person to person and doc to doc. The type of surgery, anesthesia, ROM limitations, medications and many other factors all go into the mix. I've had very mixed restrictions based on whether the surgery was cervical or lumbar, length of the surgery and whether or not the surgery was done within a relatively short period of time from another. I was told that the more times you are placed under general anesthesia within say a 6 month period, that there's some concern of cumulative effects from the anesthesia. For just a simple lumbar decompression with general anesthesia, I was told to wait 2 weeks. Other factors that had to be considered, whether or not I had strength to lift my foot off the accelerator and hit the brakes, also without pain from that type of motion. Range of motion after cervical surgery was another concern.

    So if for some reason you didn't remember what you were briefed (post surgery fog), or if for some reason you weren't briefed, I recommend calling your surgeon's office and getting some clarification or guidance.


  • But there was no way that I felt ready.
    The twisting to look behind me while reversing would have been very painful at the least.

    I started driving at about 5 weeks, I think.

  • signed off for six weeks from the hospital and advised not to drive for the same amount of time - not because I couldn't, but because of how the surgery could be compromised if I was involved in an accident etc.

    As mentioned before, the twisting to look behind you when reversing could be difficult, considering most surgeons say no bending, lifting or twisting to some extent.

    I think, if the surgeons have given you no restrictions, it's a matter of personal choice and safety. If you are not comfortable and do not feel safe driving, then don't. You need to be able to withstand an emergency stop at least, so I personally would feel that if you're in doubt, don't.

    Another thing to think about is your insurance. Would you be covered after undergoing spine surgery (even if your surgeon says it's OK)? They may have their own restrictions because it would be considered a pre-existing condition if, for example, someone was to hit you, through no fault of your own.

    Perhaps others will give their opinions too.
    2 x Microdiscectomy 2005 / PLIFusion 2-level 2010 / revision surgery 2011 / NEVRO Senza spinal cord stimulator implanted February 2013. I WILL NOT GIVE IN / UP !!
  • After my PLIF I didn't get the OK to drive for about 6 weeks.

    My recent ALIF surgery recovery: my surgeon was so impressed with how I was doing I got the OK at 10 days post-op. HOWEVER: it was incredibly uncomfortable getting in and out of the car/van so I didn't do much driving for awhile except for taking the kids to preschool/karate/dance, etc. which are all close to home.

  • I can't remember when I was cleared to drive, but it was very painful to drive once I was allowed. I would never have imagined how difficult it is after lumbar fusion - I always thought it was a rather benign activity, but it really takes more out of you than you might think.

    I can't remember where I read it here, but there were others that had discovered the same thing. So be prepared for that, but I hope that once you start driving again, it's not too bad for you.

  • Six weeks. Plus, I was on half the meds I was on right after the surgery, that has a lot to do with driving. You don't want to get behind the wheel too soon after taking your pain meds. Your reaction time is slowed. mel v.
  • Thanks everyone. I am pretty sure that my dr. is not going to clear me to drive at my 7 week appointment. Not sure why it isn't a 6 week appointment. They scheduled it for 7 weeks. :/ Anyway, I am still having lots of pain in the fusion area. I am still taking pain meds and I myself, feel I am not going to be ready. I am not walking steady yet. Just got rid of my walker. YAY!!! We will see though. Oh also, the foot that I drive with is atill giving me alot of trouble. I mean pain wise. Thanks again. >:D< :)
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