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Return to work

sewcrazedssewcrazed Posts: 1
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:50 AM in Recovering from Surgery
I have put off surgery for 2 years but I am having pain all the time now. One of my biggest concerns is being off work for the amount of time I am reading here. Seriously, if I am motivated and willing to grin and bear it can't I get back to work after a couple of weeks?


  • Hi there sewcrazed. I went back to work 2 weeks to the day after having a 1 level ACDF C5/6 allograft (donor bone) fusion w/plate & screws. The first day was horrible. I barely made it through. I sit in front of a computer all day & I do not have a very understanding boss so getting up to take extended breaks was not really possible.

    I guess it all depends on the type of surgery you are having and what type of job you have.

    I worked for 4 days...had a weekend off... then worked for 3 more days and each day did get a little better/easier. I was, however, taking a lot of pain meds to make it through the day. My Dr. did not like that and ordered me to take a month off and decrease my pain meds. I am now 3-1/2 weeks post-op and am in more pain than I was prior to surgery!

    My husband had a L4/5 microdiscectomy in March 2010 and he was chomping at the bit to get back to work the week after his surgery...and was taking a very minimal amount of pain meds. He could take Motrin or Aleve to help instead of the stronger stuff but when you have a fusion you can't take any sort of NSAID to supplement the stronger stuff. He literally begged his Dr. to let him go back to work at 2 weeks post-op. He did and he felt great and did just fine.

    So, in summary, depending on the type of surgery you are having.... you could theoretically go back to work in 2 weeks...but as you said... you may have to do a lot of grinning & bearing it... or you may feel so much better & finally be out of pain that you'll do just fine.

    Best of luck to you!

  • So much depends on the individual. I was not in good shape before surgery (not working) and 5 1/2 weeks post-surgery I can't imagine having to work full-time. I can barely do the minimum "mom" chores.

    And it's not a matter of grinning and bearing it, but of giving your body what it needs to heal. The post-surgical journey is much different than the chronic pain journey. You're constantly reminded that "grinning and bearing it" could actually make it take longer and/or make the result less positive.

    But discuss it with your doctor. Mine said that I'd be back "up and around" fairly quickly, but that actual recovery would be long and slow. He was exactly right.
  • Absolutely agree. From reading here and my experiences so far, it can vary widely depending on the extent of the procedure after they get in there and, I think, how your own body responds and heals. From my experience, I had my surgery on Dec 13th and the first time I felt OK to walk downstairs in the morning without a "spotter" was the 25th, never mind think about returning to work and a 1 hour commute each way!

    There are a lot of factors to discuss with your doctor and hopefully your employer; the type of work (and a sitting job is not necessarily a good thing in my opinion), ability to move around, etc. It's tough but you need to put yourself and your long term health first and hope your employer would rather have a healthy, productive employee back than one who is in pain.

    Best of luck!


    Dec 13th - 2 Level open TLIF - L3-L5, L3-L5 Laminectomy, L2-L3 Discectomy.
  • Yep, I wasn't even out of the hospital until 6 days after my surgery! My husband was home taking care of me for another 2 weeks after that- so for 3 weeks I couldn't even take care of myself!

    Many doctors won't release you to drive for 5-6 weeks (mine released me at 3 weeks but I was not up to driving regularly for another week after that). This is especially true if you have neck surgery.
  • As everyone else has stated here, it depends on the surgery and the individual. Over the last 3 years, I've had 3 back surgeries, 2 level PLIF L4-S1, revision and h/w removal L4-S1, SCS implant. All 3 surgeries, I went back to work 2 weeks after my surgery. The decision was mine. I did grimace and bear it, no grinning. If you can take the time off, I recommend it, but if you have no choice, you can get through somehow. The way I saw it at the time, I could stay at home and be miserable or go to work and be paid to be miserable.

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