Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Going back to work..

LisaRachelLLisaRachel Posts: 286
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:52 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi everyone, it's been awhile since Iv'e posted.

I had my fusion in Dec 10. Ive been feeling a lot better and have begun to look for jobs. I recently got a full time position and was so excited but nervous too. I started on March 22nd however, I had to quite yesterday! I was in so much pain these last few days!!

My question to you guys is.. when do people go back to work? I have been speaking to Dr's. and they all agree that it should be anywhere from 6-12 months after! and to start back part-time!

My problem is my family puts so much pressure on me!!

I'm so depressed now but the pain was not worth it! I was crawling home to my apartment after my shift.

The good thing is the job is working in a physio department and the staff are so understanding! I'm now going to be a patient..

Hope all of you are well....



  • it is good to hear from you again, but not good that it is problems that have brought you back.

    From your avatar, it looks like you had a 2 level fusion done.

    I only had a one level lumbar fusion and was off work for 6 months, and then needed a phased return back.
    (I did go back in on my full hours, but was sent home in less than a week and signed off again! A week later, I tried again on reduced hours.)

    Don't let your family make you feel like you have to get back to work before you know you are ready. You are so right that the pain is not worth it.

    It sounds like your work place are being very understanding, and they are going to be ideal to help and advise you how to get back into work.

    I certainly have found that physiotherapy has been very helpful in strengthening my back to enable me to get back into my job as a teaching assistant (lots of bending!).

    Remember Lisa, that you had been feeling a lot better. :-)
    You will get there, it is just that you were asking a bit too much of your back. Ease back off, and gradually ease back in again.

    Your back is not worth risking harming it just because you don't want people to think badly of you. I know it is hard when we feel people are thinking we should be able to get back to a normal life before we feel we are ready. Others who haven't had spine problems, and especially surgery, just don't get it!!
    That is why it is so helpful to come on here to talk about how we are doing.

    You will get there Lisa. Be patient and allow yourself to take it easy if you feel you need it. No-one knows how your back feels, except you.

    >:D< >:D< >:D<

  • is a different experience for each of us. Alot depends on the type of work you do and if there is lots of bending/standing/sitting etc.

    For me personally, I thought I was ready in October last year. I had the 2-level fusion in July, so that's only 3 months. I too felt enormous pressure to return (especially as I went onto half pay and couldn't manage financially). However, after 2 weeks I had my 'return to work' interview and they immediately sent me home! I've been off work ever since, so thankfully, on full pay as it's classed as 'disability leave' here in the UK.

    There's no fixed time after surgery to return to work - but it is all according to how you are physically. May be when you try it again you can have a 'phased' return (like Jellyhall mentioned, which I had as well). It will ease you into your normal working hours (in our case) over 4 weeks.

    Try looking at different options - physiotherapy (as you've said), a better management of your pain with perhaps more effective pain medications.

    Good luck. Don't be too disheartened, you WILL get there I'm sure.
    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 !!
  • I was wondering how you were doing. I'm sorry you can't work right now but you were brave to try to get back to working but it's not good crawling back to your apartment that's just not right! I know it's hard to listen to your family but you're not ready yet. It's way too soon. I haven't had surgery I just wanted to say hi and hope you start healing and it hasn't even been 4 months since your surgery to return to work. I'm praying you get your Physiotherapy and get yourself stronger and you'll know when it's time to get back to the job. >:D< Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • It is so common that people around us place so much pressure on us to return to our former lives too soon. I don't think there are many that realize just how long it takes to recover from a fusion.
    We then feel guilt and believe that something must be wrong with us or that we are being whimpy. It would be nice if the people caring for us would take the time to explain to us and our family just how long it truly takes to get to that optimal point.

    You are not quite 4 months postop. I could not take a shower without having to lie down immediately afterward at that time. Sometimes I still have days where I am exhausted after doing the simpliest of things. I had to have 3 endoscopic spine procedures in the Fall for scarring around my fusion. I'm just now recovering from those procedures, and have returned to PT, so I would have to agree with Jelly about PT helping with mobility and think it might be helping with the pain as well.

    Bottom line, you must listen to your body. This is not gallbladder surgery. Linda (lsteller) told me that it took 18 months before she felt better, and I believe her now that I'm 16 months out.

    It is important for our families to become educated about chronic pain. Hope that you are able to convince your family to do their research.

    Take care,

  • Thanks everyone, your comments are so important to me.
    I was told recently that just because you feel no pain one day does not mean your ready to take on life like you did before the fusion! This is my third spine surgery and it's been a hard recovery. I'm glad ive had the surgery however, the emotioal part has been tough.

    I have explained to my family that they can not pressure me anymore! My father wants me working to get me out of the house, I can understand that but in the mean time I will look for a part-time job maybe 10-15 hours a week.

    I was told not to do physio that I didn't need it! SG, you say that it helps you? I know I need to do something I feel weak and so out of shape " fat" ;( but don't know what I can do without hurting myself.


  • It's nice to be back on SH. I've missed you guys... >:D< >:-D&lt

  • I'm sure that your post will help someone else.

    So often we read a post and think, this person is suffering almost the same problems as me, and that makes us feel that we are not alone. That in itself helps.

    It is so true Lisa, that just because we feel much better, that we are not ready to get back to everything we used to do.

    Remember your spine is being held together by the hardware in your back, and you need to allow enough time for the bone to grow and fuse so that your back will be strong again.
    In addition to that, we have had muscles and ligaments cut or stripped and they need to grow back and regain strength again.
    Then there are the various layers of skin and nerves that have been cut and damaged or disturbed.
    Often the alignment of our spine has been changed, even if only slightly. Everything needs to get used to its new working position.
    All in all, we have a tremendous amount of healing that needs to take place.

    We knew before fusion surgery that the recovery would be long. Somehow, once we are past the first month or so, we seem to forget that we were expecting a long period of taking great care, and we overdo it and then wonder why we aren't progressing as we had hoped. (I include myself in all of this!)

    Look after your back Lisa. You are worth it!! :D

    >:D< >:D< >:D<

  • Hi Lisa,

    Don't feel pressured to do anything that you are not ready for. You can heal properly and take it easy, or push yourself and risk furthur injury. Its different for everyone. I was able to return to work 6 weeks after surgery on light duty...though initially my doctor told me it'd be 8 months. That didn't bode well with me lol. Anyways, good luck to you and remember, don't do more than what your body is telling you is healthy.

  • Cool that you have returned to SpineHealth.I have only recently found it & get such encouragement from it.
    Good on you,for trying to do your best.Hang in there,& try to keep your mind on the things you can do,& do have.Treat yourself to the things you can.You are going through some real tough stuff.Give yourself heaps of credit for your courage.
    It will improve.
    I do know how hard it is.And you have my total respect for your courage.Hang on in there mate.
    Mike --NZ
  • Aww, you guys are the best! I think I would be feeling worse if I didn't have all of you wonderful peeps on SH.

    Welcome, Mike. I hope you have found this site supportive.

    My goal is to get off the pain meds not to go on a higher dose so I can function at a job that I'm not very happy in. My lawyers do not want me working at all but I need to be able to feel like I'm doing something!! I like working and I like helping people but at what price?

    Today my back feels frozen on my left side and I have pain going down my leg. I recently had blood work and it shows I have a very low hemoglobin and a very low iron level! All I want to do is sleep! My doctor is going to start to give me iron shots starting next week, hopefully that will help! I think we loose a lot of blood during the fusion surgery. I had a 3 level done...

    Hope all you guys are having a pain free day >:D< >:-D&l
  • The picture is my burst fracture on my L2!
  • Lisa,

    Good to see you back with us! Try to rest when you can, and don't push it at work. Remember girlfriend, you paid those surgeons lots of good money to do a great job! Welcome back!! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I had a 3-level fusion on Dec. 30 and started back to work as manager of Convience Store/Gas Station on March 23rd. Everything is going great for me
  • Thats great Diane, this is my third spine surgery! After, I had my first I felt great too. I gather I have a lot scar tissue and my body is not going back as fast as anymore.

    Good luck I hope it continues for you...

  • I tried PT twice during my fusion recovery, but did not get the desired results. I finally found a PT that understands my current pathology, and she and her boss have designed a plan to help strengthen my core and all muscles even in my thoracic down to my hamstrings that give you balance. She has been releasing my hip flexors, which are extremely contracted, as well as my quads and hamstrings. It all makes such good sense to me, and am very hopeful that with continued effort I will be able to support my back. I no longer have unrealistic expectations, but would like to do simple things with better mobility and less pain.

    I think eventually that I can do a home exercise program on my own, but would have been unable to get to the root of my issues or perform the maneuvers that she is doing.

    Of course, I am doing this with the blessing of my surgeon.

    Good luck to you, Lisa.

Sign In or Register to comment.