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How long till I can return to physical work after plif?

Hi everyone,

first of all I'd like to say thanks to everyone who contributes valuable information and experience to this site for people like me who are ill-informed or are looking for answers that surgeons can't give.

My name is Ryan, Im a 26 year old plumber from Australia, and I had PLIF at L5/S1 nearly 7 weeks ago after developing cauda equina syndrome.

My questions are:

1: Obviously as a plumber, my job is quite physical, having to lift and move objects in excess of 20kg. When or If would I be able to return to physical labour?

2: What happens if the fusion is unsuccessful, do the surgeons complete the process over again?

Any information or advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks for reading my forum.


  • SueDSSueD Posts: 545
    edited 07/02/2012 - 11:25 AM
    I presume you will be having a review appointment with x-rays very soon. Your surgeon will need to ensure the hardware is doing its job properly and that there are no problems with ongoing pain etc.

    Then I should think they will give you the all clear to return to work. You may need to incorporate some adjustments though. Like not lifting heavy objects, or not sitting for too long - making sure you walk around for a few minutes every hour or so.

    Any questions you have you must ask your surgeon for advice. Then take it from there.

    I really hope you will get a successful result from your PLIF.

    I had a 2 level PLIF in July 2010, but had to have revision surgery last December. I'm still having pain issues and now have sacro-iliac joint pain too (caused by the fusion surgery), so I do not consider my PLIF operation a success (yet).

    Any restrictions your surgeon gives you - abide by because if you don't you may end up paying for it later on. And you are too young to have ongoing back problems for the rest of your life!!!!

    You take care, listen to your surgeon and look after yourself now that you've had such an invasive spine operation. It's the only back you've got.
    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 !!
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