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Short Term Disability for Microdisectomy - How Much Time?

Hi all, I was just told I need to get a microdisectomy and after speaking with my HR department, and my manager, I realize that STD is the the best option so I have a couple of questions.

First, if you took STD when did you go out from work? Did you wait until right up until the surgery or did you go out sooner. I am a sales guy and my job requires me to drive a lot and carry about 30 pounds around when I am cold calling. My pain has reached a point in which sitting for more than probably twenty minutes results in exruciating pain and it takes me about ten minutes to be able to walk after sitting. My guess is that my surgery wont happen for a couple of weeks but I have thought about going out April 1st as it is the beginning of a new sales month and the fact is that I am getting pretty useless in my job.

Secondly, what kind of recovery time do you think I would be looking at until I can go back to normal work activity, namely driving and sitting. I have a cousin who is a commercial pilot and he told me it took him two months to go from surgery to the cockpit. He said that you had to be pretty careful when it came to twisting, bending or picking things up for the first couple of months but he emphasized that walking was crucial.

Anyway, i guess I am just wondering what most people end up taking in terms of total time off for this kind of procedure becuase I would like to start planning and be able to tell my manager what to expect.



  • I was planning on going back to work in two weeks but had my doctor clear me for four weeks off which I'm glad he did. I ended up getting a cold the day after surgery which really drained my energy. I had my surgery on Feb 5 (lumbar microdiscectomy for my L5-S1) and returned to work part time on March 4 for two weeks. March 18 marked my first week back at full time. I'm an admin so I mostly sit and do computer work. My energy level is still low and every now and then I do have some leg pain so I'm still taking it really easy. I haven't driven for more than maybe 30 minutes at a time. A few times a day at work I need to lay down for about 15 minutes to ease the ache in my back. As far as carrying things, I would be -very- careful. 30 pounds sounds like a lot so be sure to discuss that with your doctor. I ended up getting a cart so I could wheel my laundry and groceries to and from my apartment vs carrying anything. I started physical therapy this week and I have no idea when I will be able to go back to my normal gym routine. Good luck and I hope everything goes great for you!!
  • And I think I will probably take as much time as I can to recover. From what I understand, and from what I have been reading in this forum, it seems a lot of people return to work too, and regular activities, too early because the surgery can have dramati effects but it also seems that many people get hurt again or have a set-back when doing this. I would rather take as much time as I need tor recover so I hopefully do not need to deal with this ever again.
  • I'm almost 4 wks post-op. I am trying to condition myself gradually for going back to work, by sitting at my computer deask at home for short periods of time. I seem to still be uncomfortable while driving, or riding. Sitting is rough still. I don't feel ready to go back full time. I am a loan officer, so I sit at a computer and am up and down a lot. Filing is also part of what I do, and NO WAY is my filing getting done (by me) right away. My employer doesn't offer short term disability, you're fortunate. I think I would take 6 wks off if I could. I haven't seen or spoken to my doctor since my surgery, it's very disappointing. Although I have talked to his receptionist, it's not the same as talking to the surgeon. Be sure to get instructions for as long as youcan for post-op. I left the hospital and was given instructions for 2 wks. So then my doc went on spring break, NICE! I have no idea what I should or shouldn't be doing for myself, so I just do a little here and there. Definatley no lifting, I've done some cooking, shopping, kitchen clean up, and laundry is done on my knees. (front loaders). I always need to go back to my recliner for awhile after doing any of it. I don't know if I'm right or wrong, hence, haven't talked to my doc. My surgery was on L4-5. Ihad tremendous pain in my right hip prior to surgery. It was gone immediately, but I still have the shooting pains every where. they're definately getting better. Good luck to you and be sure to open all gates of communication with your surgeon!
  • I think the STD depends on what you do. I drive about 4000 miles a months for sales and have to carry about 20 - 25 lbs of stuff everywhere I go. My surgeon does not want me back until 6 weeks. I am very concerned about how I'm going to do my job since I will not have "lifted" or "carried" anything during this time and would not have been in PT yet. That being said, my surgeon said that often people with desk jobs can safely go back within two weeks as long as there were no complications and they are not driving while taking pain medication. The discharge paperwork that I have clearly states that anyone driving and wearing a neck collar who is in an accident, even one that is not their fault, will be found at fault. There is also the concern of driving and getting in even a minor fender bender if you are not fully fused.
    Age 55
    Herniated L4-5 1992
    DDD diagnosed
    Hysterectomy 2005
    Steven Johnsons Syndrome 2008-09
    Gastroparesis 2009-10
    Right ankle and toe reconstruction 2012
    ACDF C6-7 surgery March 2013
    Stroke? Cancer? MS? Who knows! in inferior cerebellum 2013
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