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List of Back issues-like most of us-

dmvmom52ddmvmom52 Posts: 3
edited 09/22/2013 - 7:20 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hello, I'm a newbie! I have been reading posts here off and on for two years, and the information has been much appreciated. Last week, after dealing with the pain and discomfort for a good five years, I scheduled a L4-5 Fusion for early November. My primary concern is returning to work: I cannot be off more than 4-5 weeks, because I have two children in college.
I have been told that recovery can be really tough. How tough?
And-any back brace I wear to work cannot be visible from underneath my clothing. I have found a few braces made for smaller females (I am 5'2, 135 lbs) but my doctor is concerned that anything flat to my back will not be as solid as those monstrosities some surgeons try to force patients to purchase.

Any suggestions? Advice?
Christina Carpanzano


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  • What type of job do you have? If you have a job that demands any kind physical labor returning to work probably won't be in the picture at 4-5 weeks. They're a few on this forum that have returned to work in the amount of time, but the majority of us were off work at least 3 months before returning. You cannot bend, lift, or twist for three months after a fusion surgery.
    Discectomies 05/08 and 04/11, fusions L4-5 Feb 9,2012 and L3-L4 June 28,2012, Staph infection washout 3/2/2012, Bulged L5-S1. SCS trial on January 17th, 2014, which was a success! Permanent SCS on February 20th.
  • Some neurosurgeons are starting to move away from braces with the thought that if they put in rods and screws, that's enough internal bracing, and anything external is not needed, so check with them to see if they're putting in "instrumentation" or not and to clarify their opinions on corsets/braces. After my L4-L5-S1 fusion, I wore the corset to go home, and never again.

    Four to five weeks is an adventurous recovery schedule. Probably not impossible, if your occupation is appropriate, but that's a conversation with your doctor. One acquaintance of mine was back on stage as a comic in three weeks, but holding a mike and walking around on stage or leaning on a stool is a far cry from something like being a carpenter or sitting and staring at a computer for eight hours a day.
    August 2013 C7-T1 MED
    July 2013 L4-L5-S1 TLIF
    December 2011 C5-C6 ADR
    April 2009 L5-S1 MED
  • AllieO2000AAllieO2000 Posts: 49
    edited 09/23/2013 - 3:13 PM
    dmvmom52, I had the same surgery and waited 2.5 months before returning. You need to be able to rotate sitting and standing, keep an ice pack available (if possible), and rest immediately after you get home. Put everyone else at home to work in exchange for your devotion. I hope you have a short and smooth commute as traveling can be your worst enemy from the jostling. Keep doing your exercises. If you have a break room, go in there and lie down on an ice pack during breaks. That takes a lot of pressure off your spine. Otherwise, and again if possible, go lay on the backseat of your car with the ice pack. Every week, things should get better. Just hang in there.
  • The biggest piece of advice I can offer is listen to your doctor and your body. If your doctor says you can go back to work in that time frame, and you aren't miserable doing so - then it's realistic. If your doctor says no, I would listen to him. If he says you can try, and your body goes into full revolt I would listen to your body. I think the risk would outweigh any argument against your doc's instructions. The last thing I think you would want is ending up back at square one, needing another surgery - or worse. I know it's tough, but you are no good to your family if you hurt yourself worse after surgery. The only other thing I can do for you is to send good mojo your way in hopes that things work out the way they should.

    Up coming Lumbar Fusion at L4/L5

    My blog: livingbendy.com
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