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Working long term

I'm worried that eventually I will become disabled and require Social Security. IF they fuse my neck, will I have a chance to go back to work. I'm 51 and wanted to get to retirement age. I fear that might not happen.


  • On what kind of job you have. And what they end up doing to your neck. Ask the doctor what they recommend. They need to be behind you if they think disability.
  • I am an insurance adjuster. It's pretty hard, in the field and in office. I may need a fusion if I don't get better
    I have seen two of your post and will just answer here from my experience.
    First off if you need a ACDF it's the one surgery that is pretty easy to recover from and if no permanent damage was done it has a high rate of good recovery.
    In my case I waited to long, not by choice but by not knowing I had a cervical issue.
    After my ACDF at C5/6/7 we then found I had cord damage from the compression on the cord. Even with all of that and a second surgery to give the cord more room I have to deal with a list of issues from the cord damage. In addition I have some pretty bad lumbar issues too.
    Don't stress on needing a ACDF. Watch the Denver Broncos play football Manning had his done and look at what he can do. Keep in mind every surgery is different but waiting to long in my opinion can cause non reversible damage.
    I don't know what level your having done or if it's several. It may or may not stop any pain your having now but it can stop the progression that can effect any and everything below the level being done. Some people get great results and have no issues after this surgery.

    I would get a second opinion just to make sure it's the right thing to do and make your decision on how you want to go about it.
    In my opinion once the.cord is involved we have no choice. They have no fixes for the cord damage. I will deal with that the rest of my life.

    ACDF at most levels.can be done has a out patient with no problems.coming up during surgery. The recovery is a very quick one with no complications. Has always there are risk but rare for this surgery. I would and did use a donor bone to save cutting my hip.
    Most important is that the surgeon does a lot of this and knows what he is doing. Make sure he is experienced and has happy patients.

    Any questions please ask. I believe in the old gold standard way of doing fusions. I have seen to many new procedures being corrected years later. Just my thoughts.
    With a good surgeon and a good fusion you should be able to return to work feeling much better then now.
    I was a general building contractor and did fire and water restoration. I miss it
    That job had some.satisfaction getting people back into their homes and getting commercial property open again. I would give anything if I could do that hard and dirty work again.

    You have a really good chance to be normal again if this is done before nerve or cord damage is done. Then again does doctor feel you can wait with out doing more damage?

    Maybe I get your case wrong but it sounds like maybe they caught you early enough for a better turn out.

    Good Luck
  • I'm 49 had surgeries in 08 C 6-7 and 09 C 5-6, unfortunately I have perm. cord damage. I have been let go from 3 jobs due to my issues, seems employers find me to be a liability and do not wish to take the risks. Afraid I will slip and fall, or anything that may increase the chance of a comp. claim. The only work I've been able to keep is working for cash part time, simply not able to work full time, due to the aggravation it causes to the nerves, I need 2-4 days to recover from one 8 hour day. I filed for SSI, was a stay at home mom for 14 years, so have not enough credits built up for disability, back in 2011, was denied and appealed, have attorney now, so just hoping for the best now. Be careful, do not let anyone know at work that you have any issues, hide your pain if you have any, if you can and if not blame your cringing on something else, belly ache, headache, cramp anything but neck or nerve pain, if your not a contracted employee be very careful, employers need no reason to let an employee go, they can lay you off or let you go any time they please for any reason, just too many younger, healthy people to take your place, then your SOL. save all you can to survive the long wait of Social Security or you can lose everything you've worked for, you'll find yourself with no job, no house, no friends, your spouse, if you have one will even rethink their options, no insurance and even family will keep their distance. Voice of experience, not true for all, but it's where I've found myself to be. Broken, no answers, alone and in pain.
    Like an above responder replied, don't let the damage go beyond repair, I've heard of many success stories, no issues after surgery, educate yourself and ask Docs a lot of questions and get definitive answers. No person is a text book, there are no set outcomes for us, the nervous system is so very complex and we have no way of knowing what exactly will come from spinal surgery. My outcome is not average, many factors have played out, I do think if I had my surgery the day I went to the ER it may have been better, but Doc left me walking around on morphine pump for a week before doing my surgery and I believe that is why I'm having so many issues today, it's just not anything that can be proven.
  • Thanks Rick and Jump. They have a protocol to follow I'm sure you guys are aware of. I'm in the PT stage now, then the shots then when I deteriorate, surgery. Which may be too late nerve wise, like you said. But neuro won't see me yet because as they say, I'm not a candidate for surgery yet. And surgery by the way, the idea of a fusion on a couple of levels scares the living daylights out of me
  • Not sure they can do much anyway. Watch me fall apart then tack me back together in places. Sometimes I don't know what to believe.
  • RangerRRanger on da rangePosts: 805
    hey NJDan,
    I've had a 360 degree cervical fusion done in 2007, been back to work and I have a physically demanding job working long hours. I also work out at a gym a minimum of 6 days per week, 1.5 to 2 hours of either weights, cardio, etc... Not doing olympic lifts and heavy overhead lifts but I do it more for lean muscle. It helps me recover from surgeries, which I'm having more cervical levels fused in 2014. And yes, I plan to go back to work doing the very same I'm doing right now.
    You can do it too!
  • Thanks Ranger. That gives me hope
  • My surgeon said I can work from home (computer work) at 2 to 3 weeks post op and that most of his cervical patients are back at work full time when the collar comes off at 6 weeks. I plan on doing at least part time tele-work from home before I transition back to driving 20 miles to work so I can guage when it will be feasible to come back full time. I have had fear of not being able to work for years which has lead me to put off the inevitable, but once would have been a single or double fusion is now a triple header and like many no guarantee of pain relief just stabilizing to prevent further pemanent damage. Good luck on your spinal journey...
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • This question is decided by so can't issues. What surgery was done. How much damage was done and how good a recovery one has. Watch Denver play football. Their quarterback had a fusion and a few more.cervical surgeries. This week in the last game he.broke the record for the most touchdowns in a season. He has had his best year and one year better then every other quarterback. So the answer is yes we can return to work and do well depending on what we had done and by the results of the surgery. I also.strongly believe the skill of our surgeons plays a big part in how we recover. Check your surgeons out well and. Not do off label procedures unless there is no other way. Learn what the old golden standard of.css is and follow.that if you can. Our lives depend on this.

    Good luck to you all and I hope everyone has a great Christmas and that the new year brings in the best year we have ever had.

    Take care

    Always think positive the mind does wonders when needed.
  • Everyone, but lately, I have been getting tingles in my legs. SO I may have damage elsewhere as well
  • Tingling in the legs can be caused by many, many things, so don't jump automatically to the conclusion that it is spine related, it could be from sitting too long in the same position or from laying down too much and being in the same position for too long.
    If it is a lumbar problem, there are many types of treatments, not all needing to include surgery to treat, and even if it does require surgery, there are minimally invasive ones that are little more than a bandaid to cover the site, and have a far easier recovery than you can imagine..........Take one step at a time and don't set your self up to have a bad outcome.
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