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Back to work after discectomy

I am new to this board and was wondering some peoples opinions. I had a work accident back in march of 2012 after slipping on oil and falling out of a 6 ton truck. I since have had a hip arthoscopy, along with microfracture. And just a week a go had a dscectomy of l4-l5. I have 2 jobs that are both heavy labor demanding jobs. The first is my summer job which is roofing. I carry 100+ pounds up ladders along with on pitched roofs and am physically working all day. My second job is in the winter which I work for the state full time as a highway maintainer. We use heavy equipment, do sewer repairs, pothole patch, road breakouts, truck maintance on plow equipment, etc. We also snow plow 12+ hours when necassary for numerous nights in 6 ton trucks which is pretty tough on the back with all the bouncing. My question is, do you think its possible in my future to return to these previous jobs, or should I start preparing my self for some less physical work. I am 38 and love what I do, but sometimes you have to face reality. I know my surgeon will have the final call, but does anyone know of people who have returned from these types of injuries and had success? Thank you for your time


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • kbiggerkkbigger Posts: 22
    edited 02/08/2014 - 2:03 PM
    Thanks for the welcome
  • zinnia59zzinnia59 Posts: 20
    edited 02/09/2014 - 5:22 PM
    I had the same surgery three weeks ago. I am wondering if I can ever lift my grandchildren again. I wish I had an answer for you, but if I were to guess, I would think your job may be a tough one to handle with your back history. How is your pain at this point?
  • Right now I am on norco 10-500 along with 5mg valium which seems to hold down the pain for the most part. I do have some of the same pain I had before the surgery, but I can definetly feel a difference in the leg. My back itself is still really sore from the surgery, and I could tell that my back pain is still there. I am hoping within another week I will start seeing some real improvement. Sitting is tolerable for about 15 minutes or so. I try and get up and about as much as I can but get tired and sleep a lot still. Where are you at 3 weeks out?
  • Hi kbigger...
    I am 4 weeks post-op now. I don't need my Norco during the day anymore, take only half at night if I am restless. I get muscle spasms and some nerve pain if I do too much. All in all, I am back to my daily routine minus the job I had to give up to have the surgery. (had no sick leave benefit). I have some numbness in my foot, but am very grateful to be free of the electric shocks and leg pain I had before the surgery. I never thought I would say this a month ago, but I am happy I had the surgery. It just takes time. You'll feel better emotionally if you don't expect too much too soon.
  • Hello i am 9 weeks post microdisectomy and i also work a heavy job with lots of stooping bending and driving. I'm sitting here wondering the same things you are. Even if i feel that i can't try and do it again would it be worth it 1 year from now when I'm back in the same place with probably worse systems as the first time. I'm in my mid 30 s and still want to be able to walk in my 50 s so I'm starting to lean towards a job with no back stress involved so I can try and rehabilitate and strengthen what back i have left . This scare the snot out of me because I'm not the type of person to be stuck in front of a computer working I the same building for 8 hrs a day. I'd rather die but what choice do we have. I have a family to look after.
  • I've had the same concerns about my line of work that is physically demanding. I've had 2 back surgeries, with a 3rd foreseen in the future. My situation is a bit different but my Doc told me that going back to my current job puts me at a much higher risk for recurring back issues. My employer has been amazing and I like what I do. The goal for me is to return to work while following my restrictions as much as I can. Being aware of how you move, lift, etc is very important. Take small breaks if needed (which is difficult in my line of work). I plan to listen to my body, and if it's too much, then another line of work may be the only option. See what your Doc says and good luck!
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • justinjjustin Posts: 39
    edited 02/18/2014 - 3:25 AM
    Yup I'm a furnace and air conditioner journeyman so I believe my work restrictions would have me be with another guy who does all the work while I sand my fingernails. This could be a great thing to be completely honest I actually might look forward to my new restrictions lol. Your doctor will protect you just follow his every move
  • Wow, really great to hear from other people in my situation. Where the injuries you guys sustained do to a work injury? I am not to sure how exactly my work goes about things, but I believe its full duty or you can not return. (the job I injured myself at). And like you Justin, I am afraid of what a year from now brings me if I go back full duty without restrictions. I am even more afraid if it happens at my summer job instead of the one I originally hurt myself at. I also have always been an outdoors working guy and can not imagine changing to a job inside 8 hours a day....Plus I dont know how I would be able to take such a pay cut from what I am making doing heavy labor. Getting hurt is a life changing thing, thats for sure.
  • zniaa59, I think I am gonna be happy with the outcome too when all is said and done as far as getting my life back. Work is still the big question mark. Glad you are doing better. I still need 4-5 norcos a day or I am very uncomfortable. Makes you so damn drowsy at times though!
  • You shouldn't worry about a pay cut if your unable to make what you did pre injury workers comp is obligated to supplement the remainder by law
  • Just make sure your working with your doctor and the reason your making less money is ultimately because of your work restrictions
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