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travel after back surgery

I'm having an L4-5 microdisectomy and lamenotomy on September 17th. I have a family event on the 21st in Virginia and I was wondering if I would be ok to travel that soon after surgery. I plan on asking on the 10th when I go to my pre-surgical appointment, but just wanted some opinions. This drive is about 2 hours each way, I will NOT be driving, just a passenger.



  • You need to discuss that with your surgeon. We really can't advise you . The surgeon may or may not allow you to travel, depending on the surgery, how extensive it was and your recovery progress post op.
  • Thanks what I was thinking. I'm just trying to get some advise and plan out the next few weeks and months the best that I can.
    Thanks again
  • and you may not. And some surgeons will be okay with it, while others may not, especially so soon after surgery.
    It really depends. One thing that I will suggest is that if the surgeon tells you it's okay to go, that you make sure to stop on the trip every two hours or so, just to walk around for a bit, and to give your muscles a break, because you will be sore.....and a pillow behind your back is a good idea.......
  • For me I had surgery on L2-L5. In that short time frame there is no way that I could have taken a trip. I was barely home from the hospital and could not even sit up in bed on my own. That was my procedure. Your procedure may not be as severe, but you will need to talk to your doctor about that. My guess is that 5 days after surgery, you will not want to go anywhere.
  • Each surgeon will have their own list of do's & dont's. My surgeon was quite strict with sitting. He allowed me no more than 15minutes at a time for the first 6 weeks after my discectomies. This round (a TLIF) I can sit to comfort. I know that I didn't feel like sitting much for at least the first few weeks.

    Microdiscectomy L5S1 January 2014
    Microdiscectomy L5S1 March 2014
    Fusion L5S1 11th August 2014
  • Riding in the car isn't the only thing to consider. When you get to your event, what activities are you going to be doing? Is there a place for you to be able to sit or lay down if needed?

    From a personal perspective, I probably wouldn't try it so close to the procedure.
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • Hi Dealynn

    I had similar surgery on July 14th and 4 days after surgery there was no way I could endure a trip of that duration, much less function at a wedding (standing,sitting, dancing, etc.). I did attend my nephews wedding (which was a 2 hr flight both ways) 3.5 weeks after my surgery and the traveling and sitting in the church and grinding through the reception was absolutely brutal. Check with your Doc, I was advised not to drive for 2 weeks (and be off pain meds) and not to fly for 3 weeks. I'm 6+ weeks post surgery and I still am challenged with traveling certain distances.
  • Will you be sitting or can you lay down in the back seat?

    I remember my first surgery; I could make a trip but after the second surgery, there was no way I could have traveled anywhere.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • Surgery last Thursday - discharged MOnday about an hour and 15 to get home. Was told I had to stop halfway and get out for 15 minutes. Brought extra pillows to cushion me and survived trip though parts were tough. Already thinking about DR's appt in December minimum 3 hours by car or 4 by train. I am asking my doc when I go for 6 week visit what he thn
    iks I should do about that one. Right now it is hard to imagine being able to tolerate.
  • Thanks all. I'm asking my dr when I go for preop education session on the 10th. It is a christening, and there would be places to lay down after. I'm only going to go if doc gi es me the green light.
  • Just ensure your family understands that you will have to go at your own pace. Don't try rushing anything or you may cause yourself pain.
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
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