Will I be able to return to work after L4-S1 fusion

Will I be able to return to work after L4-S1 fusion

10 posts / 0 new
Last post
katie0219
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 2 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 05/11/2011 - 6:14pm
Will I be able to return to work after L4-S1 fusion

I am scheduled for minimally invasive lumbar fusion for L4- S1 through posterior side on May 23. My doctor said I will only have a few 1-2 inch incisions and no muscles will need to be cut. He stated I will be out of work for 12 weeks.

I work as a pediatic occupational therapist with patients with cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, autism, brain tumors, etc. They range in age from newborn to 15. Half of my case load I am very hands on, sometimes having to physically restrain if they are being a danger to them selves or others until they calm, completing hand manipulation, lifting patients on and off of tables, toilets, equipment.

Has anyone had this surgery and been able to return after 12 weeks to a moderatly physical job? just want to know what to expect.

Thank you for any advice, wisdom, experience you may have.

ouch2
ouch2's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 months 6 days ago
Title: Member
Joined: 09/05/2010 - 11:21am
Hi Katie

I want to welcome you here to spine health. In terms of your work, I really don't have an answer for you as I am currently faced with the same situation.

I work in nursing, totally hands on. I just want to get through the surgery, recover, and then I too will be faced with that decision.

Wishing you all the best with your surgery.Please keep us updated on how you make out, pre and post op.

Again welcome, you have come to a wonderful site full of informative caring people.

Hug Karen

Hug Hug : Karen
L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
adr L5-S1 Feb 2012

katie0219
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 2 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 05/11/2011 - 6:14pm
Thank you. I have my pre-op

Thank you. I have my pre-op May 16. I have tried googling, but everything is vague. I keep reading "light duty" or sedentary jobs, but nothing specific about if you have to lift 20-50 pounds and work with patients. I know it takes an entire year to completely fuse, so I just don't want to mess things up if at 12 weeks I go back full time and jump right back in. Right now, I am barely making it through work, and as soon as I get home I take my pain med's and muscle relaxers, put the ice packs on, and barely am able to deal with the pain even then.

ouch2
ouch2's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 months 6 days ago
Title: Member
Joined: 09/05/2010 - 11:21am
For myself

I don't think that I will be able to go back to my regular duties for a year...if ever. I deal with adult patients..lifting, transfers,turning etc. Children would be just as difficult though,due to unpredictablility. I think I will have to decide if I can go back at all after I see how my recovery goes.

I don't know what else I would do though. I love my job.

Does your work offer light duties while you are healing? I know it is tough, but right now hopefully you can try to deal with you, your surgery,taking care of yourself and giving yourself the best opportunity to heal. We only have one back and you want to do everything possible to help fusion after your surgery.Unfortunately when our backs start to go, other levels can follow,this is what I am afraid of with my job.

Try to treat yourself to something nice before surgery.Afterwards take things easy,allowing for fusion to take place. Wishing you painfree/less days ahead and solid fusion.

Hug Karen

Hug Hug : Karen
L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
adr L5-S1 Feb 2012

outofcontrol
outofcontrol's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 6 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 11/18/2010 - 9:47am
Lifting

The 30-50 pound lifting will be difficult for some time. Also, I agree with the kids, especially those with problems, being unpredictable. This will be something that you and your doc will have to discuss and resolve. Everyone is different.

Nursing is also a difficult field. I had some problems with my fusion, and I have not been able to return to nursing. Fortunately, (maybe, maybe not)I am older and don't have too many more years befor I reach retirement age. (although my age may have contributed to the problems with the fusion?!?)

Good luck to both of you.

ouch2
ouch2's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 months 6 days ago
Title: Member
Joined: 09/05/2010 - 11:21am
Hi Katie

Just checking in with you to see how you are doing. You had your fusion on May 23rd, how are you feeling now?

Hope you are doing well. Rest, take it easy. Don't do any BLT.

Let us know when you are able how you are making out. You are in my thoughts.

gentle Hug Karen

Hug Hug : Karen
L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
adr L5-S1 Feb 2012

janiski
janiski's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 months 4 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 09/05/2008 - 3:09pm
Hi Katie

Hope your surgery went well and your recovery is going well also. I was surprised with 12 weeks off work but then you do have a strenuous job. Just be sure to take it easy especially with the lifting. Listen to your doctor and physical therapist. I was able to return to work 3 weeks after a 360 fusion with instrumentation but I was on light duty stuff. I had a 5 level fusion 7 months later and again 3 weeks before I could go back to work. Financially I needed to but would have loved more recovery time. I just had another fusion in march, now I am fused 6 levels and had a lot more problems with this one because of what they found once they go inside. I was off 6 weeks this time. I am lucky as I have 2 seasonal jobs and my surgeries have been during the times I am not doing my strenuous job. I work hard at my core strength and exercises so I can be strong for my job. Good luck and let us know how its going.

Jani

Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from hip, L1/S1 fusion with replacement disc put in and a nice bolt from my spine to my pelvis; PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies. Currently on tramadol.

L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.

katie0219
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 2 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 05/11/2011 - 6:14pm
Update on how I am doing

I had my surgery. I was in the hospital 1 night, and had my staples (all 39) removed within 11 days. I am allowed to pick up a gallon of milk, aprox. 8 lbs. at this time. I can get up and move around with no precautions except listening to my body and pain. I am usually up and about for about 30 minutes to 45 then have to lay down with ice for an hour or so. I am still taking pain meds every 6 hours but nothing to heavy since day 5. I go back mid July for my next check up, and the doctor wants me to be able to walk 1 mile without a break in the next 6 weeks to build up strength. At that time I will start Physical therapy (which will be 8 weeks post op). He still thinks I am good for a 12 week recovery, but i am pretty sure there will be restricitons with how much weight I can lift and how repetitious it is.

I can not imagine going back to my job in another week. I am still oozing some on my incisions, and with having had 10 1" cuts, I would be afraid of how my tissue and muscles, etc would be able to heal properly in such a short amount of time. But it gives me hope that you have been able to return so quickly to a not very physical job, so hopefully I will be ok in 12 weeks.

I will continue to keep posting. thank you all for your support!

janiski
janiski's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 months 4 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 09/05/2008 - 3:09pm
update

Congratulations, the worst is over. But the recovery is hard too. But it does get better. Just take it easy and one day at a time. And keep us posted.

Jani

Spinal stenosis, spondolysis, spondolythesis, L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion with instrumentation and bone graft from hip, L1/S1 fusion with replacement disc put in and a nice bolt from my spine to my pelvis; PT, accupuncture, prolotherapy, many cortisone injections, 4 rhizotomies. Currently on tramadol.

L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.

Elliott
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 2 days ago
Title: Member
Joined: 07/22/2013 - 1:48pm
How are you now, Katie?

I found your question because it is almost the same as my question. I see that it has been two years since you posted it so I hope you now have the answer. I had L5 S1 fusion, but nothing was said about minimally invasive. My incision was about 5 inches long. Other than this we are so similar, and I so want to know the answer to your question. I am an early intervention SLP and I often have to hold or restrain the same kinds of children that you work with. I am self-employed and work in the child's home. There is no light duty in my work. My surgery was about one month ago. I am so anxious to know if you were able to return to work.