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Back to work issues

charryccharry Posts: 5,660
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Lower Back Pain
Hi Did anyone go back to work and then only reinjure? How can you be sure you're ready to get back to work? Charry
DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN


  • surgery? Are you better than you were before you stopped working? Are you able to try part time at first just to see if you are ready?
  • I haven't had surgery yet. I have to get a second opinion ortho in January. Another epi next week #3. I just got disability I can't go back now. I have 24 months before I lose my job. Off since February. I don't know if I'll ever go back. :( Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
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  • 24 months is great. Sounds like you have a great policy that really gives you time to heal without stressing you out about losing your job. I know that you are not in the USA.
  • I haven't had a choice about going back to work. I have a job that varies my desk time and my up and about time and it is not strenuous. I have been battling surgeries for back, neck, knees and ankle during all of this and haven't missed more than three months. So...I find for me that work takes my mind off the pain and gets me out with others. I like the change of pace. Reinjury in my mind can happen when you are in the bath tub or bed so for me it really hasn't been an issue that way either. I find I am prone to push myself too much but then I have enjoyed the past few years despite the surgeries, blown discs and pain.

    You will find a good balance for yourself.

  • Charry,
    In reality you don’t know the effect until you try and sometimes your status is defined by this attempt and you can be confused in attempting to work and not being able to do so, which can be so upsetting.

    Some of this is about acclimatisation returning back into the work environment and for ever concerned for your spine as a consequence. For me that lengthy down time off work I used to my advantaged and we all or should have some trepidation returning and continuing and this is normal. For me I had to change the type of work I was not able to do and this took some adaptation, who knows if you can do the same job only trial and error will give you some clarification.

    Even though you feel able to go to work, sustaining that effort while in pain is another element to deal with and understandably changes our attitude and capacity to function as we would like, take into the workplace and employers need to adapt to our new us, be honest with yourself and them. Returning to some employment whatever that is should be encouraged though close support and tentative progression, it is easy to become depressed about the future and who you are and your social status should any imposed incapacity restrict inclusion and interaction and even trying should be applauded.

    Going back is a leap of faith and some setbacks will be included in this process, be kind to yourself and realistic review how you are doing and recognise what you are achieving and where you have come from. As mentioned perhaps you could do some voluntary work for an afternoon and see how it goes, are you going back to the same job. Make a plan and evaluate you options as you go, change the things you can do to help you as the others are more difficult, wanting to go back is half the task now it is just the doing. The more you adapt back into the workplace the more those worries of potential imminent concern will reduce, they never go away totally. Take care and well done you, many are working towards your goal also.


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  • :) sometimes fear of reinjury holds us back from trying work of any kind. ~X( this includes volunteer work as a way to feel good about ourselves. it is a good test to see just how the work environment is going to affect us. sometimes we can overlook the physical pain when our spirits are lifted. this is why volunteer work can be so important to us. <:P many times we feel less than other people and one reason is because we cannot work. taking a few hours a week and trying out "work" in a volunteer situation can sometimes save us from permanent damage, this includes our spirits and our backs!! Jenny :)
  • Hi Charry -
    Like Gary, I have a desk job and little physical strain so going back to work was not a strain and really I had no choice.

    What I did need to do - was to re-program myself to stop absorbing stress from the world around me. Stop taking it personally when a coworker forgot to do something that impacted my work. Stop getting upset or angry if deadlines were not met, emails not answered, deliverables not followed up on, etc. Sounds silly, right? But when you take your work to heart, you may find it becomes a part of you, and the stress becomes a part of you. In my case, it impacted my physical health.

    After my discectomy I was really good about keeping work at work and not absorbing the stress, but I have allowed myself to slide back into old habits. This may not be an issue for you, I just put it out there as something to consider in case it is a pattern for you too.
    Jan 2009 L5-S1 ALIF
    May 2017 ALIF L4-L5 with PLF rods added L4-L5-S1
  • I don't know if I'll ever be able to do my part-time job again. I work as a part-time manager for a paintball pro shop. Fortunately, my husband also works part time for the same company and covers my hours so we don't lose money.

    My situation is will I be able to finish my degree. I'm almost ready to student teach and become an elementary school teacher. IDK if I can do it or not. I'm talking to my PM at the next appt.

    Hope things work out for you Charry!
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