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How long have you been/were you out of work after surgery?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,550
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi Everyone,

I'm new here and found this site when researching my back issues. I had an L4/L5 Microdiscectomy on March 12th.

Was completely out of work for the first week and then worked from home for the second and third. I then went back the first two days for half of each. Just started back full time yesterday and I’m very concerned because I’m having a tremendous amount of pain in my sciatic nerve areas (left side of my body), which was the whole reason I had surgery in the first place. I felt like things were going well when I was resting and not sitting for most of the day (with a long walk per day) but I feel like one day of sitting all day just erased all of my progress.

Needless to say I am very concerned that one day of sitting made me feel this way. Not sure if I came back too soon! But just curious how long others have been out of work for similar procedures?

I know it will vary but if you get a chance please post how long you were/have been out of work.

Thanks again and glad to be a part of the group!


  • I had 2 levels done though also and a setback as well. You really shouldn't be sitting much right now IMO. That is the absolute worst position for your lower back so try not to do that for awhile yet if you can.

    I think an MRI should be standard at 2 months Post-op anyway to make sure we didn't screw anything up. Fusion patients get an xray. Not fair! If only it was MY world...LOL!
  • to the surgery & activity orders after surgery vary from doc to doc but sitting constantly without getting up every hour or so is too long. You may have already been doing this I am assuming not from the post but if you did then I would discuss the matter with your doc and go from there, you may need more time at home...

    welcome to the boards and good luck!!!!
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  • I had a L5/S1 Dysnes syestem put in on June 13th of last year and i was out of work for 6 weeks. I am going in on the 15th of this month to have that removed and have a total fusion with rods installed. The Doc told me that i would be out of work for a minimum of 6-8 weeks this time. It really does vary from person to person and how well they heal up.

  • Thanks for the quick replies. Hopefully a few more people will chime in!!

    I'm just a little concerned because in this economy I don't want to do anything that will cause me to lose my job in the future. I love my job but it depends heavily on me producing and in the condition I'm in I don't know that can be as effective as I need to be. I am constantly thinking about my pains because I have no choice and it's naturally impacting what I'm able to do at work. Hopefully the man upstairs gives me the assist on this one! Thanks again for the replies!
  • Hello there. I too had a l4/l5 discectomy on March 12th!

    My summary so far:
    Days 1-13: Perfect. No nerve pains, minimal incision pain for 3 days. Walked great and was on top of the world. Went back to working from home (lying down on side with a laptop) Day 4. Still have not driven into work (40 mile drive from NH to Boston) and am working from home still today.
    Day 14: Arched my back and felt "it" (The hip/butt/calf/ankle pain) again. Was the day of my 2 week followup and he said I just moved in a way that irritated the nerve and it will take months for the nerve to heal.. It was expected and will slow down.
    Days 14-17: lil nerve twitches but nothing too bad.
    Days 18-22: Felt great. Ready to go back into the office Monday!
    Day 23: lifted my 40 lb daughter. Back pain, soreness, lil nerve twitch by evening.
    Day 24 (Sunday): Still lil back ache and nerve irritation down leg. I was able to drive 1 hour, sit thru a 2 hour play, then sit for a supper and drive back. Minimal pain - taking Aleve.
    Day 25 (Monday): Nerve pain worsening. NOT going into the office today. When I tighten my abs I feel it. When I lift something light i feel it. Worried I re herniated and called the doc. Seeing him tomorrow (which is now today at 1 EDT)
    Day 26 (Today): Not too bad, lil nerve twinge on the walk and the general "tourniquet on my leg" feeling from the butt nerve pain/hotness.
    So... today I go and ask if i re herniated the disc. I am hoping its inflammation dn not a re herniation and a steroid helps me get thru this episode.

    I have sent you a private message with my info - let's chat and comisserate with each other. I too was same l4/l5, same day, same side, everything!
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  • PS - My surgeon is supposed to be one of the best. He did back surgery on other doctors I know with great success. He also did brain surgery for Parkinsons on Michael J Fox and Annette Fonacello. I trust him totally and will be sure to post what he has to say after we meet this afternoon.
  • First time I had microdiscectomy I was given 4 weeks to recover. Then, I had repeat microD. And now I am not released to work for another 4-6 weeks.
    So I guess I will be out of 10weeks total.

    I don't think you can lose your job because of a medical problem. At least for a short duration. Do you feel comfortable asking your HR person?
  • I did the FMLA (Family and Medical leave act) which is good for 3 months.

    If you work for a good employer they shouldnt fire you so long as you can return back to normal functions.

    I should be able to return after April 24th, my surgeon said he would release me then, which will make it 3 months post op a 3 level fusion to return to work.

    I have been out of work now for 4months but luckily my CNO/DON both said I could take medical leave of absence now that my FMLA ran. (good for an additional 2 months).
  • I am due to have a fusion in May and the surgeon has informed me that I won't be returning to work for at least three months (part time) and six months (full time)
  • Thinks I have nerve irritation but NOT nerve compression. That means he thinks the disc held from my 'accident' Sat. He gave me a steroid for 6 days and thinks I will be fine.
    Thank the Lord!
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