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Back to work---troubles

sinatrafan44ssinatrafan44 Posts: 64
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:34 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi..For the past two weeks I have gradually upped my work hours so that I am now practically at 6-8 hours/day...I had an ACDF C5-7 on 6/9/09 and took almost two months off...Had some complications with a MRSA staph infection on the incision and antibiotics that made me sick, but the neck was feeling pretty good..I was even down to maybe 5-10mg of oxycodone a day..Well with the work has come the PAIN,and with a vengeance..Shoulder pain, neck stiffness, muscle spasms, and arm pain..I work at a BIG University and the students come back next week...We are down 2 staff and no options but to work 40 hours plus..I am doing therapy 2x week but even had to cancel earlier this week because i just couldn;t do it.I am afraid about a lot of things...Can this hurt my fusion? Will upping my pain meds again cause big issues? Am I just early in the recovery and this would be normal? Would a neck brace be advisable... Thanks for any advice you might have..I just fell like the hurricane is approaching and I am just not ready:) Amy


  • Hi Amy!

    How far along are you with your fusion? I"ve been told it can take 3 months to 2 years to fuse. You're close to 3 months now. Have you talked to your doctor? Those questions would probably be best answered by your doctor. Each person is different.

    I'm at 3 weeks and haven't taken any pain pills since the first week. I take Tylenol when I get spasms. My bone stimulator brings those on. I had a 3 level fusion.

    Why are you down 2 staff? I would do stuff like that in the past, work when I shouldn't but not on this surgery. I hear the redo is tougher than the original.

    Is your office set up ergonomically so your computer time is not tearing you up? I'm a fitness/martial art instructor and have dealt with my injury for 17 years. I took time off and was doing lots of computer work. The computer work pushed me into having to have surgery. It can be tougher on your body than crazy sports. My office got set up and I made a vow to get up every 15 minutes to take the stress of my neck.

    Hope you work this out soon

  • I also work at a large University. You did well to have the ergonomics people come in. Do you do much talking on the phone? You don't cradle the phone in your neck and write at the same time, do you? Can you get a headset if you're on the phone much? Another thing you may want for your chair is a Back Joy. My cousin (a nurse) recommended this to me. I thought it looked like a relatively worthless piece of equipment -- it's just a little scoop that you put your butt in when you're sitting in your chair. You sit in it, and then scoot back as far as you can in your chair. It helps to keep you properly upright, improving your posture so that you don't slouch and hurt your spine. I am amazed at the relief it has given me. You can google Back Joy on your computer and you'll see videos about how they work. You can now buy them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. If you get those 20% off coupons, they aren't too bad (normal price is about $49). Worth every darn penny. It's the only way I can make the 2-hour drive to see my surgeon!


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
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  • I had the same levels done as you one day earlier (June 8) . Until yesterday I had a return of pain for 10 days that equaled my pre surgery level. It started dropping yesterday, possibly because I changes pain meds. When I was asked by the MD what I had done different to cause it I could not recall anything, but later I thought of a few things that could have contributed. Today I will start keeping a diary of my daily activities, because I think the better you feel the more you forget what you can't be doing. In my case I have to limit use of my right arm but I am right handed so I slip back into doing things with the right if I don't concentrate. I am also back to work, because I have to be, but if gets intolerable I'll be off again with no pay.
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