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Return to work?

Jennifer P.JJennifer P. Posts: 13
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:41 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Just wondering how long the normal recovery is from spinal fusion surgery?
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1

Comments

  • Hi Jen

    Welcome to spine-health. That's a pretty general question. Which levels are you having fused and are there any other problems past or present? The more info you can share the better the responses will be.
  • I'm seeing my doctor on Monday to schedule the surgery for the fusion...it will be L5 S1 that's going to be fused. I was diagnosed with 2 herniated discs in 2000 and had my 1st surgery in January 2001 when L4 blew. Since then, the remaining disc has degenerated and now after 10 years, I'm finally having my 2nd surgery.

    This all started in 1994 when I was pregnant with my 1st son. He laid on my spine the wrong way during my pregnancy, and over the years developed into this.

    Thanks.







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  • I'm seeing my doctor on Monday to schedule the surgery for the fusion...it will be L5 S1 that's going to be fused. I was diagnosed with 2 herniated discs in 2000 and had my 1st surgery in January 2001 when L4 blew. Since then, the remaining disc has degenerated and now after 10 years, I'm finally having my 2nd surgery.

    This all started in 1994 when I was pregnant with my 1st son. He laid on my spine the wrong way during my pregnancy, and over the years developed into this.

    Thanks.







  • Jennifer, as well as what Kris suggested, I'd ask what kind of work you do. Physical or sedentary? Are you able to take breaks or change your physical position if you need to?

    My case goes kind of like this:(Remember, your results may vary) I'm three months into a PLIF L5/S1 fusion w/instrumentation. I am doing well from the surgery, but the doc (and everywhere else you read) says it'll be 9 months to a year before I can resume things as hard as I did before. Long and short of it appears to be that for lumbar fusion, anyhow, there can be a significant time before you go back to full time work.

    Holler back,
    Aaron
  • Aaron,

    I actually work 2 jobs...my day job is as an assistant property manager of an apartment complex...so I'm pretty much in front of a computer all day. It's just myself and the manager in the office, so I pretty much handle all office duties, inspect apartments prior to a new move in and give tours to prospective tenants. I have a really great boss who knows back pain too, so he generally makes sure that I don't do anything that is going to aggravate or irritate my back even more.

    My night job is also in front of computer...I'm a load planner for a package distribution company. Working with a computer program, it's up to me how the airplane is physically loaded outside with the packages that we are shipping.

    So with both jobs, I'm pretty much sitting in front of a computer. I don't do any heavy lifting at either job, so I don't have to worry about that.

    Thanks for the advise.
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  • Those jobs are good as long as you can take breaks to move around. Sounds like the day job should be no problem. How is your night supervisor?

    Another consideration is how far you drive to work. Many people have a hard time in the car for long periods of time.
  • My night job is great too. I work with 2 other women who are also load planners, and have several supervisors and managers. All of them are great. My immediate manager has already told me..."anything you need, just ask". It's only for about 4 hours at night, but can sometime be longer depending on if there are any problems with any delays. I live about 10 minutes from my day job, and about 15 minutes from my night job.

    I'll definitely be asking my doctor on Monday when I see him how long I'll be out for, but I was just hoping to get a general idea from other people's personal experiences. From looking online at everything I found out about spinal fusion, (all the technical stuff) I wasn't expecting it to be so long.
  • Make sure to ask your Dr on Monday about limitations on sitting. I had a two level PLIF and wasnt able to sit only to eat or bathroom. It might be something you have to address. When you get back you might have to stand to do computer work or something. Just wanted you to discuss it with your Dr so there are no surpises after surgery.
    Good Luck and I will be watching to see when you have it and how you get along. Robin
  • Jennifer:

    It depends on what kind of fusion you get. I got the ALIF thru my stomach on L5-S1 mainly because you can heal the fastest that way because they don't cut the back muscles. PLIFS take longer because of the back muscles, you would have to talk to your doctor to see. I had my fusion done 10 days ago and I'm trying to go back to work at a little over 4 weeks. I got a desk job too. My doctor said I could, he said 4-6 weeks is optimal for one level, but its depends on the person and how many levels are being done.
  • Everyone and every surgery is different. I had a microD etc at T1/2 5 weeks ago through the back of my neck. I was back at work 3 weeks later.

    I think attitude is the biggest factor. Then comes injury, overall health and complications. Whatever you do you have to listen to your body.

    Sounds like you have great bosses. Keep the standing in mind. Shouldn't be too hard to make that kind of change at work if necessary. I know my bosses would do anything they possibly could for me and it has made everything so much easier.
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