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Driving at 3 weeks?

happyHBmomhhappyHBmom Posts: 2,070
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:48 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Didn't most of you say that you were given 4 or 5 weeks off of driving with major lumbar surgery? My doctor said 2 or 3 for me. He is such an optimist, but it would be awesome!

He thinks I'll be back to the majority of my regular activities within 4 weeks or so, obviously with continued improvement after that. My regular activities don't include much of anything except driving my kids to school, so anything after that is icing ;) It's like I'm "well" in 4 weeks and then get "better than well" after that.

He's sure that relieving the thecal pressure is going to make this huge difference that he thinks it's going to in some ways balance my recovery process.


  • My surgeon gave me the all clear to drive at 10 days, when he took my staples out. He is a great optimist too!

    Even my other doctor told me that the surgeon would tell me that it would take 3 months to recover from this surgery, where as she would say 6 months.

    Needless to say, I didn't drive until about 5 weeks. Up until then, I would have found the turning to look behind me when reversing, too painful. (I do have a stiff neck, so perhaps that made it more difficult for me.)

  • I was given the green light to drive at my first post op visit which was about day 10!

    At best, it was very optimistic, there was no way I was ready! I had a ton of pain and was on many meds.

    I started driving to PT and back (which was close to my home)out of necessity at about 6 weeks and on the freeways at about 14 weeks!

    Wishing you the best!
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  • Happy,

    Perhaps surgeon is a bit optimistic, you will know when your ready, even if says your ready, if you are not, then your not. If you are, then great!

    I'm still not driving, tomorrow will be 10 weeks. I am in way too much pain,my legs are weak and unstable and often go numb. This combined with my heavy narcotic pain meds, I don't think it is safe for me to be behind the wheel.

    I wouldn't want to be near anyone like me on the road..:..LOL!

    I leave the driving to my chauffeur, my Hubby.

    Driving is a huge step in one's recovery, you become independent again! Great feeling.

    So.... my point is simple, when you are physically & mentally ready, you'll know. At that point buckle up & enjoy.

    Wishing you much success for a speedy recovery!

  • Optimistic but I hope it's true for you.

    For Microdiscectomy, I wasn't allowed to drive until 2 weeks post op -> needed to be sure incision was closed and I was off prescription drugs.

    For 2nd MicroDiscectomy (Revision) -> he told me to stay out of the car as much as possible and preferred no driving for 6 weeks to give me the best chance possible of not reherniating again.

    Honestly, being a passenger is quite different than driving. Driving had me twisting more than I expected on turns, etc. I'm glad on 2nd surgery I held off for 6 weeks. I felt more confident behind the wheel.

    Good luck! I hope you have a 2 week speedy recovery!
  • I wasn't given a time that I could start driving--when I asked what I would be able to do after surgery, my surgeon said "pretty much whatever you want to do". I started driving around day 10 but made sure the concentration of drugs in my system was low whenever I did go out, and then it was only for essential errands. I went off the oxy at 2 1/2 weeks (am taking hydrocodone) and that made the driving much easier. I still make sure my mind is clear before going out, however.

    As for resuming normal activities at 4 weeks, I would say that's exactly where I'm at. If I wasn't required to wear this rigid brace when I'm "out and about" I think nobody would be able to tell that I've just had major back surgery, I feel that good. :)

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
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  • 3 weeks sounds great!! I haven't had back surgery yet - in the next year, yup... For my cervicals, I didn't drive for like 6 weeks. I think it was a mix between the medications, and pain when turning my head. I hope you are back on the road that fast! *HUGZ*

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I will be in a brace, but I'm not sure if it will be a hard brace or my aspen brace. Hopefully a hard brace.
  • HB,

    I got pretty crafty with how I adjusted my mirrors in our SUV!! I got it to the point I almost didn't twist (remember, I have thoracic issues too). So even in a brace, it sounds "do-able" to me!!! :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I started driving to the shops, etc at 6 weeks out. My surgery wasn't nearly as extensive as your's will be, but you will know when the time comes if you can cope with driving that early.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • I was driving in 10 days after my staples were removed but did not go far lol with brace on was not
    to comphy
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