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Returning to Work Post Surgery


Just wondered how many of you have been able to return to your jobs after surgery and how long you were off work.  I am 67 and my surgeon is recommending L2 L3 lami and L4 L5 fusion going in thru the front and lower back. I have a sit down IT job but cannot afford to go out on permanent disability.  Thank you



  • Hello, I had my 4 level ACDF on Jan. 9th & went home from the hospital on Thurs. 11th . I work from home, mostly on the computer & at a desk, bookkeeping & using a calculator. I started working right away after getting home. I had to adjust my chairs a bit & initially step away & rest often, but within a few days, I was doing all the bookkeeping & computer work I had been doing pre surgery.  Totally different area of the spine for my surgery vs yours, but I hope my experience is of some help to you for your decision making.

    Take care & good luck.

  • kmonty6kkmonty6 Posts: 2
    edited 02/27/2018 - 9:29 AM

    I had a lami on my L4-L5 on December 21st. I tried going back to work 2 weeks later and I could not do it. I tried 2 weeks after that and still could not do it. I have a desk job too. My leg was just in too much pain and I could sit for even more than a half hour. It wasn't until about 5-6 weeks later that I finally went back to work. My recovery was very hard and I was not expecting that. I had a 4MM herniated disc and the Dr said it was really bad. I was very discouraged and depressed the entire time. But I had a good support system and an awesome physical therapist. I am back at work full time as of 3 weeks ago. I still have pain but it's mostly from working out and trying to strengthen my leg. My leg is still very weak. I also have numbness along the top of my leg and top of my foot. I have been told that is the last thing to go and it takes a while. I hope this helps! Just take it easy. The best advice I was given is to listen to your body. :)

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  • patterppatter Posts: 2
    edited 02/27/2018 - 7:56 PM

    I had l4-5 alif fusion 11-14 so little over 3 months out I go back to dr tomorrow. I am in heavy labor job dr said about 5 months to go back to work . Most days I feel great for about 6 hrs then the nerve pain starts in and the jolts . Feel best in morning 

  • WLLadyWLLady Ontario CanadaPosts: 1,489

    10 level fusion...back to work part time at 3.5 months. Full time at limitaton was actually sitting and reaching forward on a 3 months i was allowed to sit 30 minutes and then had to get up and walk.  Also another limitation was fatigue. When the body has had enough it has had enough. No pushing thru...just stopped....

    Veritas-Health Moderator
    Dec '16 T10-S2 fusion with pelvic fixation. Laminectomies L2, L3, L4, L5, facet removal, cages L4-5, L5-S1, severe scoliosis, arthritis and stenosis repair. 

  • S/P L-2-Pelvis Fusion, tomorrow will be four weeks after surgery,I was told in the beginning 2wks and you will feel good enough to go back to work. Not true I am a nurse it was just not going to happen.My pain has now move to opposite side of my body not sure if this is part of healing process but I did decide to take all 6wks hoping I’ll feel better by then.

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  • I had a laminectomy and discectomy on my L4/L5, I’m 6 weeks post op. I have a fusion but my doctor only used bone graft (no metals or anything). Sitting down is a pain. My doctor told me that I can’t even ride a bike til I’m at 6 months post op. I’m a teacher and most of my students are 8 years old and younger (which requires a lot of energy) so I’ve decided not to return to work and just focus on recovery for a year. I don’t really like the idea of being jobless but my husband doesn’t want to risk my health. 

    If you feel comfortable and strong enough to sit for a long time then I guess you can return to work. But don’t push yourself. 

  • I had a L4/5 microdiscectomy, returned to work after 3 weeks. I had a desk job and i think it made my condition worse. Couldn’t sit more than 10mins, was standing most of the time at work. I gotta hold the pain if a meeting lasts for more than 30mins.The pain worsen at week 5 and i took medical leave again. Would recommend to have full rest for 6weeks if your work allows.

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