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Back to work after surgery? Same Kind of Work?

NewNeckTinaNNewNeckTina Posts: 16
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:40 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Curious to know how many spineys out there have gone back to work, and if so, how soon afer their surgeries? And also - did they go into the same line of work, or had to change their line of work?

I am an Emergency Department RN and MICN.. and work high stress and labor intensive (how I got hurt initially) when I do go back... anyone else work in ED?


  • I haven't gone back to work yet, but I know I will have to change my line of work/career. I used to be a dog groomer, and it's way too labor intensive. I am going to go back to school and finish up my kitchen & bath designer degree, and aim for a career doing kitchen & bath design.
  • I went back to work exactly 4 weeks after my surgery. I have a pretty easy job as I'm a graphic designer, so really it's only hard on my back because of the amount of sitting I do. So far all I've had to modify is how long I let myself sit, and basic stuff like no more lifting 50lb boxes of paper :)
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  • I went back to work at 5 1/2 months. It was the 45lb weight lifting req. that kept me out. I finally talked them into letting me come back with a 20-25lb limit. My job requires a lot of walking, some sitting, some bending and of course - lifting - I am a librarian.

    At 3 mo. I felt like I could go back to work, I was upset that I wasn't allowed to. But I found that even at almost 6 mo. going back was difficult and I was pretty onery! Very unusual for me.

    A lot of it is whether or not you can get to and from work and be at work with no medication. Can't drive on narcotics - not unless you want to end up in an accident ;)
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,082
    After my fusion in 1993 I went back to work (social services) at around 8 weeks.

    For my current low back problems I went out of work in May due to severe pain and my boss and HR said they could not meet my need for some minor accomodations (long story). As it is I now find out I would have been laid off in September as my employer is falling apart and my department may totally disolve in 2010.

    So I went on Short Term Disability (STD) and am now on Long Term Disability (LTD) until I am deemed able to return to my job. Once that happens I will have to look for a new job. My prior job required travel (air and car) and given my last few years of spine problems I can't travel weekly so I'll be looking at going a whole new direction.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
  • Hi there! I had a lumbar fusion, and did return to my previous job. I am a full-time sales rep (which is usually MORE than full time, haha) where I drive all over northern california and am in and out of the car and am on my feet all day. I did not return to work for 6 months after my surgery but I was determined to do it. I will not lie, it is a very difficult thing to do because some tasks are way harder than they were before the surgery, but I think with a good outcome from your surgery and a lot of drive/determination it is definately possible to return to any job (again, if you have a positive result from your surgery). I do have to take pain meds still, and working definately flares up my back but it still is worth it to me to be working full time :-)
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  • I went back to work in 6 weeks, but could have easily returned earlier. I was on disability and had plenty of extended time off, so I was enjoying my recovery time at home. I work for the Finance Dept of a hospital, but am also a surgical nurse. The only restriction I had in scrubbing was that I couldn't carry anything over 10 lbs., and the hospital wouldn't allow me to scrub until I was allowed to help move patients (50 lbs).

    I also had our occupational health dept re-do the ergonomics of my desk so that my computer was up higher and the arms of my chair were removed.

  • At what point after your fusion were you allowed to life 50 lbs? Has that been an issue physically for you? Were you working full-time?


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