Can I Work After Spine Surgery?

Spine surgery is a very serious procedure that can leave people facing many questions and concerns before they make the final decision that is meant to improve their lives. Beyond the exact details of the procedure itself, people often wonder what their physical abilities will be once they are discharged. Some become extremely concerned with how mobile they will be on top of whether or not they will be able to return to work right away.

The specifics of your spine surgery will define the type of recovery that you face after the procedure. However, most surgeries are required because of an injury to one or more discs in the spine. It is likely that you will be facing either a Diskectomy, Foraminotomy, Laminectomy, or Spinal fusion.

When the Healing Begins

A Diskectomy, or removal of all or part of a spinal disc, usually offers a fast recovery period that allows people to return to work quickly as long as their profession does not require great amount of strain. With this procedure in addition to a Foraminotomy, it is likely that you will still feel mild pain, numbness, or weakness along the nerve that was impacted prior to the procedure. However, these symptoms usually cease within a matter of weeks. Fusion surgeries and Laminectomies, on the other hand, take considerably longer to heal. Patients undergoing these procedures typically face three to four months of recovery time before life can return to normal. The bones themselves must heal under these conditions. In the worst cases, patients face a year of recovery.

Health Matters

The majority of patients who are recovering from a spinal fusion take anywhere between four to six weeks off of work when they are young and healthy in every other respect. Older patients can face longer periods of recovery as well. Additionally, the extent of the injury can also shorten or lengthen the recovery times and the time that it will be necessary to take off of work.

Healing in the Home

Once you are home and healing, there are several changes that people need to make in order to speed up the healing process. These things include sitting for only 20 or 30 minutes at a time and sleeping in specific positions that do not put pressure on the back or the spine. Doctors will give patients specific instructions, although, they typically involve avoiding bending at the waist and carrying nothing over ten pounds initially. Exercise will also come to a halt for a period of two weeks after each of these surgeries as well.