There are many factors that determine just when you can get back to work after spinal surgery. That being said, it’s still possible to get a better idea of when you can expect to resume your work-related duties post-surgery if you understand the typical recovery process. Here’s what you need to know.
The length of time you’ll need to recover at home before getting back to work will depend on the procedure you had. For instance, if they’ve had a discectomy or a foraminotomy, Santa Monica patients will likely be able to get back to work within a few weeks after any lingering pain, weakness, or numbness related to the nerve that was previously compressed has subsided.
But don’t expect to get back to work quickly if you’ve had a more extensive procedure. Two common surgeries of this nature include the removal of the back part of a vertebra (laminectomy) and the joining together of adjacent spinal bones (spinal fusion). With procedures such as these, recovery typically takes 3–4 months.
Your overall health will also be a factor. If you’re young and fairly healthy, you may be able to return to work after 4–6 weeks if you had a laminectomy or spinal fusion procedure. But if you’re older and dealing with underlying health issues, it may take several months before you reach a point where you can safely get back to work.
Another factor that will determine your ability to return to work after spinal surgery is how much effort you put into your recovery. Initially, you’ll want to:
You may also be advised to wear a brace when sitting or walking. Additionally, you’ll be more likely to be able to return to work within a reasonable time if you get the type of regular exercise that’s recommended for you.
A physical therapist can provide guidance and supervision as you do exercises and stretches to strengthen your spine and its supporting parts. Also, make sure to do the exercises at home your therapist suggests. Further play an active role in your recovery by:
How long you’ll be off work after spinal surgery will also depend on the nature of your job. If you have an office job, you’ll likely be given the okay to get back to work sooner than you would if your occupation involves heavy lifting, driving, or repetitive spine-related movements.
Patients requiring spine surgery can reach out to The Spine Institute for an expert opinion or to ask questions about a specific surgical procedure. If you’d like an in-person consultation with a Santa Monica spine surgeon who has years of experience performing all types of back surgery procedures, call 310-828-7757 today to schedule an appointment.