How soon you can realistically return to work following spine surgery depends on factors such as what type of surgery you had (open vs. minimally invasive spine surgery), your overall health prior to the surgery and how well you follow doctor’s instructions immediately following surgery. While your individual circumstances may vary, here are some general guidelines for easing back into work after spine surgery.
Be Patient and Accept Help
Don’t expect to assume all duties right away, especially if your job involves some type of lifting or lots of walking and standing. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from co-workers. If you need some modifications such as a cushion for your seat or lighter duties for a few months, let your employer know in advance so reasonable accommodations can be made.
Know What to Expect
The more informed you are, the better prepared you will be when returning to work. Discuss your job duties in detail with your spine surgeon to determine what you’ll realistically be able to do and what you’ll need to put on the back burner for now.
Report Unusual or Renewed Pain
While some pain and discomfort is normal when recovering from spine surgery, anything that seems out of the ordinary should be reported to your doctor. Even if it ends up being nothing to worry about, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
- Pace yourself
- Use a brace or other support devices (if uneasy about re-injury)
- Modify routines (i.e., alternating periods of sitting and standing)
According to one study focusing on life after spine surgery, 4 out of 5 individuals who had surgery to correct a deformity of the spine successfully returned to work and remained working long-term following their recovery period. Making dietary and lifestyle changes, such as getting an appropriate amount of exercise, can also help ease the transition back to work following spine surgery.
For more information about recovery for spine surgery or to learn more about your spine surgery options, reach out to Dr. Hyun Bae, the Medical Director of The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration and schedule an in-person consultation. His experience in the spinal surgery field and various clinical trials can ensure that you are presented with all your viable options for treatment. Call 310-828-7757 to request your consultation today.