Returning To Work After Neck or Spine Surgery

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: June 16, 2016

return to work after back surgery

One of the most frequent questions we receive during a spine surgery consultation is “when can I return to work after surgery?” That question is dependent on the type of surgery you’re having and the line of work you’re in. Returning to work after spine surgery isn’t as easy as simply picking up where you left off. Today, we explain what it will be like to return to work after spine surgery. We are going to make some general recommendations based on the line of work you’re in, but you should always follow your doctor’s specific instructions following spine surgery.

Sedentary/Office Workers

For non-physical laborers, returning to the office after spine surgery is usually an easier adjustment than for manual workers, but that doesn’t mean everything will be the same as it was before you had your surgery. The first thing you’ll want to do is ensure you get enough movement throughout the day, as staying in a seated position all day can be just as harmful after spine surgery. Every 30-60 minutes, stand up, stretch or take a quick stroll around the office. Make sure this quick 1-2 minute break isn’t a distraction to others or an issue with your superiors. Also, you’ll want to be patient with your work abilities in the first few weeks back in the office. Back discomfort may be an issue, and it may keep you from being as productive as you’d like. Don’t let it get you down, as that will only make things worse. You may need a work note with restrictions or allowing frequent position changes to allow for an easier transition back into your work load.

Physical/Manual Laborers

Returning to the job site after spine surgery may take longer for someone who works manual labor, and you should also take more time easing back into activity. You’ll probably be itching to get back into the swing of things, but overdoing it early is one of the quickest ways to re-injure your spine causing a delay in your recovery. You’re not going to be able to go 100% in the beginning, once you’re back on the job. Talk to your superiors about other duties you can perform while your spine is getting back up to speed. Also, do some stretches before work to make sure your spine is warmed up for the day ahead.

All Workers

Three other things all workers should keep in mind is their diet, pain medication and sleep routine, as they all play a crucial role in how one functions. When recovering from a surgery, your body needs good nutrition to facilitate the recovery process. When it comes to pain pills, always keep them in a safe location at the office or job site, however most employers do not want their workers on narcotics while working due to the impairment in the decision making process. Finally, when you’re not at the office, get plenty of sleep. Sleep is a restorative process that aides in healing, and since recovering from surgery is a taxing process on the body, you may find yourself tiring quicker at the office, so a good night’s sleep can help combat that.

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