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Thread: how soon for work and driving

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004

    how soon for work and driving

    my doctor said I could go back to work on light duty 4-6 wks postop. Has anyone gone back to work this soon and if so how did it go. I'm a nurse and was just wandering what to expect. I was considering having my surgery in January.How long will it be before I can drive?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    That is going to be pretty quick to go back to work. You are on the young side and will recover soon but that might be pushing it. I drove at 5 weeks which surprised almost everyone. I went to the grocery store and short errands and events at 5-6 weeks. You will get tired VERY easy at first. Many can't sit at their computers to post for long at that time interval. You might need to push back the idea of going back that soon just a few weeks farther out. This of coarse depends on what you plan on doing when you do go back to work and if you will start with only a few hours a day. You will need to lay down to rest during your break too. I thought I would be superwoman and not need as long to recover as most and I was correct, I got better very quickly. But, I have learned you need to take it easy in the beginning and it is a slow and frustrating recovery. You want to do more because you start to feel so much better but your recovery is slow and you can't. Many of us have overdone it because we feel so good and paid the price for it the next day!

    49* lumbar corrected to 8* 2/22/06 at age 43
    Fused T10 to L4

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    I'm curious what light duty for a nurse would be? Also, do you drive in heavy traffic/on freeways?

    I ask those questions because I was back at work part-time in the first month after surgery, but I was able to sit or stand at my leisure, and able to go lay down every two hours. That was all very necessary the first several months, for me. My back would get achy in one position, and I also got tired easily.

    As for driving, I also drove in the first month, but I live in Alaska and I don't have to deal with heavy traffic or freeways. If I had needed to, I probably wouldn't have driven for another few weeks atleast, because my neck mobility was limited, so changing lanes would not have been too safe.
    31 year old female
    55* (day of surgery) thoracic curve w/compensatory lumbar
    T4-T12 on Aug 15, 2007

    MRI, pre-surgery
    Xray, 3 mos. post-op
    Machu Picchu, 8 mos. post-op

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    light duty for me would be to do computer and paper work. I would be able to sit but would not be able to lie down. Traffic sometimes gets heavy but if I needed to my husband could take me to work for the first week or two if I needed. I would not return to patient care for a couple of months with restrictions. I'm very active now and don't let things slow me down but I didn't know if 4-5 wks was realistic. I can't believe you were driving in a month. That's great. I would be fused from T4 to L3 so didn't know when I would be able to drive again, didn't think to ask the doctor, I to many other questions for him.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    You probably have thought of this, since you're a nurse... but I wasn't released to drive until I was pretty much off the pain medication. Food for thought, anyway. I didn't drive for 4 months, but didn't really have a big need to try to either. Good luck!
    67 and plugging along...
    2007 52 w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15
    CMT (type 2) DX in 2014, progressing
    NEW 10/2018 x-rays show spondylolisthesis at L4/L5 - Dr. DeWald is monitoring

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    kdawn, I started nursing school a few months after my surgery and it was tough on my back. Even now, my back hurts a lot at the end of my 12 hours shifts. I wasn't released to do anything without my brace for the first 8 weeks. At 8 weeks, I went back to being a nanny for toddler twins. It definitely caused fatigue, but I was able to do it. I would say to go with how you feel, but you if you can take all your PTO and EIB, I would!!! If you can go back at 6 weeks, I'll be very impressed!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Euharlee, Georgia
    My daughter was told she could drive at her 6 week check up, but she had to wait one year (she wasn't old enough until then!). Most doctors forget to tell patients that if you get stopped while on pain meds, its driving under the influence. Have you considered going back part-time for a couple of months? Would you work allow that? My daughter went back to school at 2 months and was very tired.
    T12- L5 fusion 1975 - Rochester, NY
    2002 removal of bottom of rod and extra fusion
    3/1/11 C5-C6 disc replacement
    Daughter - T7 - L3 fusion 2004

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Las Vegas

    almost 8 weeks post op

    Hi! I'm almost 8 weeks post op and I don't feel ready to drive yet. I have a follow up appt with the doc next tuesday so we'll see what he really thinks. I'm also still wearing my brace...

    - Jane

    34 yrs old
    Diagnosed at 12; Boston Brace for a year; ScoliTron for 3 months. Curves left untreated after 13 yrs old until 27yrs old.
    Pre-Op Upper Curve: 49; Post-Op: 14
    Pre-Op Lower Curve: 51; Post-Op: 18
    Posterior Reconstruction from T2-L3 on Oct 22, 2007
    Dr McNulty - UMC Hospital

    Las Vegas, NV

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Auckland, New Zealand

    I'm a nurse too...

    I had my first op late november then returned to work in february. I was still feeling tender on walking down stairs, and made sure I was careful. I was 19 at the time, and everyone is different. Nursing is strenuous, and I ended up leaving because of my back, even after my first op.
    1994 curve at age 13, 70 degrees, untreated
    2000 Anterior fusion with instrumentation T9-L2, corrected to 36 degrees, 14 degree angle between fused and un-fused thoracic spine.
    2007 26 degrees junctional scoliosis
    Revision surgery, 6th December 2007 T4 to L3, Posterior approach.

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