Returning to work after back surgery can be both a relief and a challenge. In most cases, you will no longer receive income from your job while you are recovering from your operation, so you are probably eager to return to work as soon as possible. Still, you need to be careful that you do not overexert yourself and end up doing more harm than good. The following guidelines will help make returning to work after back surgery an easier process for you and everyone else involved.
Type of Job
It goes without saying that a desk job that requires little physical exertion is going to be much easier for you to return to after your surgery than a more physically intensive one. If your job requires a lot of physical activity or heavy lifting, you will not be able to return to work until your rehabilitation is complete and your back is done healing.
How well your rehabilitation goes also has a large impact on your returning to work after back surgery. Many patients do not believe that physical therapy is necessary and simply lie down and take their pain medication. This is far from accurate. Physical therapy and rehabilitation are important not only for strengthening your back, but also play a large role in preventing you from injuring yourself again later on.
Most employers, especially those where a great deal of physical labor is involved, will require a release form from your doctor before you will be allowed to return to work. They will need to know that you are medically cleared to work again, as well as the type of work that you are allowed to do. They need to be sure that you will not injure yourself again and that you are physically able to do your job.
Type of Surgery
There are many different types of back surgeries and they all have different recovery times. A minimally invasive back surgery will probably have you back at work in a few weeks to a month, but a more invasive procedure such as a fusion back surgery will require months to a year or more in order for you to recover enough to return to work.
Depending on what job you have, returning to work after back surgery may be a very simple or more complicated process. If your job is not very physically demanding, you will be able to return sooner with fewer arrangements, but if your job is very physically intensive or requires a great deal of physical labor, you will need to wait until you are fully recovered, otherwise you risk making your injury even worse. In any case, it is important that you work with your doctor and physical therapist to ensure that your both your back surgery recovery and return to work are as successful as possible.