I am a schoolteacher working in special education. Everyday, I lift children weighing anywhere from 30 to 100 pounds. I’m planning to have an anterior discectomy and fusion in my neck. I know I’ll be off work for a while, but will I be able to go back to my work full-time?
Removing the disk between two bones of the spine is not uncommon. Men and women do return to work (RTW), usually sometime between one to three months after the operation. The timing of RTW depends on many factors. These include the patient’s age, type of job, and method of surgery. Problems after the operation such as infection can slow recovery. Many patients who have this operation report decreased pain, improved sensation, and increased strength afterwards. One study in Switzerland followed patients for at least one year. Some patients stayed in the study for almost three years. Three-fourths returned to work on a full-time basis one month after surgery. A smaller number did not return to work at all.