How Long Will You Be Out of Work After Spine Surgery?

Nobody would want to have surgery of any kind unless it was absolutely necessary. Sometimes surgery can be put off, especially if there are alternative treatments that you can try. It should be the final option after you’ve exhausted all possible treatments.

For example, tendonitis of the shoulder can be a pretty painful condition, but instead of jumping straight under the surgeon’s knife, there are alternative treatments that you can follow, such as PRP (platelet rich plasma), which is where you use your own blood to treat different problems. In many cases, even serious conditions can be treated successfully without surgery.

When surgery is the only solution

However, there are a number of different conditions where you will have no option other than surgery. When it comes to spine surgery, which is one type of surgical procedure that everyone will want to avoid, there are three main reasons why you have to undergo the procedure.

Nerve Pains

If you have a condition such as a slipped (or herniated) disc, or spinal stenosis, the pain you could be experiencing due to the nerves being compressed can be excruciating. You could experience numbness down one or both legs, as well as tingling or burning sensations.

Surgery will be able to remove part of all of the disc that is causing the damage, and can avoid making the problem much worse. Professionals such as orthopedic spine surgeon – Joshua S. Rovner would be able to carry out this type of surgery and provide the patient with immediate relief from the pain they have been suffering with.

Crooked Spine

The spine should naturally curve, but there are some conditions such as kyphosis and scoliosis where the natural curvature of the spine is affected. Sometimes the problem can be fixed with physiotherapy and the wearing of special braces, but other times, surgery is the only available option to fix the problem.

Unstable Spine

Some people suffer from an unstable spine where it is unable to maintain its natural curve and shape. Your spine may not be able to properly hold together your discs, muscles and ligaments, which could ultimately lead to a person suffering from a huge amount of pain. People who have suffered spinal fractures or who may be suffering from spondylolisthesis often have unstable spines.

How long to recover from spine surgery?

All types of surgery will require a period of time for the person to recover. Some surgeries have a much quicker recovery time that others. For example, having surgery on an ingrown toenail will have a much quicker recovery period than if you undergo spine surgery.

With spinal surgery, the type of procedure that you’ve undergone will determine the recovery time you will need. Below we will take a brief look at the main types of spine surgery.


If you have had a discectomy, which is surgery to remove part or all of a disc that has been pressing down on a nerve, then the recovery time is pretty quick. Your symptoms of numbness and weakness in the lower back should start fading after a couple of weeks.


This surgery is where you have had lamina removed, which are two small bones that connect to form your vertebra and are what keeps the pressure off your nerves. Recovery from this and fusion surgery will take much longer, somewhere between the region of 3 to 4 months, as the bones need a good amount of time to heal. The full healing process could take as much as 12 months. You won’t be able to get back to your normal everyday routine as quickly as if you’d had discectomy surgery.

Spinal Fusion

If you have needed surgery to fuse two bones back together in your back in order to fix any spinal issues you may have been suffering with, the usual amount of time that you are going to need to take off work will be about a month to a month and a half. For older people, the recovery period is much longer and can take up to six months.

Getting back to normal life

How quickly you can get back to your normal routine, and go about your regular life all depends on the extent of the issue and the pains you suffered that you had before surgery took place, and also the type of surgery that you had.

If you are working and are wondering how much time you are going to have to take off, then it could be for between 4 to 8 weeks for discectomy or spinal fusion surgery, while for laminectomy surgery, this could take much more, and could be up to three months.

Of course, your recovery period is also going to be influenced by many factors such as your health in general and your age. If you were in relatively healthy shape before the surgery, then you will most likely have a quicker recovery time than someone older, or who was not in the best health.