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Returning to Work

Get Well Soon

Helping you to make a speedy recovery after a slipped disc operation

Returning to work

Fact: Work can be part of your recovery

Everyone needs time off to recover after an operation - but too much of it can stand in the way of you getting back to normal. In fact, by staying off for too long, people can become isolated and depressed. Getting back to your normal work routine sooner rather than later can actually help you to recover more quickly.

Getting back to work

How quickly you return to work depends on a number of things:

  • How you heal
  • How you respond to surgery
  • The type of job you do

People whose work involves a lot of heavy lifting, or standing up or walking for long periods of time, will not be able to return to work as quickly as those who have office jobs which are less demanding physically.

How soon can I go back?

Every person recovers differently and has different needs. Most people can safely return to work 4 to 6 weeks after a discectomy if most of your job is done sitting down, or is generally light work.

Keep moving

While you’re recovering, you should avoid sitting or standing in one position for more than 15 or 20 minutes, as you can get stiff and sore. Try stretching, and walk around regularly while at work.

However, if your job involves a lot of driving, lifting items that weigh over 5kg, or potentially violent situations, it is advisable to remain off work for 12 weeks. As an alternative, you may wish to discuss with your employer the option of going back to work to do lighter duties than this which present less risk to your back.

If your employer has an occupational health nurse or doctor they will advise you on this. Alternatively your GP can give you advice. Ultimately, it’s your decision when you want to go back, and there’s no insurance risk to your employer if you choose to do so.

You do not need your GP’s permission to go back to work - this is ultimately your decision.

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