Returning to work after scoliosis surgery

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You will have to be careful when you go back to work after having scoliosis surgery. Learn some tips for communicating with you employer.

Key points

  • Some employers react well when they hear their employees have had surgery and others do not. Regardless of the reaction, remember that your safety and well-being come first.
  • To help cope with your emploter, ask your surgeon for a letter that outlines your physical restrictions and work with them to find solutions and accomodations.

Some employers react well when they hear their employees have had surgery. Others might not be so sympathetic. Always remember that your safety and well-being come first. Here is what some teens experienced with their employers after going through surgery.

How will your employer react?

"My first job after my surgery was working at a coffee shop. I realized that when lifting things, it was harder than it looked. And then I realized, not that I couldn’t do it, I just didn’t want to do it. And the people there weren’t really friendly. You couldn’t really talk about it. They would be like, ‘Oh well, can you do this?’ I was like, ‘No, I can’t.’ They weren’t really helpful so I got a new job and they were just so much better. Be careful of the job that you get, and when you go in there, tell them what you have. It’s not that they’re going to be disappointed. When they ask you to do something they already know, it’s ‘Oh, maybe I should get someone else.’ When you tell them you can’t do something, it’s not a problem."

"I got my first job over the summer and I wanted something where I wasn’t going to do too much movement because of my back. I was scared I was going to pull something and hurt myself even more. But then I got a job at a car garage. I was a cashier and I find that ever since I got the job, I have recovered faster because I’m moving more of my muscles now and everything like that."

Tips for coping with your employer

  • Ask your surgeon for a letter that outlines your physical restrictions.
  • Work with your employer to find a solution such as splitting up your break time so that you can have several shorter rest periods instead of one long one.
Last updated: June 1st 2008