I am trying to find firefighters / emts who have had back surgery. I am a 22 year old volunteer firefighter /emt who is going to be having a spinal fusion back surgery soon. I am trying to find someone in this field who could tell me about the changes in abilities after surgery and how long it took to get back to firefighting or if you ever went back.

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I've had this surgery done to my lower back after a para sailing crash. The surgeon was very good I have less problems now than before I had the surgery. One thing that I've noticed is I have less flexability and can't stand still for extended periods of time. Gotta stay active and exercise.But I am still fighting fire with no lingering effects. Good Luck

I have had two back surgeries. L5 S1 Bone fusion. Just recently got back into firefighting. I cannot stand in one spot for very long and don't have the flexibility I used to have. I believe IF yu get a good Dr. you should be all right but don't rush it and listen to your Dr. Start back in slowly!

I'm 25, so not too far ahead of you, but last November I fell out of a tree and broke my L1 vertebrae, it was treated not with a fusion but some titanium rods and screws.  This past August the screws were removed and I'm waiting to hear form the doc when I can start exercising.  I actually asked my doc about fusions and he said it really depends where it is and how it affects you, but you'll probably have at least 8-10months healing time.  Your back will also stiffen some and lose a whole lot of strength because you simply can't exercise your back muscles.  It might be another two months for me, but I should have a full recovery and it's just a waiting game before I can start getting ready to go back in, hope you'll get a good prognosis afterwards and speedy healing!

The key with any firefighter/EMT is good mechanics.

Everyone should be lifting with your knees, and have plenty of help (If available!) especially with big patients.  Call for help, extra units or manpower to lift assist.  Protect your backs...I have had 2 slipped discs but no surgery yet.  I was laid up once for 3 days, couldnt even move an inch without screaming in pain, and went to a chiropractor who adjusted my back and I have been good since, but still feel the discs wanting to slip again from time to time.  Usually a hot shower and some relaxing helps clam it down.

Good lifting practices and lots of back excercises to strengthen the back.

Best of luck to you with your surgery brother, keep us posted and I wish you a speedy FULL recovery.


John. I have been a firefighter for 15 years and have been lucky not to have had back surgery. I can tell you I just had my ACL replaced in my left knee and it sucks. Anytime you have something happen on duty document it. Get help ASAP and have you family crew and friends involved. It is not just a tole on you physically but your emotions as well. You will need a good support network and get off the meds as soon as you can. They will mess you up in lots of ways. The best of luck to you and God bless.

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