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Thyroid UK
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How long after surgery to go back to work?

I had a total thyroidectomy 8 weeks ago. I returned to work yesterday and am regretting it already as working at the computer is causing me pain in my neck and I'm crying all the time. At home I thought I was OK apart from the fact that 3 weeks ago I hit a wall where my energy levels dropped dramatically and I became very depressed, presumably my levothyroxine levels are not correct (I was on 150mg). I asked my doctor to sign me fit for work and he reduced my levo to 125 mg but didn't give me my blood results.

My boss makes sympathetic sounds then threatens my keeping my job due to long term sickness if I go off again.

I don't know if I'm best sticking the pain out as it's short term while my body is getting used to working again or if I'm doing my body more damage by doing this. How long have other people been off after this op?

6 Replies

I only had 10 days off after my TT I'm sure you shouldn't still be in pain its a very non intrusive op. Go back to your surgeon.


Hiya. I'm 9 weeks post op and have no pain, just funny sensations across the scar and slightly achy if I do strenuous stuff like digging. Our heads do weigh a lot and therefore necks take a lot of strain, sometimes more when keeping still like sitting at a computer.

I would definitely go back to the doctor though, just to make sure your neck muscles are working and that you have healed properly. Hope you can get it sorted!


I had 2 weeks off, would have happily stayed off for months lol. Self employed and had to get back to my work. You shouldn't be in such pain, get it looked at.


I wasn't working at the time I had my op - but couldn't sleep laying on my normal pillows and was propped up with 4 pillows for 8 weeks after op. It took 2 years to get my meds into a normal range.

Just go with what your body is telling you - if you need rest, then rest.

Wish you better.

Den x


I had my op a long time ago but I remember having problems a long time after. To get to the thyroid during the op, you have to hyperextend the neck and I imagine there is a lot of stretching of the neck muscle even if the surgeon avoids cutting any muscles. You will have some tearing of the muscles and they need time to heal. Scar tissue will form and it is important to maintain mobility in the neck after the acute phase so that the scar tissue doesn't contract. If you have persistent pain you should ask your GP for a physio referral and your employer should look at your position while working and give you any aids that you need. This can be difficult with a smaller employer.



Thanks to everyone who responded to my question. Obviously everyone is different but I think the point has come to demand some response from my GP. Mind you, it would be easier getting an audience with the pope than an appointment with my doctor.


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