I was asked to repost this. It was written as a response on another thread.
Time for my monthly rant --
To those of you that were led to believe that this was routine surgery, all I can say is "SURPRISE!!"
It really upsets me that many spine surgeons err on the side of happy talk when it comes to recovery from any back surgery. They will tell you with minimally invasive surgery that it is less involved than open surgery, implying that recovery will be "easier." They neglect to tell you how hard recovery is from open surgery, and how even MIS takes a LONG time and is often done in baby steps. Just when you think you've turned the corner and are finally starting to feel better, there will be a set-back. I don't know anyone who just began getting better and proceeded to get a bit better every day after.
I feel we'd all be better off if surgeons leveled with their patients and let them know what they were in for.
Back surgery is unique. It is unlike any other surgical procedure. Just because the spine is so integral to the whole structure and function of the body and controls all movement and sensations, surgery is very complicated.
It is not like an appendectomy for example, where you have the surgery, the appendix is removed and you then recover from the surgery. With back surgery, you have the surgery, hopefully the doctor does what he set out to do, and only then does the fun begin. First you recover from the surgical process, and then the true healing begins. In most cases, there has been involvement with soft tissue and nerves, so there is a recovery process for them...and of course, nerve pain has an effect throughout the body. Muscles have to learn to rebalance and perhaps stretch or contract to accommodate the new positioning of the spine. ETC. So, the patient is healing and recovering on a number of different levels. And, through all of this, you look fairly "normal" and family and friends think you should be fully recovered after a month, just like you would be with a simpler surgery!
Do yourself a favor. Accept that this is MAJOR surgery. Learn to be patient with yourself and with the process. You will gain nothing by trying to hurry along your recovery. The body will heal at its own pace, in its own time. It will be easier on you mentally if you recognize this, realize it is perfectly "normal" and what almost all spineys are going through, and that if you can be patient, you will have the best chance of a successful outcome.
Good luck! (and, keep walking!)