I just wanted to pay homage to the information and opinions that I gained from this website on spine health before, during and after my surgery. Two years ago, at 29 years old, I underwent an L4-S1 spinal fusion. It was the scariest decision to make ever. I endured chronic pain that lasted for so many years since I was 22. It really hindered many parts of my life to the point where it was challenging to work full time. My situation worsened to the point where I had to be on crutches because walking would hurt too much. The recovery was tough and I am still constantly mindful of my back, just from all the years of conditioning my self to expect pain/tingling. I feel different now and I hope that it will continue to get better. I use to be a runner and very much into high impact sports, but now I am told to avoid those activities all together. It took a lot of getting use to, but I am exploring other hobbies such as yoga, salsa, and light weights. I want to offer my experience as a way to communicate to those of you who are experiencing chronic pain. I understand the mental and physical stress that it puts on your life. If you have tried to manage your pain from trying various treatments such as physical therapy, stretching and alternative medicine, then surgery will have to be the last resort. However, I suggest always getting a second opinion and become an informed patient about what practitioners will be doing for you. I had a microdiscectomy in 2003 and I didn't really look for alternative treatments before going under the knife.
Lastly, I really think that there is a connection between mind and body. It is important to de-stress and find healthy ways to release emotions, eat healthy and do everything in moderation. I think that is the key to preventing and maintaining chronic pain.
To anyone that was scared and worried like me, be hopeful and stay strong. I need to remind myself that all the time.