I've been asked this question many times, so I figured it would be better to make a public thread about it.
Since, I have had a number of both, I just want to comment on my personal experiences.
I think everyone understands the impact of spinal surgeries. There are so many different types, for now, I am just going to say generic and fused surgery.
When I had my ACDF (C4/C5/C6/C7), I had to wear a hard collar for about 7 weeks. The pain and problems I had prior to surgery disappeared right after surgery. I was uncomfortable trying to rest and sleep. Most of the time, I rested in a recliner. Overall, I was able to get around myself with any assistance.
It is probably not fair for me to make any comparison here.
My Lumbar surgeries were done from 1978 till about 1984. The procedures back then were not nearly as refined as they are two. We had two choices, Fused or Not-Fused. Since I was a white-collar working, my surgeon decided Not to Fuse.
Being at home was difficult in the beginning. There was no way to get comfortable. My pain levels were high from the start and it took about 4 weeks before I was able to reduce my pain medications.
The three day stay in the hospital was painful, more so then with my spinal surgeries. At home, it was very difficult. I never realized how much we depend on our shoulders. I couldn't Eat, Dress, Shower and much more without assistance. I needed to purchase a number of personal hygiene products to help. The home physical therapy was extremely painful. I have to say, I was basically miserable for about 9 weeks. I had to stay on the current dosage of pain medications, plus switching from heat to ice several times a day.
I was uncomfortable in the hospital. When I was at home, it was difficult getting in/out of bed. I was fortunate that we have a adjustable bed, so that I was able to raise my head. I needed a walker to get around. Personal hygiene was a challenge and getting dressed became an art.
A month later and I have been able to get around much of the day without the walker.
I have had additional lumbar and shoulder pain due to the hip surgery. The way I had to get around, the use of a cane from time to time impacted my other problem areas
Bottom line, all these type of surgeries can be difficult.
I think each person deals with the home and recovery phase differently.
One thing for sure, ANY of the above surgeries CAN impact other areas of the body. As my Deep Tissue Therapist has told me, Our body is like a stereo. When one area is affected, you can be sure another area will be impacted
Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences