Someone posted a question about their lingering back pain… This is a portion of my replies.

1.

Well I think I am going to give the opposite advice since I am in a similar situation to you and am living it day to day. I am 2 1/2 years post op and have had some very painful days both right after the surgery and lately. However I have found that pain killers and passive healing just don’t work in the long run. For me, it was weight loss and stretching and gently increasing my overall strength (including core) to the point where I was able to feel healthy again. I still have pain every day, my back hurts when I get up in the morning, it hurts when I stand up from my computer (I work in an office in computers which is the kiss of death for soemone with back problems) and it hurts whenver I exercise HOWEVER it doesn’t hurt like it used to. I say be patient, try to exercise at least once a day (stretching counts) and if you are working then make sure you stand up and walk around every 15 to 20 minutes. I know you know how much it sucks being on pain killers and the withdrawal and depression they can bring so I would say do whatever is in your power to rehab yourself and be as active as possible all the time and I promise it will help. Be careful and be healthy, best of luck.

2.

That sounds pretty typical from what I have read. I am the same way even now 2 1/2 years post op. I find that the more I do, the better I feel but if I lay around one day and watch TV then the next day I am a wreck. In a way I do feel worse after the surgery because I never feel “normal” like I used to. However, I also have not had an episode since the surgery which used to happen at least once every 6 months. I know for myself though that a large part of the problem is my weight, being 260lbs even though it is mostly muscle carries with it a great deal of spinal stress.
I also work in computers and have to stand and walk around, arch and stretch at least every 15 minutes during the day in order that my back doesn’t tighten up. You have to be religious about this or you will find your back will always be painful when getting up.
Does this suck? Well, I could be philosophical about it and say that it has taught me a great deal about myself, about my physical tolerances and about keeping my physical ego in check but in reality when I have to lay on my floor some days just to be able to walk properly I would say yes, it sucks big time. However, I am coaching gymnastics, I am going to the gym again and for the most part regardless of the lingering pain my life is somewhat back to ‘normal’.
I guess the bottom line is that we all, post op, need to come to terms with our new realities and face them the best we can. I still am optimistic that at some point I will start to have days where I don’t feel pain. Whether that is in the next 6 months or the next 5 years only time will tell.