My Spinal Fusion Rehab – Intro

The spinal fusion recovery process wasn’t what I was expecting

Let me tell you something that surprised me: the spinal fusion recovery process! From when I woke up after surgery through the first two months lying upstairs in my bed on pain pills; I WAS NOT EXPECTING THAT! That’s to say: I was naive as hell, and I didn’t expect the recovery to be such a brutal process.

Best decision of my life: my experience might help prepare you

Now, with that said, I’ll tell you right now—in August 2021—that getting a spinal fusion surgery in August 2020 may very well be the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m serious about that!

So, I want this page to be particularly useful for folks who have a spinal fusion surgery scheduled and are looking for some insight about what to expect.

I’ll tell you, I’m going to create the pages right here on this website that I wish I had found prior to my surgery.


Pre-Surgery Enormous Mistake

One incredibly stupid thing about my approach before my surgery was that I did very little research or reading about the spinal fusion rehab process. I did an awful lot of reading about the surgery and the anatomy of the back and dysfunction of the back and the risk/benefit analysis of the surgery. Sure, I did all that!

What I should have done prior to spinal fusion

But, what I also should have done is watched the plentiful YouTube videos where people discuss, record and release these wonderfully informative post-fusion videos. There are some people who document their recovery from hospital bed to years later!

For instance, if you do a YouTube search, it even offers a bunch of suggestions such as “spinal fusion recovery stories”, “spinal fusion recovery week by week,” and “spinal fusion post op.”

Now, this raises a question that’s interesting to at least me: Why did I avoid watching these spinal fusion recovery reports and stories?

I’m not sure. But, I think maybe I didn’t want to scare myself/make myself nervous.

This was an enormous mistake!

I should have watched those post spinal fusion videos and read some of the spine surgery forums where people discuss the specifics of the procedure and recovery.

I did some things right

Like, I got the house stocked-up with heavy items (such as cases of water, cat litter, etc.) from the grocery store. In fact, I stocked up absolutely everything. I wanted trips to the store to be unnecessary for a long time. That’s very difficult to achieve, of course, but I tried.

Why my thinking was flawed about post-fusion

I figured that I had been living in so much pain that I could handle anything. I even told people, “The pain after surgery couldn’t be any worse than what I’m living with now.” WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

In retrospect, I wish somebody would have told me, “Don’t be surprised if when you wake up after surgery…don’t be surprised if the pain level is 50 or 100 times worse than what you’re living with right now.”

Because, it was!

Warning/Disclaimer: Your Mileage Will Vary! We’re All Different!

IMPORTANT: I AN NOT saying that your spinal fusion surgery will be as painful as mine! For one thing, we’re all different. For another, these back surgeries are different. I had what they call as a 360, two-level fusion and nerve decompression correcting for spinal stenosis and fixing two herniated discs and one broken vertebrae.

So, why should anyone else expect that their surgery would go exactly like mine.

I’m an ex-smoker and maybe even was a bit wimpy?

Additionally, I’m also an ex-smoker, and I was reading—not sure if this is true—but, I was reading that smokers and ex-smokers—for whatever reason—can have a more painful experience.

Also, maybe I’m a wimp, you know! Maybe my pain threshold is really low. Now, honestly, I went through life thinking of myself as a somewhat tough person…but, maybe I was wrong!

So, all I can do here is relay the truth of how things went for me.

Now, to my way of thinking, my spinal fusion rehab began the moment my eyes opened when the anesthesia first wore off enough to allow me to awaken. And, for me, I will be rehabbing this surgery until the day I die. It never ends.

So, let me break it down like this in the following time frame.

Links For My Recovery Experience At Different Stages

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Week 1 – Week 5
Week 5 – Week 8