I am 25 yrs. old. I was diagnosed with severe degenerative disc disease at the age of 23. It was the result of 15 yrs of gymnastics. I started gymnastics at the age of 6. Anyway this is what I need advice on. On Jan. 18, 2006 I underwent a spinal fusion at the L4-L5 and L5-S1 levels with titanium pedicle screws and rods and bone graft taken from my hip. The first month was really hard but the pain was alot better than before the surgery. Before the surgery I was actually walking with the help of a cane, which is not fun for a 25 yr. old. I am now 8 1/2 weeks out of surgery and tonight I am in pain again. The pain is really bad. I had to take a Demerol pill about 20 mins. ago. I started driving again today but I don't believe that would cause the pain. I did walk a little further today for my daily walk. I haven't begun therapy yet, because my neurosurgeon said that would begin after 3 months, my next appt. is April 10 and he said I would begin therapy after that appt. I called him today to let him know that my pain was worse today than it has been being and he said that it was normal and I would probably experience some bad days for the next 6 months. I'm just confused I had it in mind that since the damage was gone that the pain should be gone, and because I have been having such good days this last month and then all of a sudden pain again. Is this really normal? Is it normal to on occassions have really bad days? I was just hoping that I was finished with the pain and finished taking pain medication. I am just so tired of hurting. I have been in pain for years but in gymnastics you are taught to ignore the pain and deal with it and I did that for years until I retired from it 3 yrs. ago. Can someone please give me some ray of hope. Is it possible that even though I am having bad pain today that the fusion will still be successful and that one day I may be out of pain?