It depends on the type of surgery your doctor performs on your spine. If you have a discectomy, you might expect pain to ease up in the first few weeks. You will probably be restricted from doing activities like sitting, riding in a car, lifting, bending, or twisting early on. This is to prevent you from re-injuring the sore discs. But you should be able to get back to most activities by six to eight weeks.
If your doctor performs a fusion surgery, it will take longer to heal, since it takes up to one year for the fusion to become solid. Be sure to check with your doctor about the type of surgery you'll need and what activities you should limit or avoid afterward.