This varies from patient to patient. A few patients wake up completely free of pain. Others have less back and leg pain than before the operation. For many patients, pain levels ease over time.
Post-operative pain levels depend on many factors. For example, some surgeons are using minimally invasive methods with small incisions through the skin. They use tiny tools and special imaging to see inside the body without a large opening. Studies show patients tend to use fewer pain relievers with this type of operation.
Even with the more invasive surgeries, the amount of pain patients reported is different. Some people have a higher tolerance for pain than others. You'll be encouraged to get up and move about as quickly as possible after surgery. Movement can help reduce pain levels too.