I'm sorry that you are still having so much pain from your surgery. I do not have experience with surgery that high up, but my fusion (one level) gave post surgical pain that I could have never imagined. I still hurt (over 2 years later), but I have to admit that it is improving some. Of course, that may be due to to all the RFA procedures and the increase/change of meds. Either way, I think you are correct about the collar. I used a brace on my back for a long time and my muscles and everything did not want to work on its own when I tried to go without it. I had to wear it off and on for parts of the day for while and then get away from it completely. It was almost like getting off of a med that takes a long time to leave your system. Strangely enough, I tried it on the other day to see if it would help stabalize when we were going to ride the Polaris, but found that I couldn't wear the brace at all now without extreme pain....just the opposite of before.
I hope your body will adjust soon and you will feel better quickly!
All my best.
TLIF L5-S1/failed, Pituatary disorder w/HGH deficiency, Fibro, Failed Bladder Surgery & Nissen, GERD, OCPD, GAD, MDD, CFS, TMJ, Migraines, Pre-glaucomic, HBP, Idiopatic Reactive Hypoglycemia w/Diabetic reaction to HGH, Bi-lateral CTS (surgery related trigger finger), Edema, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, Peripheral Neuropathy, Plantar Fascitis, Tibular Tendionitis, Adult Onset Flat Feet & much more.....