Carson Daly Says He's 'Really Optimistic' After Spine Fusion Surgery: 'My Future Is Bright Now'

·5 min read
Today Show Carson Daly on Wednesday March 23, 2022
Today Show Carson Daly on Wednesday March 23, 2022

Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Carson Daly

Carson Daly is opening up to his TODAY show co-hosts about his recovery from back surgery.

The broadcaster called into Thursday's episode of the NBC morning show, where he filled in pals Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin and Al Roker about how he's healing after getting an Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion surgery, his second back surgery in three months

"I feel really good," Daly, 49, said of his progress. "I feel really optimistic. I feel like, for anybody who suffered from lower back pain for decades, you don't realize how much pain you're in until it's gone. So I feel very optimistic about the future. ... My future is bright now!"

RELATED: Carson Daly Is on the 'Road to Recovery' After Second Back Surgery in 3 Months

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion surgery is a procedure in which an intervertebral disc is removed and replaced with a bone or metal spacer, according to the USC Spine Center.

Healing from it, according to Daly, has been "a process."

"First week was tough, just getting over the surgical pain," Daly said, explaining that he's been relegated to the first floor of his Long Island, New York home. "I've been in the downstairs bedroom, kind of avoiding the stairs."

Movement has been a key component to his recovering process. "I'm walking a lot right now," Daly said, joking he's "like Forrest Gump here on Long Island."

"I walk everywhere," Daly continued, teasing, "Yesterday I walked to New Jersey. I'm getting stronger and stronger."

Daly has long been open about suffering from chronic lower back pain. He first began experiencing pain when he injured his back in a a snowmobiling accident in the '90s, resulting in a T12 compression fracture.

His pain steadily increased over the years until July, when host underwent his first back surgery. TODAY cameras following him before and after the operation to document the experience for a segment on the show.

"I feel actually better and I'm glad that I did it," he said, after going under the knife. "It's not a cure-all but it was in a step in my journey that I think is going to help."

RELATED: Carson Daly Back on Today After Surgery for 'Chronic Lower Back Pain' from Snowmobiling Accident

Unfortunately, as Daly explained on Thursday, that "procedure didn't quite work out." So in August, Daly underwent an Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion back surgery at L5 S1.

"It's the same operation my SoCal junior golfing buddy Tiger Woods had in 2017," he shared on Instagram. "We're basically the same person. ... like Tiger I plan on winning the Master's in exactly 2 yrs. ⛳️🏆."

Carson Daly attends the 2022 NBCUniversal Upfront at Mandarin Oriental Hotel at Radio City Music Hall on May 16, 2022 in New York City.
Carson Daly attends the 2022 NBCUniversal Upfront at Mandarin Oriental Hotel at Radio City Music Hall on May 16, 2022 in New York City.

Roy Rochlin/Getty Carson Daly

RELATED: Carson Daly Opens Up About His 'Debilitating' Anxiety and Helping Others with Mental Illness

As for the experience as a whole, Daly admitted on Thursday's TODAY that he hears from viewers all the time about their back issues since he's started speaking out about his pain.

"This is a very relatable topic for a lot of people because every time I say it someone's like, 'Oh my back is killing me!' " Daly said.

He ended his time thanking his doctor, Dr. Andrew Hecht, and his "incredible" crew at Mount Sinai hospital in New York. "I have the A team," Daly said, "they went in there and did an incredible job."

The Total Request Live alum also talked about going back to work soon. "The problem is I want to come back to work but I can't put my pants on or tie my shoes," he joked, "Can I do Pop Start pantsless?"

"I miss you guys so much," he added. "I can't wait to see you all again."

Carson Daly
Carson Daly

Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

According to Today, Daly's accident happened while he was on location in Aspen, CO while working for MTV.

"At the end of one of the days of shooting, I was on a snowmobile being shuttled down by ski patrol, and we got into an accident," Daly recalled. "I was knocked unconscious, and I kinda came to in the snow in a toboggan, really couldn't feel anything below my legs, one of those really scary moments."

At the time of the accident, doctors explained that his back was "structurally" unharmed and that pain management would be his only option. Because of a bad reaction to pain medication, Daly knew he would only use them as a "last resort."

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At first, the pain he experienced from the accident was intermittent though grew more severe as time went on, the outlet reported.

Daly — who shares children Jackson, Etta, London and Goldie with wife Siri — said the pain started to affect his relationship with his family and was unable to be as active with his children as he'd like.

"I want to play golf, I want to wrestle with my kids. I want to pick things up. I want to be better," he said.