I'm only stating my own experiences and pain related to DDD. My pain started in my left arm about 2 1/2 years ago. I sure don't remember exact dates. There wasn't anything specific that happened to me (accident).
At this point the pain goes from my left hand (I'm left handed), up my arm to my shoulder blade, across my neck and down my right arm to my right hand. My pain is still worse in my left arm-hand, but not much worse at this point.
I was diagnosed with DDD in my cervical spine at the end of June with bone spurs and stenosis to varying degrees throughout my cervical spine. My DO at that time thought that a surgeon would see my MRI and decide to do acdf c3 thru c6 or 7.
The surgeon my DO sent me to has a reputation for being the best. He has been doing Cervical Spine surgery for 26 yrs. He does move very cautiously and slowly in my experience with him. The first MRI I brought him he decided was not good quality (open MRI). He sent me for another MRI. That one he was happy with.
He then sent me to another neurosurgeon for a second opinion on exactly what surgery needs to be done. I see this surgeon this coming Tuesday (Jan 13th).
I never thought it would take this long before the surgeon settled on what surgery to do. I do know my pain has gotten significantly worse and spread as noted above. I feel I probably do have permanent nerve damage. I am 56 years old. I have Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea. I know the diabetes puts me at greater risk for surgery complications (infections).
My LTD Claims Manager along with the medical professionals who work with me (including my DO and Internal Medicine Doctor) have suggested I may very likely end up on permanent disability. I am also 57 years old this coming March). All I can do is wait and see the outcomes.
Anyway, from what I can see progression of the disease is to be expected and common (albeit the rate of progression would vary greatly from individual to individual I'd imagine).
The increase in my pain just in the past month is no fun. I am on morphine ER (15 mg 2x a day), Lyrica (100 mg 3x a day), Vicodin 5/500 1x a day). The Vicodin I originally was taking 3x a day but was decreased to 1x a day. My DO said he did this so the surgical team would not have difficulty controlling my pain post-op.