I originally posted this by mistake as a reply to another thread. I really wanted to start a new thread. Sorry.
I've been dealing with a neck problem that has progessively gotten worse over a number of years.
Back in '98, I had a herniated disc at c-5/c-6. I had a discectomy which eliminated the pain.
But several years later, I began having a pain in my neck that started out to occur infrequently and became more frequent. A couple of years ago, the pain became constant.
On 8/29/06, I had an MRI done, which reported: Anterior fusion at C5-6 with difuse bony proliferation narrowing the spinal canal at these levels. In addition, there is marked posterior spondylosis centrally and to the right of midline producing cord effacement.
On 1/2/09, I had a second MRI. It states that at the level C6-C7, there is fairly prominent diffuse degenerative annular bulging and bilateral unconvertebral joint hypertrophy. The findings are asymmetrically prominent to the right, and there is a large disc osteophyte complex on the right at C6-C7 which narrows the right foramen and right lateral recess.
I saw a neurosurgeon after the first MRI and was told his only treatment would be a discectomy at C6-C7 and remove the bone spur. He recommended to avoid this as removing another disc would probably cause more problems in the future. He sent me to pain management.
I've been going to PM since September of '06. I started out with taking Naproxen and had a Epideral Nerve block. I was still in pain, but it was manageable.
By the summer of '07, it was getting increasingly painful. Most physical activities that involved stress to my neck made it much worse. The PM doc put me on Vicodin HP four times a day which seemed to help quite a bit.
But a year later the Vicodin didn't seem to work so well, so I was given Percocet 10/325. This would work well for about two hours after I took it and then the effectiveness would decrease until I took the next dose.
The PM doc then prescribed Kadian 20 mg (Morphine Sulfate time release) along with the Percocets. This worked well for a short time. Now it doesn't control all the pain. I'm up to 30 mg Kadian now. One thing that amazes me is that if I took 10 mg Percocet before I started taking narcotics, I would be so spaced out. Now I cannot even notice and side effects.
The next step is for the PM doc to perform a RFI treatment on the nerve root.
My pain seems to be less on the weekend as I can relax and move around and change positions. I frequently wake up with neck pain and it is definately worse after sitting all day at my job at the computer. Lately, it has been an endurance to make it through the day. Driving seems to make it worse.
I've been working from home, which seems to help. I am a software engineer and all my team members are in other parts of the country/world. There is one project manager/supervisor on my team that is a tyrant. My manager in CA is afraid of her and lets her get her way. She thinks she is the only one that should be allowed to work from home and will cause trouble for me. The added stress she causes me makes my neck problem much worse. I am so afraid of what she is capable of. She will stop at nothing. I've seen and heard what she was allowed to do to others. She is not a nice person, rather cruel. I can either work alone at home or work alone at work. I asked the PM doc for a note saying I should work from home, but he said I would have to have a functional capacity evaluation done first. I've got one scheduled. I've never had one.
At this point, I don't know if I should consider having the discectomy or continue with PM. I feel good enough on weekends to continue as I am, but dealing with the stress she causes me makes it hard to deal with the pain. My HR department labelled the team member as a bully. She doesn't like men and is never satified. She doesn't want me to have surgery though, because I would be out of work for too long.
I am afraid of having surgery since that will mean two discs in a row will be gone and who knows what problems will happen later. I just turned 51, so I have a lot more time to wear out.
Any advice would be appreciated. I am already on an anti-depressant and have been for many years and I'm getting more and more depressed.
Hope I didn't ramble on too long!