-39 years old, average weight & height. Semi-active, used to lift weights and run but last year I've been mostly sedate.
-Mid December, 2011, I started to have right arm (triceps) and shoulder pain. It got worse and worse until I saw a shoulder specialist in the first week of January 2012. Everything was fine, but upon manipulating my neck, the pain became horrible and remained that way the rest of the day.
-Saw a pain specialist, got an MRI that showed I had a herniated disc and arthritis. Had an EKG (?) and tried oral steroids for a week. Heat, anti-inflamitories, the steroids, but nothing helped. The pain came more often and more severe. Sharp pains at the slightest movement, and an overall persistent pain still in my triceps area, sometimes in the forearm and shoulder. Even my neck and back felt bad - only on my right side still.
-Got a cervical epidural cortisone shot that did nothing a few weeks ago.
-Doc wants to do another one to see if it helps.
-Hand tingles/feels numb-ish more now than before, pain in arm still there.
-Saw a neuro-surgeon recommended by my main doctor (not pain specialist), and he thinks the ACDF is the best bet. PT would go for about 3 times a week, about 6 weeks. I don't have the time to spare for that, but would do it if it would really help.
-So after almost two months of progressive pain and numbness, I don't know which way to jump. I want to get better sooner than later (duh), but I also want to do what is better in the long run. I'm afraid if I go the PT route and it doesn't work, then that's about 2 months down the drain. But surgery is surgery... if the recovery is relatively quick and the results are better...
I'm looking for advice. Based on the length and severity of the arm pain and other problems, do you think PT would work where other things did not? Or is the ACDF the better way to go? Or should I go for the other cortisone shot? The ACDF could be as early as next Thursday (one week and a day from now), while the cortisone would not be until Feb. 23. The PT would possibly start in the next week or so.
My apologies if this has been asked a billion times, but I'm tired of this pain! Even falling asleep is tough because of the arm pain and hand numbness. I'm rushing to type this, so I may have left out details. Please share your thoughts. Thanks!