As I said in the subject, I'm new here.
I've had shoulder and back pain for going on 10 years now (I'm 24) and have only recently sought treatment for the problem. The pain in my shoulder had been worsening significantly over the last couple years. Every time I move my left arm, in any direction, it clicks and pops painfully, and I can't move it over my head without shooting, grinding pain. I decided to go in and get checked out after I lost strength in my arm and dropped my infant son on two occasions.
My primary care Dr prescribed me Naproxen 500mg, which doesn't do **** for me in terms of pain relief, but I still take it. He referred me to an orthopedic, and I fully expected to hear that I had bursitis or something similar, since my father has the same issues. After the orthopedic doc tested my strength and mobility he found that I have limited mobility in my neck and almost no strength in my left arm. He sent me in for an x-ray, and then scheduled me for an MRI, saying that he was pretty sure I have a herniated disc in my neck. What!?!?! I had not even considered this.
I went in for the MRI, and was told that I have bulging discs at c3-c4, c6-c7. The doctor's assistant told me they were going to send me to a pain management specialist. I was kind of expecting and hoping for physical therapy, but that wasn't even mentioned, and they told me I'm not a surgical candidate, but didn't say why.
I have a couple questions. First, what is the difference between a bulging and a herniated disc, if any? And does anyone with experience in this kind of condition/injury know if doctors always say no to surgery in this situation? I feel a little confused, as I went to this doctor expecting answers, and left with more questions than I when had started.
Any insight and/or advice is greatly appreciated! (I know it's not medical advice, I would just like to hear some other experiences with similar/same problems)