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Chances of healing

I've never been superstitious...but Friday the 13th did me in this year :/

I was driving into work and sneezed while looking left. I was pretty uncomfortable for the rest of the day, but I could function. The next day I went to a walk-in clinic - I couldn't turn my head and was barely able to get out of bed on my own...the Dr. said I had an "upper thoracic sprain". He told me to apply ice or heat (whichever felt better) and gave me flexareal. Well, three days later & a total of ~5 hours of sleep due to a knife in the neck sensation & my left arm constantly falling asleep, I broke down and went to the ER. They did an MRI and said I had a bulging disc at C4-C5 and a "ruptured" disc at C6-C7. I was put on steroids and given pain meds...as well as ibuprofen (to use after my 6 days of steroids).

I saw an orthopedic, who set me up to get some spinal shots which happen next week, and gave me a choice of PT or Chiropractic treatment in the interim. I chose the latter because it's done well for my wife. The chiropractor seems competent - she's given me stretches to do, which appear to be the same ones PT folks recommend. I don't seem to be improving much...and it's not giving me a warm & fuzzy.

The numbness in my arm has subsided somewhat....but I still have a sharp pain in my left shoulder. I was given lidocaine patches and stronger pain meds by my PC doctor. The pain meds don't seem to work other than helping me get to sleep for a few hours. The lidocaine patches were magic for a couple of weeks, but stopped working a few days ago for some reason.

Not sure what to expect next...err, I guess I'm looking to see if there is any relief in sight. I have no idea what to expect with the spine shots next week...do they usually help? If not, what are the best non-surgical options available? I'm in grad school, so surgery won't be an option for at least another 7-8 months.




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