This is my first time on this forum. I do a lot of physical labor at work taking care of patients. I've had off and on neck and shoulder pain since my 20's. The first week of March 2015, I woke up one morning with severe right neck/shoulder/arm pain. This occurred a few days after doing heavy yard work. The pain got increasingly worse to the point of agony. The urgent care doctor thought it was neck spasms and started me on Baclofen and gave me neck exercises to do which didn't help much. My primary doctor didn't seem to know what was going on and referred me to physical therapy. Then, the weakness and hand tingling came along. I finally went to see a physiatrist 4/1/15 who ordered the MRI.
"C5-C6 degenerative spondylosis...Eccentric right disc osteophyte complex at C5-C6, as well as right paracentral to lateral disc extrusion/protrusion"
Diagnosis: Cervical degenerative disc disease; cervical spondylosis with radiculopathy.
Conservative Treatment: Baclofen 1-2 tablets 3x/day, Norco 5 one to two tabs three times a day, Mobic 1 tablet daily. I also had a 6 day course of methylprednisolone steroid tablets which helped only 1 day. Heat helped. Ice, TENS, ultrasound were no use. Massage therapy just worsened the tingling sensation down the arm. For physical therapy, the only recommendations were cervical retraction exercises (chin tucks while lying in bed) and home traction. The therapist thought most of the Mckenzie exercises would worsen my pain. His motto: "If it hurts, don't do it!"
4/21/15: Received steroid and lidocaine injection to C6. Helped immensely with the pain after 2-3 weeks. However, pain would return with strenuous activity (heavy lifting, reaching- which I do a lot of at work). Right arm weakness and hand tingling persists which was concerning for the physiatrist.
5/8/15: Referred to neurosurgeon. Due to persistent symptoms of nerve impingement over the past 2 months, it was recommended that I undergo spinal fusion (or if insurance allows- cervical disc replacement).
In following the introduction format, I didn't realize this turned into a lengthy essay (sorry for that). Hopefully I am posting this in the right section of the forum.
Anyway, I'll be trolling the forums to get feedback from other folks' view on this spinal surgery fast track. I've never been operated on before. As a healthcare worker, it feels a little weird being on the other side.
Thanks for reading,