Hi all! This is my first time on the forum so here's a little background. I'm 51 with history of rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren's for 20 years that has been very well controlled with Enbrel. I'm very active and currently a short distance runner with occasional Pilates and yoga. I used to lift weights and was a "gym rat" in my 20's and 30's. No traumatic or acute injuries other than a snow skiing accident back in '99. In 2013 I started getting headaches that were so bad I had to seek treatment. Never had migraines but they were initially treated with Fioricet and muscle relaxers. The neurologist eventually ordered cervical MRI which showed bulging and herniated discs at various levels, arthritic changes in facet joints, and foraminal narrowing C6-7. I then started having left arm radiculopathy but not as bad as the headaches. After he did everything he could, he sent me to pain mgmt where I was started on Norco 5 twice a day with muscles relaxers, PT, and then epidural injections, left and right radio frequency ablation.
Before each procedure, I was so hopeful that they would work because the HA's were now getting progressively worse and increasing in frequency. I also started having severe neck pain and pain around my shoulder blades. Some days everything was so tight from the top of my head to my lower back that I couldn't find anything to relieve the pain. I used PT, massage, TENS unit I have at home, heating pad, and meds. Some days I just felt desperate because the pain was so bad and I'm a pretty tough woman. Through it all, I continue to work 40+ hours in a doctor's office and I exercise daily because it provides natural endorphins to help with the pain.
I've now had a total of 3 MRI's (1 each year) and they each get worse. I now had annular tears, extruded nucleus propulsus and moderate to severe narrowing of left neural foramina at C6-7 among other things. On my first neurosurgery consult, I was told a 1-level fusion would help the radiculopathy but probably not the other pain. He is reluctant to do surgery but encouraged me to get 2nd opinion so I have appt with another neurosurgeon.
My question: Has anyone had similar case and did surgery help?