I'm new to this forum and after looking over the site, it looks like there is some great info to gain here! Thought I'd see if there were any opinions out there regarding treatment and whether I need to really change my activity level for good.
A little sx background:
My symptoms started with left-sided neck pain and stiffness from what I thought was just from sleeping in the wrong position. Using my heating pad seemed to REALLY aggravate it; ice helped some. After two or three weeks, the symptoms seemed to magically shift to the right side of the neck. Went to PT, got some HEP and a TENS, tried some traction which initially felt really good. Had an x-ray in order to move forward with the traction and got the thumbs up, but a diagnosis of DDD. Went ahead with PT and the traction for about 6 weeks and was discharged because it wasn't getting any better, in fact maybe even worse. I've now been going to a chiropractor 2 times per week for the last 2 months; he performs manual manipulations. I have better range of motion to the right with the neck, but now I have pain in the left shoulder and some intermittent numbness, pins and needles, and pressure-like sensation down the left arm into the hand. I had an MRI, which I showed the chiropractor, but he didn't seem too terribly concerned. Had a meeting with my PCP who also didn't seem concerned in the least. When I asked her about my activity level, her answer was, "if it hurts, don't do it." She gave me a short dose of Prednisone and a different NSAID-diclofenac (because naproxen and ibuprofen were making me nauseous even after taking them with meals). I also take muscle relaxers with not much benefit because they either make me super drowsy (e.g., flexeril) or don't work (e.g., baclofen). I'm continuing with the chiropractor, but I'm wondering what my future holds as far as treating this stupid thing....
I'm a 38-year old female and served in the Army for 8 years (and took a physical beating). I was dx with scoliosis way back then, but that was just that...nothing really could be done. The recent cervical spine MRI showed:
Loss of the normal cervical lordosis. No spondylolisthesis but desiccation of all cervical discs.
C3-C4: minimal posterior central disc osteophyte complex, without significant central canal or foraminal stenosis.
C4-C5: minimal diffuse posterior disc osteophyte complex without significant central canal stenosis or mass effect on spinal cord. Uncovertebral hypertrophy is noted without significant foraminal stenosis.
C5-C6: moderate sided diffuse posterior disc protrusion as well as mild hypertropy the posterior elements which results in moderate-to-severe central canal stenosis with effacement of the subarachnoid space around the spinal cord and mild flattening of the ventral spinal cord. There is no signal abnormality in the cord. Uncovertebral hypertrophy results in mild bilateral foraminal narrowing.
C6-C7: moderate diffuse posterior disc osteophyte complex and mild hypertrophy of the posterior elements which results in moderate central canal stenosis with effacement of the subarachnoid space. There is no mass effect on the spinal cord. Uncovertebral hypertrophy results in minimal bilateral foraminal narrowing.
Everything else was unremarkable.
Now the questions:
I do a lot of physical work at home (e.g., built a fence, put down sod for my yard, planned on building a deck this summer, etc.). Should I NOT attempt to do these sorts of activities anymore? I've been trying to exercise, but even light (and I'm talking 3# weights) lead to muscle spasms shortly thereafter. So, I'm not sure what to do and have a LONG way to go in life. I don't want to make this worse, but I need to do something here. Any advice would be MUCH appreciated!