Two years ago I got an MRI done on my neck because at the time I was experiencing "intermittent paresthesias". I have had a whole lot of symptoms over the years when this neck pain began, but things have slowly gotten worse including general weakness on the left side of my body. The entire left side of my spine is hurting right now.
My test results two years ago show that I have degenerative disc disease in the mid and lower cervical spine. My doctor told me it was nothing to worry about too much as it looks minor. It was described as: "Axial images at the C2-3, C3-4 and C4-5 levels demonstrate minimal posterior disc osteophyte complexes without significant stenosis or foraminal narrowing." Also C5-6 show "Small posterior disc osteophyte complex.".
I was surprised to hear from a spine doctor about a year later that I have a herniated disc and bulging disc in there as well (looked at the same MRI). Both of these injuries were not of great concern to the doctor. The herniated disc is either at C-3 or C-4 (I believe C-4). Most of this damage is seen at the left side of my neck.
I have experienced very weird symptoms over the years, some of which I thought for sure were a neurological disease, but after seeing a couple of neurologists they tell me that I don't (I even had a spinal tap done).
I do experience times where my symptoms get better, but I keep injuring myself and symptoms are getting worse. I have seen a physical therapist, but I don't see much benefit (maybe I didn't stick with it long enough). Recently, my neck pain and symptoms have gotten a lot worse. Something that I have noticed over the years that doesn't see much improvement is a dull aching on the back left side of my head. I get pain and tingling a lot on the back left side of my head and the top left side of my head. I did some reading recently and came across Occipital Neuralgia and I think it is close to matching a lot of my symptoms (although I don't have chronic headaches), tingling of my head is my main complaint. I also have issues with my eyes which were checked by the neuro-opthamologist and he said they looked good. I also have problems with extreme fatigue, anybody else get that with their neck injuries?
Sorry if it sounds like I am rambling. A lot of this is hard to explain. My three main questions to you all would be:
1. Does Occipital Neuralgia need to be diagnosed and treated even if it does not cause chronic headache?
2. Would I need another MRI in the near future to see if things have gotten worse for my neck?
3. Is a physical therapist worth my time and money or do I just try to wait things out like before and hope I heal with time?
I seem to injure my neck repeatedly because I like to lift weights. I need to seriously look into lifestyle changes because I am tired of feeling injured all the time and I feel like I am not making any progress in life. I would appreciate any help or comments that you all may have, I am really confused at this point.