I've been living with chronic neck pain for so long I can't recall when I finally got the MRI and the diagnosis of congenital neck fusion at C-4/5. I'm now 48 yrs old. I was told nothing can be done. After reading some of the posts here, I feel lucky that my pain is at least tolerable and localized.
I want to share a few things I've learned that have helped me over the years. Besides the upper and lower level disc herniations and protrusions causing numbness, tingling, radiating pain and weakness, I understand the pain is muscle related. The muscles formed at birth the way they were supposed to, but because of the missing disc, they're out of whack.
Once I learned this, it became easier for me to self treat. PT was helpful, but no lasting relief. Same with chiropractor. Stretching is the best thing for me. Yoga helps. I felt best when I had a masseuse coming to the house every week to work an hour on just my neck and shoulders. But who can afford that long term unless you can convince insurance to pay. Cheaper than PT. Recently purchased an inversion table. Can't hurt, right? Takes the pressure off the spine. So far it feels great while I'm on it, but I don't remember to do it often enough to expect any lasting relief. Hope this helps. Keep stretching! And check back here periodically to see if they come up with a viable option for us.