So the verdict the other day was that I have a herniated disc in my neck. I was referred to the lovely people at the Neurosurgery and Spine office affiliated with Maine Medical Center. I went there this morning. This is what I found out.
I have "significant" cervical spondylosis. Cervical spondylosis is a general term for age-related wear and tear affecting the joints in your neck. Also known as cervical osteoarthritis, this condition usually appears in men and women older than 40 and progresses with age. Although cervical spondylosis affects both sexes equally, men usually develop it at an earlier age than women do (courtesy of mayoclinic.com. The doctor's response after viewing my MRI (which is so kick-ass cool it's not even funny) was that I have a spine of a "much older person" (I'm not old, I'm 37). I have "black discs" and one herniated disc, with two other discs looking like they want to join the party. All in all, I'm a mess.
However, there is a bright side, for now. First off, I'm going off the Percocet tomorrow! I'm going on Prednisone for 10 days, and I get to reduce the muscle relaxant medicine to once a day. While I'm not thrilled with the side effects of Prednisone, I can DRIVE again!!!! With Meg starting school on the 31st and Drew the week after that, I NEED to be able to drive. I haven't driven since July 27th and that has sucked. I'm also starting physical therapy on Monday. We'll see how that all goes and I'll return to the neursurgeon's office in early September for a re-evaluation.
What this doesn't rule out is surgery. A couple of you asked what happens if they remove the herniated disc and I HAVE NO IDEA (maybe I'll become the Bionic Woman!)! For now I'm avoiding Googling, partially because with the degeneration, I don't know how much other work they'd want to do. I'll be asking those questions at my next appointment. So, no knife yet, but it's still a possibility.
What really blows about all of this is I'M NOT OLD! I'm 37! I shouldn't be in such sad shape. I already had a broken bone spur in my lower back a few years ago, and now this mess. What a wake up call this is becoming for me. Of course I don't know how much of this is hereditary as I know my mom has back/neck issues. But, I'm going to get well. I have to get well.