Re: Surgery vs. Watchful Waiting.
I agree that every situation/condition is different, but here's what I did...
I had disc herniations at C5/6 and C6/7 that were pressing on the nerves going into my right arm, causing extreme achy pain. Some mild pain in my shoulderblades if I turned right/left. But not any more than that. No numbness, etc.
I saw several NS's who recommended fusion, but they also said it was up to me as to when to do it. They said aside from a car accident or fall etc, I wasn't putting myself at a greater risk by waiting. They said it was a matter of how much pain/discomfort I could tolerate.
I put up with it for 2 years before caving in. I had found some relief primarily from traction and massage therapy that bought me some time. But it got to the point where I couldn't sit down for dinner, watch a movie, or drive for more than 10 minutes w/out feeling miserable. So I decided to do it.
BUT, I chose a non-fusion procedure- see my post NON FUSION OPTION. so far 7 months post op, so good.
I am definitely glad I held off, and that I didn't do fusion once I decided enough was enough.
But again, every situation is different, I'd consider a 2nd or 3rd opinion too if I were you...