C6/C7 Herniation Advice
I'm hoping for some advice on dealing with a C6/C7 herniated disc. Sorry for the extra long post. I want to get everything out there. I'm a 30 year old male. I used to be a runner and fairly active, but no football, car accidents, or major trauma.
About 6 months ago, I started getting tingling in my right arm while at work (desk job). I figured my posture was off so I tried adjusting my seating position without any luck. About 4 months ago, the tingling was very frequent and I also started having right side chest, back, and shoulder pain. The pain is a constant dull ache. The pain is annoying, but I can deal with it. I had my yearly physical with my primary care physician and he ordered an MRI after an examination. The exam also discovered significant muscle weakness in my right tricep and right hand grip.
The MRI results were "a large right paracentral disc herniation at C6-7 disc with severe right C7 nerve root compression and impingement on the right ventral cord." My primary care physician wrote me a prescription for oral steroids and referred me to a neurosurgeon.
The neurosurgeon did another full exam and closely reviewed my MRI. He recommended spinal fusion surgery. I was hesitant about having surgery without trying something else first so I asked about alternatives and he sent me to PT and gave me a prescription for oral steroids. At this point, my symptoms had not gotten worse except while driving. Driving is constant pain in my right arm. Luckily, my commute to work is only 10 minutes. I cannot imagine driving a half hour or more.
I then went for a second opinion. The second neurosurgeon preformed the same tests, but recommended against surgery. He prescribed NSAIDs and had me purchase a neck traction device. He also said the PT from the first neurosurgeon would be fine. I will say this neurosurgeon barely reviewed my MRI.
I'm now 3 weeks into the PT, traction, and NSAIDs. My symptoms are slightly better, but I cannot do anything active. Driving is still really bad. Continued muscle weakness. The good news is still basically zero neck pain. There are also times sitting on the couch at home with no symptoms.
Other possible symptoms... constant dull ache down my right leg. No idea if this is related, but could be due to spinal compression.
So, should I have surgery? Should I give PT another few weeks? After surgery, how long until I can play golf? Will I ever be able to go running again?
Thanks in advance for the help!