A little background: ten years ago I was in a rear end car wreck and suffered from mild whiplash. 6 months later I started getting major migraines, went to physical therapy, it helped, sort of and then pain and migraines came back about 5 years later. I went to a chiropractor who wrenched my neck several times, never helped with the migraines or pain, and I finally decided that wasn't working and just suffered with them for a couple more years until the migraines were becoming atypical (stroke like).
Recently: In 2007 I woke up one morning and couldn't lift my arm above my shoulder without a great deal of pain, nor could I turn my head more than a couple inches to the right. The MRI revealed 3 bulging discs in 7 different areas and degenerating discs. I did 6 weeks of physical therapy which helped for a couple days and then the migraines, arm pain, and neck pain return. I also developed TMJ and started sleeping with a fitted mouth guard, which also helped to a degree. I really tried to limit pain medication, until I was taking motrin and tylenol on a daily basis, with phenegren and fiorcet every now and then when those didn't work.
Now: I did physical therapy again for 6 weeks. This time there wasn't a lot of help. There was a constant nerve pain in the "V" of my back that never went away no matter how much massage, stretching, or exercising was performed. I had an MRI done and they said it is just Multilevel Degenerative Disc Disease. No mention of the bulging or herniated discs. I developed bleeding ulcers from the motrin use, so no more anti-inflammatories for me. The pain is constant, my motion is restricted, I have weakness in my hands, wrists, and fingers, and every now and then something goes wonky with my right hip and sciatica acts up.
Maybe related: I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease this summer. Surprisingly, going on a gluten free diet has not stopped the migraines completely, but they are definately more manageable now. I know that wheat ingestion was affecting my joints. Is this what may have done my joints in?
Questions: Do I need surgery? Is there a better method for pain management other than pills that half of I can't take? I don't think you can live without a neck, so amputation isn't an option. I'm worried about further damage, what I can expect for the future, and if these things can even resolve on their own?
Thanks for any info you can send back. It took me 2.5 weeks to finally get results of the MRI and then it was over the phone, so I don't have an actual copy with me, just going on what a receptionist could convey from doctor's notes.