I have a mild straightening of the cervical spine causing a few cervical herniated discs but the most prominent being in the C6/C7 range with spinal cord contact. It caused aggravating, sometimes really bad neck pain for over a year that PT, chiropractor, cortisone shots, epidural steroid injections did not help. Pain was always on my left side, generally like a really bad crick in the neck that just wouldn't go away. Hurt to look left, down and up...looking right never caused any pain.
Then all of a sudden, after basically stopping all treatment for it, it got better. Not 100% but neck pain was better and tolerable as long as I didn't do anything too strenuous to aggravate it.
During all of this time I stayed at home and did not work.
However, since then I returned to work at an animal shelter, I did not get the job I was going after but instead landed a pretty physical position. Lots of cleaning, scrubbing, bending, very busy/hectic in the mornings. After lunch I am walking dogs 50+lbs and they always pull, sometimes I am lifting them and carrying them, there is a lot of lifting heavy items (dog/cat food, litter bags, trash, etc) and sometimes lifting them above my head.
Since returning to work, surprisingly my neck pain has not worsened, however, I HAVE started having pain, tingling, numbness in my right arm/hand during the night, which is weird to me as my right side has never had issues (it was always my left side/arm). It is mostly at night with occasional occurrences during the day. At night sometimes it is intolerable and I lose sleep because I keep waking up in pain, having to change positions to get feeling back etc. It is mostly my middle finger/ring finger that goes numb but sometimes other fingers as well.
At the advise of my Dr. I started gabapentin 300mg and physical therapy. I have learned that I can not take the meds as they make me too sleepy to function. I did try them at night but wake up very tired and drained. Tried taking them at 6pm which helps me wake up more alert but then I am too sleepy to function the rest of the night. So I can not continue them. My Dr. had said we could try the meds and PT, if they didn't work then we could try another epidural injection, if that didn't work then surgery.
I of course want to avoid surgery at all costs.
My Dr. did say that it was possible that the new job caused the herniation to flair up which in turn caused the pinched nerve down my arm but she is not certain of that.
I do really enjoy my work but am concerned that it may be the cause of the new arm pain.
I am not sure if I should continue with this job or not. I am able to do my job just fine with out pain during the day. Its just mostly at night that the pain comes.
I guess it might sound like a silly question but it just seems strange to me that the job doesn't cause pain in the day when I'm super active but at night the right arm hurts - which never hurt before.
What do you think?
Any help/advise would be appreciated.
On the fence here about what to do.