Tour, I work in Spine and can't stress enough the importance of seeing a competent and thorough spine/pain physician before you see a neurosurgeon. I see too many patients who have cervical fusions who are worse off than prior to surgery. There are several possible pain generators in the neck, not just disc herniation. A good spine evaluation and series of injections will help delineate what your symptomatic pathology is; I can't tell you how many MRI's I read daily with multilevel disc herniation that end up being asymptomatic, the problem was in the facet joints or the neuroforamen due to stenosis 2/2 facet hypertrophy.
A series of injections in conjunction with appropriate PT will help sort it out - if its the facet causing your pain it can generally be treated with injections and potentially nerve ablations depending on your response. A fusion can be a double edged sword, once you fuse a couple levels the joints/discs above and below the fusion break down much faster and you end up with worse/rapid progression of adjacent segment breakdown..ie more pain. Hope this helps
This is good advice. I have a combination of bulging discs, calcium buildup, and a syringomyelia in my spinal cord from C1-7 from a series of injuries when I was 20. I've seen multiple neurologists, neurosurgeons, and finally a spinal specialist. The neurosurgeons have given me everything from "there's nothing wrong with you" to "you need surgery ASAP" and thankfully I held off until I found a neurologist in the VA that actually gave a damn. He referred me to a spinal specialist who had me run MRI with contrast, which showed all of the actual problems, mostly that the calcium deposits are putting pressure on my spinal cord and the nerves when there's inflammation in the surrounding tissue, which causes symptoms from pain to tingling and loss of feeling down my arms, with my right side being the worst. He recommended holding off from surgery, and instead gave me the option to either get the injections to reduce the inflammation or go without, but his #1 thing was for me to strengthen the muscles in my neck and upper back to support the spine better. I first chose to not do injections, but the pain was terrible so I ended up getting those done, which allowed me to lift again with a tolerable amount of pain and strengthen everything. Now the pain is minimal (compared to what it was before) and I can tolerate it, even doing things like splitting oak with a maul. It still does and always will hurt, I still haven't gained full feeling in my fingers, and there's still other problems, but it was a better option than surgery or taking gabapentin.
Traction does help, I have a device I got from the VA that's pretty awesome. I'll take a picture when I get home. The only problem is that when you have a big neck, it's hard to get one that fits without sliding up your head. I don't like the steel ones that have the two rubber bumpers, they always made mine hurt worse after treatment. Also use some moist heat before doing the traction, that helps quite a bit to loosen up.
I also do nerve glide exercises daily to keep the nerves moving through the myelin sheath properly, they help a lot because I also tore the ulnar nerves off of the muscle in one of those incidents when I hurt my neck. It definitely helps my nerve function in my arms and hands a lot.
Hope you get it a little better man, neck pain is a curse