Hi, I'm Julie a 33 yr old Caucasian female, in relatively good health. A few years ago, I started noticing some pain in my neck and shoulder blades/back area. During the course of the following years(2kids and dental school) the pain became increasingly worse. I finally gave into the pain and sought medical advice. The first doctor did an MRI and told me to do the acdf immediately(he thought no other course of treatment would work). I than sought the advice of another doctor. He told me that there was nothing wrong with me(I had bad posture/all in my head/pain wasn't real. So than went to another doctor, this one was great!! We tried epidural and trigger point injections (benefits lasting a week at most) pain meds, and physical therapy (the worst experience ever! It sent my body into more pain than I have ever experienced(and I've been hit by a car riding a bicycle) he than told me to cease all pt and meet with his groups surgeon that specialized in acdf. His advise was, wait until you cannot take the pain anymore/at all. In the meantime(almost 2 years later) I have been in pain management, just barely scraping by most days. I have good and bad days randomly, but being on narcotics sucks(bad skin, can't take a poo, etc). Unfortunately my pain clinic put me on cymbalta. For anyone considering that, DON'T!!!! IT IS POISON and should be BANNED. So not only do I fight with pain, but I feel as though my brain has been fried, PERMANETLY!! So my question is, do I have the surgery or wait until I become more and more of a shell of my former self. I am a mother of two boys, 5 and 3( autistic) and just want my life back! I do not have a lot of radiculat pain in arms. Mine is confined to neck, shoulders, upper back. Somebody please tell me what to do!! I know some people have wonderful results and some have poor results. My doctor also told me that having such a large amount of problems and being so young, that even if my surgery was a 100% success, I would still have to worry about a future surgery since I would be putting more stress on my non fused levels. Help me!! Please!! I already know I'm going to be in a horrendous battle to get off the narcotics if I do feel better after the surgery. I am not mentally but physically addicted at this point. Help me!!!