Welcome to Healing Well pain forum. I am very glad that you found us, but sorry to read about your medical problems. If you have read any of the posts here at the forum you have seen you are not alone in your suffering. This place offers us a safe place to come and talk, vent, cry or whine whatever we feel we need for the moment. We also learn alot from each other, exchange ideas, it can be surprising what a person can learn here. The one thing we do encourage is all new members to read the forum rules that are listed and abide by them. Also there is a topic called CP101 that has a lot of wonderful information in it so you may want to check it out. None of us here are drs just people suffering for one reason or another trying to help each other out.
What has shown up on your MRI films can be caused by a number of things. Bulging disc and herniations are something that can take time to develop over the years or you can have one specific incident cause either problem. Doing a job that involves a lot of sitting can cause it in both the neck and back, repetitive lifting and it does not have to be anything heavy. Lifting a gallon of milk to put it in the refrigerator and without knowing it make a wrong move, or putting clothes in a dryer or even taking them out of a washer can cause these problems. It does not take doing something heavy to cause these type problems.
Your description of heaviness is not uncommon and it most likely from the disc involvement. People with neck problems may have headaches, shoulder pain, pain in the shoulder blades and upper back pain, arms aching or numbness and tingling in their finger tips or certain fingers will feel numb. Lumbar problems can cause pain in the buttocks, pain, burning sensation or a tingling sensation into the hips and down a leg. You can also have numbness in a foot or toes because of lumbar pain. A person can have some of these symptoms or none. Each person is unique just like their pain is. You stated you have nerve damage and that alone can cause so much pain and many problems for a person. You know there a medications available to help with nerve pain, things like Lyrica, Cymbalta and Neurotin. Regular pain medication has very little effect on nerve pain.
I really do not know what you are wanting your dr to do for you. Pretty much what he has offered is the standard thing most would offer. You may want to get your MRI films and get a second opinion maybe with a neurosurgeon. But, pretty much at this point it sounds like all that can be done is to monitor you to see if there is a change in your symptoms. Many of us are under the care of a pain mgt dr because of the need for medications that regular drs are not willing to prescribe. Most drs only want to give pain meds for a very short time. But there again are procedures, such as injections, trigger point injections, epidurals. If you are not interested in any of that there would be no point in being referred to a pain mgt dr at this time. Other than trying to get in to a good physical therapy program to help build up your muscle structure I am not sure what can be done. Mostly, it is what you are willing to do. Like you said you could stay the same or you could get worse, no one can answer that one, boy, I wish they could it would sure have been a lot easier for most of us.
Please keep us posted on how you are coming along and remember that you are not alone in this. There are many of us in the same boat all trying to paddle in one direction. Take care and again welcome aboard.
crohns disease dx 2002 & small bowel resection, still looking for remission whatever that is, chronic pain 22 yrs, added ulcerative colitis 6-05 to the mix, high blood pressure 28 yrs, aortic heart valve insuffiency, depression, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis lumbar spine, scoliosis lumbar spine, peripheral neuropathy hands & feet, COPD & on oxygen therapy, lupus & psoriasis and psoratic arthritis. Several other health issues just not enough room to list it all. Too many surgeries to list and too many medications to list. Currently on 17 different daily medications. Intrathecal pain pump implanted June 05.