Welcome to the boards....We are glad you found us but always sad to see another person with chronic pain.
Has your Dr. started you on a physical therapy program to help strengthen the muscles around the joints?
How about doing shots/injections of corticosteroids? These can be very effective.
I'm sure it's very hard for you since you were a runner. Unfortunately that is an activity that is so hard on our bodies. Since this is a long term issue now, hopefully you can substitute it with other activities like walking, hiking, or swimming to stay active.
Many of us have this adjustment period when pain goes from acute to chronic. The hardest part is adjusting mentally/emotionally. I had to give up being a volunteer Firefighter/EMT as well as avid photographer with heavy equipment. Those are just way too hard on my neck and were probably some of the cause of my disc issues.
Also, the Arthritis Foundation has chronic pain classes around the US so you can go on their website and see if there are any near you to attend.
The other non medicinal things to help are massage, acupuncture, weeding out any inflammatory foods, not smoking (if applicable), wearing a brace when needed.
I have switched to eating all Organic and this has helped with both energy and less muscle pain.
Again...I'm sure it's very hard to get used to this "new" life, but hopefully you can work with your Dr. to stay as active as possible and do everything you can to prevent further damage.
SB and "the pup who snores loudly"
ACDF C5-C7, (no hardware), with autograft bone Nov. 2001
(reabsorption of bone 2 years later...still lost in body..expect to burp it out at anytime..haha"))
ACDF with hardware, allograft bone Nov. 2005
Anterior and Posterior CDF, allograft bone with BMP, removal of old hardware, use of titanium plates, rods, screws, & kitchen sink (lol) Oct 2006