Finally an update!
I've been extremely lucky and the combination of my time off and intense physical therapy has improved my neck problems and has, for now, helped me to avoid surgery. If I keep up with my exercises, stretches, neck traction, and physical activity in moderation I can stay relatively pain free. I'm at the point where I am starting to return to my regular activities such as doing laundry, grocery shopping, and walking. I will have pain if I overdo it, so I'm working on finding my limitations. I am planning on going back to work before the end of the year.
I am also planning on easing myself back into riding my horses. I have always said if I'm well enough to work, then I'm well enough to ride! My trainer and her assistant have been riding Phil for me and it's been great to keep him going. But I feel like I can start with short rides and gradually work my way back up to longer training rides. I do very much miss riding!
I'm hoping I can hop on Phil tomorrow. I'll do a full round of stretching and warm ups before I get on, and afterwards too. My physical reaction to riding will give me a good indication of what I can handle and what I can't.
As far as work goes I also have a plan for being able to work and not be in pain. It involves stretches and exercises throughout the day, plus neck traction at night after work. It will be a few weeks before that starts, and until then I'll continue to do exercises to strengthen my neck and back to be able to support me at work and hopefully stay free of pain.
In the meantime I'll be trying to stay warm and getting my butt back in the saddle.
Yeah I'm excited! Woohoo!