I had surgery where they went in and fused c-3 thru c-7 together with the bone from a cadaver. A titanium plate was then installed and screwed in to solidify everything while it had time to heal. The surgery has helped relieve alot of the pain however there is still an amount left that I will probably have to live with. Mine was not DDD but occurred at work from a fall. My surgery was about six months ago and I am still not ready for physical therapy because of the movements involved. My neck will become swollen, with to much exercise, and then it is very hard to swallow. Ensure has been my main staple of food for awhile. All I can say is that you will get alot of advice just be careful with it because what is great for one person could be disatorous for another. Like I said the surgery helped but then I had no alternative if I ever wanted to return to work again and I can't wait. The bad part is the total persentage of disability has not been figured out yet because I am not thru exercising. I am determined to return to my normal field of work (plumbing foreman) as I've spent 25 years doing it and changing careers at this point in life seem to much to overcome. Who wants to hire a 47 year old guy when there are better selections in the work pool. I know it is very dificult at times to stay focused and positive but it is very important. You fall in that abyss of depression and it is awful hard to get back on the right tract. I start my day with a mile walk and then wind sprints and other exercises that I can do without upsetting my back. Most of the exercises are all for endurance and cario vascular stimulation, basically from the waist down. It helps though because I feel as though I'm doing something. Good luck to you and drop me a line if you ever want to chat.