I too was recommended surgery for a herniated disc in a similar area. Chose not to go for surgery until absolutely neccessary, (ie less invasive treatment no longer works). Had nerve root blocks administered over 3 months ago and experienced great improvement. Sometimes the disc can 'shrink' or 'wall' off' by itself which means the pain lessens or even goes away. Have had many differing professional opinions since my diagnosis back in March this year, but generally I think it is best to try everything before resorting to surgery. I first had an epidural, then botox, but the nerve root block has definately been the best for me, enabling me to return to work and pretty much enjoy life again(was in extreme and constant pain in arm, neck and shoulder before these treatments). Would recommend you get yourself a good pain management consultant. Good luck.
A TENS unit may help relieve the pain temporarily.