CBMom's daughter, you have a lot of wisdom. You should set up your own account so we can tell when it's you posting.
Seymour, the question of how long to wait is not really something we can answer. We can share our own experiences, as others in this thread have done, but the final decision has to be one you and your rheumy make based on your own circumstances. I don't think your rheumy is going to let you get to a CRP of 60 and fusion before she changes your treatment plan.
So try not to stress over that for now. As the old saying goes, don't borrow trouble.
In the meantime, try taking an NSAID for a while if you aren't already and can tolerate it. Or take arthritis-strength Tylenol. Not just here or there, but on a regimen so that you have a steady amount in your bloodstream. Try some of the OTC stuff like Salon Pas patches (with or without lidocaine), Aspercreme (with or without lidocaine), BioFreeze, etc. Or try a prescription topical NSAID like Voltaren gel. Ask your rheumy or your primary for a PT referral for your neck. Ask whether a TENS unit might help. Someone made a post recently about the Quell units, you might check into those too.