I have the exact problem that you have. I have lived with my condition for over 15 years. I bike an average of 30 miles per day during April to October and 20 miles per day October to December, at which point it gets too cold for me.
Here is what has helped for me:
A good pillow (http://www.painreliever.com/ther.html
No long ride times on mountain bikes or upright bikes. (Sounds counterintuitive, but road bikes are much better for neck vertebrae arthritis)
Road bikes are the best if they are properly fitted. Get a good fitting by someone who understands that we are not all racer wannabes and who understands human anatomy and the aging process. This will usually mean a handle bar height slightly below the level of the seat. I had to go to a technomic stem. Looks weird, but who cares.
Find a good PT who will do a ultra sound message with a topical steroidal cream.
Purchase a home traction device such as the saunders group inc product, and use it daily. Your insurance should cover it if it is prescribed by a PT, who has been prescribed by a doctor.(http://www.thesaundersgroup.com/inde...ROD&ProdID=238
Do the exercises that your PT gives you religiously. Also do pushups and situps.
Your PT is your best friend. Your doctor probably won't be of much help except to suggest PT, then steroid injections and then, ultimately, surgery. Avoid those solutions as long as possible. I have never had a steroid shot and never plan to have surgery unless it is an emergency (i.e..arm strength is gone).
Endorphins are your best defense against pain.
Get MRI's periodically (about every 3 to 5 years) to help track the progress of the degeneration. You don't want surprises.
Understand that flareups will occur from time to time and that your PT will get you through the worse of it. They are very familiar with this condition.
Finally, there are some on this forum who will tell you that a recumbent is the best way to go. Perhaps that is so, but I have not found it necessary to give up my road bike and have never been tempted by a 'bent.
Hopes this helps.