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Spinal Fusion Physical Therapy Range of motion exercises

I have had a 3 level c4-c7 fusion in my neck. I am 8 months post op but I am seeing a new physical therapist. They are giving me range of motion exercises in every direction for my neck, including looking up as far as I can and trying to touch my ear to shoulder! I was under the impression that was never a good move to do EVER, but they tell me otherwise. I don't want to be afraid to do what is right.

What is the consensus out there for other people in physical therapy for cervical spinal fusion?


  • Hey there, I am fused in the neck same as you and my PT involves same technique. Yes I also thought it was wrong. I do trust my PT with my life but thought ehh maybe an oversight but no. My doctor is aware of every exercise and if something was not suitable my PT would find out quickly.
    I guess its just our normal self protective mode that kicks in? Good luck in your recovery!
    Live, love, laugh, it could always be worse.
  • Good to hear that you are doing all ROM for your neck. I trust my PT too, but people can make mistakes. Just to put my mind at ease I will call my doctor Monday and ask. It is so strange though to do them when I have been told in the past it is bad for your neck in general, even before surgery.

    Thank you for sharing your experience!
  • Good idea! Would you mind updating me on what is said?
    Live, love, laugh, it could always be worse.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,859
    edited 01/24/2016 - 7:37 PM
    and part of my physical therapy included

    • - Moving my head / ear as far as I could to towards my shoulder
      - Moving my head up/down, down to touch my chest, up, as tolerated
    These exact stretches is what I still do after almost 20 years whenever I get a cervical flare up. Not only does my physical therapist approve this but my physiatrist also. The key here is those stretches are to be done within reason. There is always a point where it can be too much. Its a combination of knowing how far you can do , what the therapist wants you to do and how much you can tolerate.

    Those stretches are always so much easier when do while taking a warm shower.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I heard back from the nurse practitioner at my surgeon's office. At the early stages it is not recommended, but at this point in my healing it is. She confirmed that all ROM exercises are recommended and that they will only strengthen and protect my neck form further damage. It makes me feel so much better to hear that!

  • Hi everyone. I'm now 4 months post op (c6-c7 fusion) and just started PT last week. I'm doing my ROM exercises religiously but am now getting severe, piercing pain in my cervical spine. I did talk to my doctor about the ROM exercises before I started doing them and he said yes, do them. I cancelled my PT appointment today because I'm in so much pain I can't drive or turn my head to look at blind spots etc. I'm going back to my doctor tomorrow to see what he thinks. All I hope is that this is normal and it goes away. Anyone familiar with this type of piercing pain during ROM exercises? Thank you and have a great evening!
  • I started my PT up once again and yesterday pulled a muscle under my L clavicle. Its not the full chest muscle either. I contacted my Pt through text and she told me to do shoulder pinches. Gosh does that hurt but she said "motion is lotion", lol. It has helped a little bit i must say. I swear its always something though!!
    Live, love, laugh, it could always be worse.
  • The more range of motion exercises I do seem to increase my pain. I'm wondering if I'm pushing too far. I get small localized sharp pain that comes and goes and seems to worsen after PT. What you are describing sounds worse, I would absolutely tell your doctor about it.

    Titanium Queen, Hang in there! I see from your profile picture how much you have been through! Sending you love and a speedy healing!
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