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edited 06/11/2012 - 7:25 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
@) I DON'T UNDERSTAND ALL THIS!! i am almost 3 weeks post op c4-6 fused. my doc said to start some neck stretches, which he gave me a book on. i asked about pt he said not now maybe in another 6 weeks at check up maybe not at all. I was wondering besides walking, do you guys do any other stretching or lower body exercises at all!! i used to do a lot of stretching side to side, and lying on floor, i tried it 2 times and i get a lot of pain!! I really don;t understand this since I don't have a collar. anything i do causes pain. can u give me some advice!! i just did some lower back stretches, (I had no low back issues, and now my neck is hurting, my hands are tingling, I am really scared, but I don't want to not be able to do any exercise besides walking. should i call and bother them about regular stretching and lower body exercises? or should I just not do anything because it all causes pain? Then I will have a new problem, muscle weakness, no strength, and completly out of shape!! HELP!! WHAT DID YOU ALL DO?????????? I HAD STENSOSIS, PINCHED NERVES, LED TO 2 DISCK OUT 4-5 5-6 AND FUSION!! UNLUCKY ONE, VERY PAINFUL SURGERY!! NOT DOING WELL


  • I had the same exact surgery as you at almost the same time. My surgeon stated emphatically no exercise other than walking and I was to walk as much as I could tolerate. I'm up to 3 miles a day now. I can't imagine just being given a book and told to turn my head like that. One of my big NO's was turning the head, as it could prohibit bone fusing. I think I might try to get a consult with another dr if I were you.
  • Any exercise that you do will put a strain on your neck, even lower body stretching. Walking is the best exercise as it encourages bone growth and gives you cardiovascular benefits. If your doc saw signs of fusion he may well have given you a green light to try sone LIGHT range of motion stretches for you neck (not to the point of causing pain). I'm sure he intended for you to stick to these guidelines and not to do anything else.

    Catching up to get fit and losing a few pounds is much easier than having to go through a revision surgery. Don't push the limits!

    Don't worry, you'll be back at it before you know it. I know that it's hard to sit around and be inactive but it's not forever. Hang in there!

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  • My surgery was 6 weeks ago and I just started PT so you're still early in this. My doctor didn't even have me doing any neck exercises until a week ago. And he only had me doing one particular exercise where you stick your chin out and then bring it back slowly. (Please don't try that if he didn't suggest it.) A book? Are you kidding? There is no way I could have followed a book. I never realized how many daily activities that we do that involve our neck muscles. Please follow your doctor's advice. Don't do anything that he hasn't suggested. I agree with Griff. The last thing I would want to have to go through is revision surgery.
    Take it easy. Don't rush. You'll get there.
  • Karma Girl,
    I am going for PT and this week will be my 3rd week. My surgery was on Sept 17th and it was a 3 level C3>C6 with hardware. I had lots of arthritic stuff and crushed nerves affecting my hands and arms as well as spinal cord compression.

    My PT has involved a lot of massage (feels great) and a bit of very easy type moves with my neck. Rolling a big ball back and forth on a table while turning my neck in the opposite direction (softly and slowly), using pullies (no weights) hanging from the ceiling and head turn opposite to hand going up etc. I have a lot of soft tissue disfunction in my shoulders (not sure if this is long term or surgery related) and the PT works on my shoulders a lot (massage, ultra sound, electric stim).

    Hope this is of some help but don't do ANYTHING without a doctor oking it.
  • My opinion would be not to worry about exercising at this point in your recovery. You are VERY early out and should be concentrating on HEALING. Please give your neck the time and rest it needs. You have the rest of your life to get back in shape, but you only have NOW to heal! I'm just trying to help you put things in a better perspective.

    I'm sure you know that pain (most of the time) is our body's way of saying, "Please stop that. If you don't you will be sorry!" I know from reading your other posts that you have just recently been in terrible pain. Please be careful!
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  • thanks to all for your comments. I really feel I shouldn't of started any neck exercises so soon, seeing as though they don't even start you on pt for like 6 weeks, and with my docs, sometimes you don't get any pt!! I think they want your neck strong asap!! they do not believe in collars, unless the bone is real weak. they want you to walk and walk and don't tell you about any thing else u can do. I figured if it was ur neck, maybe you could lie down and stretch your legs up and down. No more, just walking, but i don't really do that much. cold outside. maybe just one neck exercise a day instead of the 4 he gave me to do, and he said do them once a day only 4reps of each, but that is hurting me, so I just needed to know what everyone else is doing, cause I want to do what he says but I don't want more pain or another surgery ever!!!
  • yes I agree with you!! I was expecting that for me too. I thought nothing but walking for about 4 - 6 weeks then they would send me to pt, but I was wrong!! after 2 weeks they started me on gentle neck exercise they call it, and he said maybe in 6 weeks pt, it depends!! I am really scared. I feel like they think I should just be fine by now!! Iknow all docs are different and as I said before I was never collared as he only uses them if the bone is very soft!!!
  • Hi there Karmagirl,

    I just had the same discs fused- ACDF C 4-6. Walking was what I was told to do. I could not even imagine not having a collar on....

    I At first was annoyed at using a hard collar but then saw just how much it helped me. No cause for worry because some docs just do not believe in using them.

    As far as exercise goes...at 3 weeks post of I could have in no way tried to do any other exercises than just the walking.

    My surgery was on Sept 3, 2008 so I am abit over 2 months now. At the second check they told me I had a little fusion going. I walked a lot in the first month, not as much in the second, but I live alone and have to do a lot of moving around onmy own so sometimes little daily tasks whiped me out to the point I have been unable to walk.

    I will se the surgeon on the 24th or 35th - can't remember...of this month....I hope to see more fusion taking place and if not I will have to really crack the whip and get walking on a regular basis again. I too was up to 3 miles a day, but not all at one time because that really would cause me pain.

    I would love to be able to do something other than walking but will wait untill the doc okays that. Mine to said no PT yet at the last visit. SO hoping I can do PT soon if needed. I have good ROM. The only thing that hurts is tilting head back. which I do not do a lot....only if I forget for a minute..lol

    So hang in there...you'll get there! All the walking your doing is going to be real good for you body!!...and the neck.

    It has been a long road for me and I am finally seeing that my pain symptoms change alot...I think this is because of the healing going on...
    Before surgery it was the same nagging awful burning pain all the time...it never or very rarely let up.

    So take it easy your not that far into your recovery so keep on walking....
    Feel free to PM me if you would like to..
  • the only restrictions on me now at 3 weeks, are do what i can tolerate: exceptions no lifting more than 5 pounds, no constant repetition, and no twisting!! and no running. I can do anything else I want including floor exercises as long as it is not sit ups. They said really no restrictions, unless the pain stops me. then they want me to stop and take breaks and start again, especially with the walking!! as far as sitting around too much they said that will just really make ur muscles much weaker. but at this point he said I can do almost anything I want as long as It is not real painful. I told him everything I do is painful and they told me I am going to take a lot longer to heal then!! they said you can't break what we did, unless it was a serious car crash!! so i give up. anything I do causes pain, numbness and tingling!!
  • Your surgeon surprises me with the direction he gives you. Mine is very good (I think) and I am happy working with the physical therapist but I did not do anything but walk for at least 5 weeks. The Physical Therapist is experianced with working with folks who have had this type of surgery and is very careful about what she has me do in terms of exercise. At least half my appointment is devoted to her working on my shoulders and/or right arm. I've had a lot of trouble with my right shoulder/arm/hand since surgery and a lot of the time it causes me more pain they my neck. I think the biggest problem we have (most of us) is that we get so little time with our doctors after surgery although we still have lots of questions. My doctor has you see a nurse practitioner or physician assistant first and then he pops in for a few minutes after he gets a recap from them. Don't get me wrong, they are very knowledgable and in fact the physician assistant in my NS office had the same surgery as me (only 2 levels instead of 3) and they give some very good advice. Seems like you go home and then realize all the things you still want answers on. Anyway I would suggest you try to talk to someone in the office who can advice you and say that you need suggestions on easing into doing any type of exercise and that you are concerned about causing yourself pain or injury. Also I would say if you think it would help you, ask for PT.
    good luck,
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