After a cervical fusion it’s important strengthening the muscles in their neck and upper back. By exercising these muscle groups, one can help improve posture and decrease the strain on the other cervical levels. There are many different safe exercises that can be performed after this type of surgery.
Prone Extension Exercise
The exercise focuses on the lower trapezius muscle, which helps improve your posture by depressing the shoulder blades.
How To Perform: Lie flat on your stomach with both arms extended and your palms facing down. Start by bringing your shoulder blades down and back. Lift both arms in the air and back down slowly again without relaxing your shoulder blades. As this becomes easy, a 1 or 2 pound weight can be added to increase the challenge of this exercise.
Prone Horizontal Abduction Exercise
This exercise targets the middle trapezius, which helps prevent rounded shoulder posture.
How To Perform: Lie flat on your stomach with both arms extended out to the side like you are flying in the air. Start by bringing your shoulder blades down and back. With your palms facing down, lift your arms in the air and hold them there for a minimum of 1 to 2 seconds before returning to the original position. If this becomes to easy, hold on to a light weight.
Press-ups are great technique for activating the lower trapezius muscle.
How To Perform: Sit in a chair and put both feet flat on the ground. Use your arms to press up and out of the chair until your elbows are straight. When starting this exercise, you can use your legs for assistance if needed. Slowly lower yourself back down again. Make sure to keep your neck relaxed as you do this exercise.
To properly strengthen these muscle groups, perform two to four sets of eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise. This exercise routine can be performed two to three times weekly. It’s very important to check with your neurosurgeon before beginning these exercises, especially if you just had recent surgery. If any of these exercises cause pain, they should be stopped immediately.