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Rehabilitation

Physical therapy after cervical fusion

10/24/2005

Question:

I am 2 weeks post op for cervical fusion c5,c6 &c7 due to herniated disk and bone spurs. I am currently wearing a cercical collar 24/7. My doctor will do x-rays in 2 weeks to determine if I`m healed enough to remove the collar.

My question - Is physical therapy normally recommended after cervical fusion?

Answer:

Cervical collar use varies widely between surgeons depending on many factors. Most spine surgeons prescribe a fairly conservative program to minimize risk for spinal instability, and maximize healing. Physical therapy if prescribed at all is very low-stress-- isometric exercises only. After the collar comes off, then a more active program is typical to achieve goals of strengthening, and recovery of range of motion.

Jonathan R Strayer, MD
Chief, Dept PM&R
Manager, Rehab Care Line
Cincinnati VA Medical Center

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Response by:

Stephen J Page, PhD Stephen J Page, PhD
Director of Research, Associate Professor
Drake Center
University of Cincinnati