I’d like to share what kind of exercises I did in my first month out of my neck brace. (You can read about my first visit to the physical therapist wherein she evaluated the dismal state of my neck here.) It was pretty boring, but knowing what was at stake, I did it. The idea behind the program was to progressively engage my neck muscles as well as my shoulder and core muscles week after week.
I went to the physical therapy three times a week for the first two weeks (on my own dime too) before I took a break for the holidays. At each appointment, the physical therapist’s assistant/kinesiologist and would do most of the exercises with me and teach me new exercises. I would also receive a massage on my shoulder area (where I had most of my pain, besides my neck) and heat for my neck and shoulders. Each appointment lasted around 45 minutes – they’re supposed to be only 30 minutes long but I always went in the early afternoon so they wouldn’t be busy with other patients. Hehe.
At home, I usually listened to a French podcast or watched a short video (when my head was in side lying position) while doing these exercises to make it enjoyable at least. I’d be lying if I said that I did the entire exercise program religiously… maybe 90 to 95% of it in that first month (the holidays are busy!). I would otherwise just move my neck around as much as possible (in the car, while watching TV, etc.).
DISCLAIMER: If you are rehabilitating from a neck injury yourself, please do not just copy my exercise program. Please seek the help of a professional. This was constructed by specialists especially for me and I take no responsibility if these exercises do not work for you and your condition or cause you more pain.
I tried finding links demonstrating all the exercises but I just ran out of patience doing so for some.
|Exercise||Week 1*||Week 2*||Week 3**||Week 4**|
|Range of motion – cervical flexion and extension while seated||10 reps||10 reps||10 reps||12 reps|
|Range of motion – cervical rotation while seated||10 reps||–||–||–|
|Range of motion – cervical rotation in supine||–||10 reps, 2 sets||10 reps, 2 sets||12 reps, 2 sets|
|W in prone position||10 reps, 2 sets||10 reps, 2 sets||10 reps, 2 sets||12 reps, 2 sets|
|Chin tucks in supine||10 reps, 2 sets||10 reps, 2 sets||10 reps, 2 sets||12 reps, 2 sets|
|Isometric hold with pressure applied from hands||20 sec hold each side (front, side, back, side), 5 rounds||20 sec hold each side, 5 rounds||20 sec hold each side, 5 rounds||20 sec hold each side, 5 rounds|
|Posture exercise against wall||30 sec hold, 2 sets||1 min hold, 2 sets||2 min hold (with breaks), 2 sets||2 min hold (with breaks), 2 sets|
|Side lying head holds||–||20 sec hold per side, 2 sets||30 sec hold per side, 2 sets||1 min hold per side, 2 sets|
|Side lying with cervical rotation||–||10 reps per side, 2 sets||10 reps per side, 2 sets||12 reps per side, 2 sets|
|Chin tuck with head lift||–||10 reps, 2 sets||10 reps, 2 sets||12 reps, 2 sets|
|Angular chin tuck with head lift||–||–||10 reps, 2 sets||12 reps, 2 sets|
|Rows with exercise band||–||–||10 reps, 2 sets||12 reps, 2 sets|
|Bilateral external rotation with exercise band||–||–||10 reps, 2 sets||12 reps, 2 sets|
* I did the two sets separately – once in the afternoon and once before I went to bed. It took me about 30 minutes per set.
** On my LAST day with my kinesiologist before the holidays, I learned that I was doing it all wrong. LOL. I was supposed to do the two sets consecutively in order to build endurance and strength in my neck muscles. He told me I should make a “workout” out of it. I’m not joking when I say that the entire program took me an hour and 20 minutes to complete everyday.
I have changed physical therapists now that I’m back in Québec City after the holidays. I am happy that my new PT has given me a new set of exercises, because let’s face it, an hour and 20 minutes per day of NECK EXERCISES is just too much.
Stay tuned for that new exercise program PLUS my progress after six weeks!