The End of Physical Therapy for my Broken Neck

It has happened–after four months of physical therapy, I have been released! It feels surreal. Just months ago, I was reliant upon a cervical collar to help keep me from becoming paralyzed or dead. Now, I’m able to do almost everything that I could do before breaking my neck. Since I’m at the end of physical therapy, here’s the update on how I’m doing and what my plan is to keep my neck mobile.

How Am I Doing?

You know what? I’m great! After my neck healed and I was released from my neck brace, I was in such constant pain that I really started to worry. When my doctor released me, he believed that I would be able to rehabilitate myself. He didn’t give me a script for physical therapy (despite my request for one). Then, he told me that if I called in and said that I was in pain, he would refer me to a pain specialist. Suffice to say, I never went back to see that doctor again.

Then, I started seeing my chiropractor for acupuncture treatment. My mom has been using acupuncture to treat some of the lasting effects from her stroke, so I thought I’d give that a shot. I had some good (but limited) pain relief.

Thankfully, my chiropractor gave me a script for physical therapy. I treated it like my Wonka Golden Ticket until I was able to start treatment after Christmas.

My main goal was pain relief. Ever since I removed the neck brace, I took several Tylenols a day just trying to dull the constant, nagging, daily pain. My very first day in physical therapy, we accomplished my main goal. Since that first session, I have only had some intermittent pain here and there.

My second goal was improved range of motion. Now, keep in mind that range of motion for your spine isn’t just a left, right, up, down kind of thing. Instead, your head swivels and you have varying degrees of looking up or down and to the sides. This is a real challenge. However, when I practice moving my head in this way, I find great improvement in my range of motion and overall neck mobility.

My Care Plan

Okay, it’s true that, just like many people post-injury, I do not practice my physical therapy as often as I should. In our last session together, my physical therapist created this beautiful (and sometimes intense) sequence for me to practice, but I don’t always feel like I have a free hour.

Instead, I prefer to practice the yoga sequence that she and I created together. Below, I’ve described both plans. Let my therapy help you strengthen your neck.

Remember, if you think that you have injured your neck, it’s best for you to go to your doctor. He or she can order all of the appropriate imaging, medicine, and therapy necessary for you to appropriately heal.

My Final Workout

Because I enjoyed using the Bosu ball so much in physical therapy, I decided to buy my own. This workout is divided into two segments:  Bosu ball up and Bosu ball down. When the Bosu ball is up, you can really challenge both sides of your body independently. By turning the Bosu over, you can create a sort of wobble board. Either way you challenge your stability.

Bosu Ball Up

  • Cervical range of motion. Look right and left for about 10 reps. Make sure that your head rotates fully. Don’t let your chin jut forward. Next, look up and down for about 10 reps. To look down, tuck your chin toward your neck and roll down one vertebrae at a time. Practice these exercises while standing on one leg (in the center of the Bosu), on your hands and knees (with your hands on the Bosu), and kneeling (with your knee on the Bosu instead of the ground). Make sure to do 10 reps for each direction in each position.
  • Lunges. First, practice side lunges toward the Bosu. Complete 10 reps on one side before switching to the other. Then, place the Bosu in front of you. Lunge to the center of the Bosu, shift your weight, and lift your back leg up to Tree pose. You can complete all the reps on one side or alternate–your choice.
  • Sunbird. Follow the directions for Sunbird. Try this exercise out with your hands on the Bosu and with your knees on the Bosu. Complete about 10 reps on each side.

Bosu Ball Down

  • Cervical range of motion. Look right and left for about 10 reps. Make sure that your head rotates fully. Don’t let your chin jut forward. Next, look up and down for about 10 reps. To look down, tuck your chin toward your neck and roll down one vertebrae at a time. Practice these exercises while balancing on one leg (with your foot in the center of the Bosu), in Plank, and in Forearm plank. Make sure to do 10 reps for each direction in each position.
  • Squats. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and parallel on the Bosu. Now, squat as low as you can while keeping your spine straight and your pelvis in neutral. Complete about 10 reps.
  • Bowling statue. While standing on one leg, let the other leg lift straight behind you. This puts you in a sort of Warrior 3. Then, return to upright, bend the leg that was behind, and reach the opposite arm toward the ceiling. Complete about 10 reps on each side.
  • Plank. Plain and simple, hold your best possible Plank at the end of your workout for as long as you can. Shoot for 30 seconds as your goal.

My Yoga Sequence

To get the most out of these poses, you want to practice them in a fluid, sequential way. If you want to add on or evolve this sequence, I recommend adding Warrior 1 and Half moon pose. Here’s our sequence:

  • Downward facing dog
  • Plank pose
  • Crescent lunge (right leg back)
  • Warrior 3 (right leg back)
  • Tree pose with upper thoracic extension (right leg rotated out)
  • Warrior 3 (right leg back)
  • Crescent lunge (right leg back)
  • Plank
  • Crescent lunge (left leg back)
  • Warrior 3 (left leg back)
  • Tree pose with upper thoracic extension (left leg rotated out)
  • Warrior 3 (left leg back)
  • Crescent lunge (left leg back)
  • Plank
  • Downward facing dog

I shared my physical therapy experience to help others who might need to rehabilitate or strengthen their necks. Let’s build a good resource of knowledge for others. Have you had to go through physical therapy to rehabilitate an injury? What are you doing to care for yourself? Let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for reading this article. If you enjoy the information supplied, please consider supporting this website!

Sign up for my newsletter to get more tips for health and happiness! Also, you can find me on FacebookYouTube and Pinterest as Custom Pilates and Yoga.

Sharing is caring!

About Sarah Stockett

Hi! I'm Sarah, and I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. When I'm not working with clients, I'm researching the best ways to get rid of pain. Do you want to learn how to practice yoga and Pilates safely in your own home? Or, do you want to know all my tips and tricks for pain relief? Join my mailing list and receive free goodies to help you.

shares