So here I am in 2019 and thought I would post so people who go through a cervical fusion might get some insight or reduction in fear as they go through it.
I took it really slow and sporadic in my Physio. I found many physio therapists would offer the same advice but every once in a while I would get something that really worked for me. Like the laying on my tummy and raising y shoulders to the ceilin....or laying on my back and extending out alternate arm and leg and switching...etc...etc....wall angels.... .....etc...Just keep at it after you are sure the bone has fused solid...I believe it took mine about 6-9 months.
So about 4-6 months after surgery, both times, I felt as though something was wrong. So much so that both times I went hand had another MRI. Both MRIs showed that the surgery itself had been ok but.......that another disc had degenerated and thus I needed a second surgery. I didn't take it easy after my first surgery and I think that accounted for the need for a second surgery. That being said I took it easy after my second surgery and now I have a really stiff neck all the time.
TIP 1) TAKE IT EASY!!! You are no longer the same as you were before....make sure you wait at least long enough for your bone to fuse and get hardened....and then don't be lazy. Work into your schedule, appropriate stretches, etc......DO NOT WAIT to long as scar tissue forms and stiff gets worse and worse if you do nothing.
Currently in 2020 I take it easy and my Thoracic 1 is starting to hurt....so how I am trying to deal with that is........
TIP 2) LOSE EXCESS WEIGHT!!!!! This is hard, I am 210 but should be 170 which means I have a bit of a belly but nothing crazy. This puts weight on my neck and strains it. I love good food and it was center of my life, but trying to put it n the backburner.
Here we are 2 years later and I constantly need to remind myself to keep my shoulders down!!!! They seem to permanently trying to hold up my neck which no longer needs holding up. So roll shoulder blades back together and push them to the floor all the time.
TIP 3) after a year or so I felt like I could finally get back to very little exercise, walking, stairmaster, stretching......but I had to take it slow and look silly with the 5 lbs weight shoulder flys etc....Don't do too much to fast. Instead of running, walk on an incline. Instead of lifting heavy weight, do more reps of small weights.....or use your own body. Bands or resistance training is probably the easiest on your joints.
TIP 4) research online as much as you can, reach out as someone out here will be in the same shoes.....at least you will find a person who knows what you are going through as no one really gets it that constant dull aching or constant pain becomes a mind game.
TIP 5) Do mindfulness meditation.....(not like praying!!!) As a Catholic, praying was always like a downtime meditation but mindfulness is more and as someone who is not into strange and alternative methods of living, I really believe that this helped me. BAsically you give your mind a break from everything.....try to think of nothing for 2 min, 5 min, 10 min.....listen to nothing but the sound of your voice....if you itch, scratch and return to your breath, if you think of anything other thatn the breath, its ok, bring yourself back to the breath....lots of great info online.
TIP 6) stay away from the Opiods on which you will become dependent if you can possibly do it. I take a sleeping pill before bed as my neck stiffness usually prevents me for a good falling to sleep. I also take a drug called amytriptaline, which dulls the nerves, helps with sleep and depression. For those where it is legal, Marijuana can knock you out but will only mask the pain mentally not physically....but hey if you can't sleep what the heck go for it!
TIP 7) Be good to yourself....its ok, that you can't do what you used to do, skating, skiing, snowboarding, music, etc....It is ok. and you still can do lots. Constantly remind yourself of the blessings you have. Something like 2000 children die of nutrition related deaths every day worldwide is an example that I repeat to myself. Find something or someone who is going through Cancer, ALS, etc. be their friend and help them deal with their situation as best you can. Visit, chat etc. YOU ARE AMAZING and WORTH IT.....put yourself first and then everyone elses demands second.
TIP 8) Don't isolate yourself from the world and make the TV your best friend. YOu will just get depressed. Pick up a new hobby, read, draw, art etc.....guitar.....write letters to friends with actual stamps!!!
TIP 9) share with others what you are going through as you never know where the seeds you sow might fall.
TIP 10) keep warm, and keep stress away as best you can. Anxiety, depression, loss, grief, loneliness are all very serious things and if left unchecked they can take over. You are not alone!
Best of Luck out there...better a pain in the neck than a pain in the butt!!!! ha ha
hang in there,