Your C5 and C6 are two of seven cervical vertebrae that make up your neck. Because of injury, disease or malfunctioning of these vertebrae, spinal fusion might be recommended. Spinal fusion surgically fuses vertebrae together to eliminate bone movement, reduce pain and prevent stretching of the area. Exercises for the upper back and neck after C5 and C6 fusion surgery concentrate on restoring flexibility and strength to your neck, upper shoulders and chest to encourage proper spinal alignment.
Gently Stretch Neck Side Muscles
Gentle neck stretches play an important role in reducing risks of further injury or re-injury, lowering pain levels and increasing range of motion, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Doing some gentle stretching exercises promotes better posture by counteracting muscle tightness. Decreasing your muscle tightness helps reduce your chances of imbalanced spinal movements which can cause further damage. Start including some head tilting maneuvers as part of your exercises for the upper back and neck after C5 and C6 fusion surgery. Sit upright in a firm chair with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Slowly tilt your head to the right until you feel a stretch in your neck and upper back. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds. Slowly return your head to the original position. Repeat the exercise 10 times. Do the exercise again to the left.
Gently Strengthen Posterior Muscles
Exercises for the upper back and neck after C5 and C6 fusion surgery need to concentrate on strengthening the muscles along the backside of your neck as part of an overall neck-strengthening program. Strong neck muscles provide better support for your cervical joints, making it easier to maintain good posture and proper vertebrae alignment. Start doing some backward resistance maneuvers using isometrics. While either standing upright or sitting in a firm chair. Interweave your fingers and form a cup with your hands. Lift your arms and place this cup along the backside of your head. Gently push your head backward into your hands, using your hands to resist movement, according to the University of Maryland. Hold this tension for eight seconds. When done correctly, you will feel tension in your neck, upper back and arms. Release the tension and return to the original position. Relax for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Gently Strengthen Frontal Muscles
While increasing your neck muscle strength, remember to include some exercises for the upper back and neck after C5 and C6 fusion surgery that work on the front part of your neck. Sit or stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart to do a gentle forward resistance exercise that utilizes isometrics. Isometrics strengthen muscles without moving joints. Place your right hand onto your forehead, according to the University of Maryland. Gently and slowly press your head into your hand. Use your hand to resist the movement. When done correctly, you will feel tension in your neck, chest, wrist, arms and upper back areas. Hold this tension for 10 seconds. Slowly release the tension and return to the original position. Relax for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Shortly after being discharged from the hospital, your exercises for the upper back and neck after C5 and C6 fusion surgery can include some gentle walking, according to Dr. John Sherman of Spine-Health.com. Walking at a slow, comfortable pace promotes healing while also increasing your energy levels. While standing upright and using good posture, walk for three minutes around your living room or house. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Gradually increase your pace and duration as you become stronger.