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How I avoided complex neck surgery by doing Physio exercise

A concerned young lady came to see me last year.

Before migrating to Australia, she developed neck and shoulder pain. An MRI revealed a bulging disc and a neurosurgeon told her that it would never get better. She had the surgery on her neck. It went well and her pain settled.

A few years later the pain returned and a new MRI revealed that the disc above her previous surgery was now bulging. Her new surgeon told her that it would never get better and again recommended surgery. She now had a young baby and, although her previous surgery went well, she just didn’t have the time to take off for this.

I assessed her neck muscles, joints and her posture. We made some changes to the way that she walked, worked, and carried herself and her baby. I taught her about the core, started her walking regularly and prescribed an exercise routine for her whole body, including her neck.  She came in regularly to progress her exercise program and the neck pain resolved.

Her latest MRI reveals that the bulging disc has retracted and she doesn’t need an operation after all. This is an excellent example where by simply doing neck exercises and addressing posture and activities of daily life can avoid more complex intervention.

Below is a stretch that is excellent to improve your mid back flexibility prior to commencing any neck strengthening program.

  • While you are on your hands and knees now extend one arm out in front of you
  • You will feel a stretch at the front of the shoulder
  • Now extend both arms out the front and let the mid back (the thoracic spine) gently stretch inwards towards the floor
  • Doing this stretch using a gym ball is a slightly gentler way to stretch the shoulders and mid back

I look forward to meeting you and showing you the 3 Exercises I find to be most effective in the treatment of neck pain.

Alex Sherborne


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