Top Surgery Neck & Back Pain

Many folks head into their top surgeries knowing that their chest may feel painful or tight for days to weeks post-surgery. But they are often surprised to discover that pain in their necks or backs are bothering them as much or more than their actual incision-related pain. Between the muscle splinting (guarding) that happens post-trauma, and the limited sleeping and resting positions that recovery requires, the neck and back muscles may start screaming out in discomfort. 

The good news is that there are several things you can do do get rid of your post-op top surgery neck and back pain, and I’m going to show you exactly how to do it in this video and eBook. You will gain a more clear understanding of why neck pain after top surgery develops in the first place, and also learn the steps you can take to help minimize your discomfort. Follow along week-by-week. All of the exercises you learn in the early weeks can be continued into the later stages of your recovery. Of course, please defer to the post-op instructions and restrictions given to you by your surgeon, and immediately discontinue any of these exercises if they cause you pain.

FULL VIDEO TRANSCRIPT of Top Surgery Post op Neck & Back Pain: How to Fix it…Many folks head into their top surgeries knowing that their chest may feel painful or tight post op. But they are often surprised to discover that pain in their necks and backs are bothering them as much or more than the pain of the incisions themselves. The good news is that there are exercises you can do at home, starting week 1 of your top surgery recovery to decrease your post op neck and back pain. I’m going to show you exactly those exercises in this video. So hit that Like button and stay tuned. Hello, I’m Dr. Sandy Baird, welcome to another video! If this is your first time here and you want to learn how to move better and how to get out of pain, start now by subscribing and clicking the bell so you don’t miss a single weekly video. Top surgery neck and back pain post-op are so common but rarely talked about! I’m going to explain why neck and back pain builds up with top surgery post op, then we’ll dive right into some exercises you can do at home post-top surgery to minimize your neck pain and back pain. Between the muscle splinting (guarding) that happens post-trauma, and the limited sleeping and resting positions that recovery requires, the neck and back muscles may be screaming out in discomfort. If you want to learn more in-depth about why neck and back pain develops, you can click on the link in the description box to go watch my other video about how to fix your pandemic-related neck pain. And you can also download my free guide to top surgery recovery neck and back pain. It will take you step-by-step, week-by-week into the appropriate movements and exercises to do to minimize pain in these areas. So let’s go right into the first exercises, starting with active neck ranges of motion {clip of active ranges of motion demonstrations} The next set of exercises is a series of neck and back stretches. If you currently have overhead reaching restrictions (check with your surgeon, the general recommendation seems to be no overhead reaching for the first 6 months post-op.) you can skip the step i’m about to mention about reaching an arm up to add overpressure. Here we go…{clip of stretches}And one other really helpful thing you can do is some self-massage with massage balls or other tools. Getting things into position will probably be the most challenging part of this, but once you’re there, the exercises are very gentle.  You could also do these inclined on pillows and ask a friend or partner to help you setup the massage balls in a good spot. And if getting to the floor is just not an option right now, you can perform the upper back massage ball exercises standing with your back facing a wall. And here’s a hot tip…drop one massage ball into a long sock of stocking, and you can use that as a handle to get the ball positioned properly behind you are prevent the ball from dropping down as you shift positions. Similar to the last set of exercises, there are some optional arm motions that you should skip if you have overhead restrictions, but I wanted to leave them in the video so that you could see options for how to deepen the work once your restrictions are lifted (no pun intended). You can download my free guide (link in the description box) to see all the exercises and notes about what would be appropriate one week post-op, two weeks post-op, etc. And one more note,I am a doctor, but I might not be your doctor, so please defer to any top surgery post-op instructions your surgeon has provided you. And don’t perform these exercises if they cause you any pain. OK with those disclaimers out of the way, here’s how to self-massage your neck and upper back to help out with the pain and tension in those areas. {clip of ball self massage} So I’ve shared some amazing information and tips with you today, and it should go A LONG way towards getting rid of your neck and back pain during top surgery recovery. If things have progressed too far or just aren’t resolving with home exercises, you still may need the services of a sports chiropractor or physiotherapist to release those tight muscles and address any joint fixations that may be present as a result of those tight muscles pulling on the structure. I offer those services in Oakland California. Chiropractic adjustments and muscle work are indicated as soon as you feel comfortable receiving them. The biggest struggle is generally getting to your practitioner’s office (might not have a lot of energy, need to coordinate transportation, travel pillows). And it may look a bit different from other treatments you’ve received, like we might do most of the work with you in a seated position, or with you lying face down on a protective chest/body cushion (6weeks-6months). But like anything in life, chiropractic help is there if you need it, we’ll just need to be creative and flexible. Also if you’re having any symptoms like radiation down the arm, tingling, numbness, or weakness, you’ll also want to have a professional evaluate that. But if it’s mainly a stiff, tight, achy, painful neck that you’re dealing with, and you want to take things into your own hands and resolve much or all of your neck pain at home, go ahead, right now, head on down to the description box and click the link to download your “TOP SURGERY NECK AND BACK PAIN RECOVERY” eBook. It has my whole at-home system outlined step by step with the complete set of stretching, strengthening, mobility, and self-myofascial release exercises that you need to do to fix your neck and back pain. And I also touch on several lifestyle tips and tricks that will also help you have the most comfortable and effective recovery possible. I hope you found this video helpful. If you did, please be sure to hit that LIKE button, and share this video with someone who you know could use it. If you haven’t already subscribed to my channel, remember to do so over here, and there are more videos over here you may be interested in as well. All right, thanks for watching and I’ll see you on the next one.