Physiotherapy treatment for a fractured neck: What patients can expect

A fractured neck is a serious injury, and it occurs more often than you might think. Slips and falls, vehicle accidents and sudden movement of the neck muscles can cause a fracture in many different parts of the neck area. Perhaps the most common type of neck injury is a femoral neck fracture. This injury mostly occurs in older patients, owing to weakened neck bones and muscles. Conditions such as osteoporosis also increase the risk of femoral neck fractures.

The good news is that physiotherapy can be used to treat a fractured neck. By carrying out strategic movements after surgery, the affected bones can be strengthened and restored back to normal. Here's what you can expect when receiving physiotherapy for a femoral neck fracture.

1. Weight-bearing movements

Remember that your neck supports the head and its associated muscles. After a neck fracture, you'll need to carry out weight-bearing movements to ensure that your upper neck area is strong enough. There are many different weight exercises for a femoral fracture, including walking on your knees, crawling, bending gently, standing upright and sitting/standing motions. The purpose of these strategic movements is to build durability and resilience in the neck muscles.

2. Passive therapy

In addition to the active movements mentioned above, some passive techniques are also critical to promoting neck healing. Such treatment will involve a combination of ice pack therapy, massages and heat therapy. Your physiotherapist will recommend a customised treatment plan that falls in line with your current health and fitness. For example, more frequent treatment may be necessary if pain and discomfort are affecting your range of motion. A different treatment plan may be necessary for stiffness issues. 

3. Taking deep breaths

Breathing deeply and coughing is one of the best ways of exercising your neck muscles. By taking deep breaths in regular intervals, you can restore the strength and durability of your neck over time. Coughing also exerts light pressure on affected neck tissues. And when both exercises are carried out regularly, you'll slowly build resilience and flexibility. Deep breaths and coughing also prevent infections such as pneumonia from affecting your neck region.

4. Range of motion exercises

As your neck continues to heal after surgery, you can begin to carry out range of motion exercises. These exercises involve gently moving your neck from side to side, and gradually increasing how far you can crane your neck with each movement. This action builds up durability while decreasing pain and stiffness.

To learn more, contact your local physiotherapy clinic.