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  • mf18nh
    Post count: 2

    Dr., Had successful surgery in Boston a year ago to alleviate shoulder and arm pain from c4 and c5 and c6 foraminal stenosis. Crazy stuff…… could not drive, sit in an airplane or lay flat. Residual numbness in left thumb but OK. Now live in Colorado. Know that there is moderate stenosis in right side cervical foramina also but no symptons. Also understand that corrected stenosis can fill in.

    Question is…..are there any exercises and related techniques that I should avoid? For example, when I do push ups I keep my head tilted back because I thought that opened the foramina. Same with sit ups. But I read somewhere that the exact opposite was true.

    Just trying to avoid anything that will compress those cervical nerves or encourage stenosis. I have put on 20 lbs. since the surgery and I need to get an running and weight exercise routine I can trust. Thanks for answering.

    Donald Corenman, MD, DC
    Post count: 8460

    Extension or bringing the head backwards (looking up) causes the neuroforamen to narrow. The neuroforamen is the exit hole for the nerve root. Activities that induce this maneuver are swimming, road and mountain bike riding, the serve and overhead in tennis among other activities.

    You can take steps to reduce this extension. Putting a shorter and higher angled stem on your bike will reduce the amount of extension. Using a snorkel to swim will reduce extension.

    Strengthening the SCM muscles can help. Look for the video on this site (neck sit-ups) to understand how to strengthen these muscles. Careful with reverse neck sit-ups as you do not want to extend your neck too much.

    Dr. Corenman

    Post count: 2

    Thanks, Dr.

    So I will keep my chin down when doing pushups and situps.

    I neglected to tell you that about 1 month after this surgery I started with backaches, when I go for a walk, in those thick muscles that run along the spine, maybe it is the trap or the Rhomboideus major. It really feels like a backache that goes with the flu.

    In any case, I am convinced that the original stenosis pain was triggered by pull ups and chin ups. I had managed to get up to about 12 each that I did faithfully everyday for a year. I came across a Marine major on the web who posted the same symptons as my own, before surgery, and the only thing we had in common was no stenosis symptons until we got serious with the pull and chin ups. Too bad because they are great exercises and I was about to start climbing rope. But I stay away from them now.

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