Yes-No neck exercises are range of motion activities (actual motion of the neck) unlike “around the worlds” which are strengthening without motion exercises (isometrics). With uncomplicated recoveries, these exercises can start about one week after surgery when the collar comes off.
As the title implies, these motions are flexion- extension (“yes”) and right and left rotation (“no”). With the “yes” direction move the neck down until it feels “tight” but not painful and stop. Nod your head the other direction (extension) until the same feeling is noted and stop. Continue to change directions until the neck feels “tighter” or fatigued and stop.
Repeat for the “no” maneuver with the same above limitations.
These stretches can be done as many times per day as is comfortable. It is vitally important not to cause pain and not to stretch too far as this will cause increased inflammation and actually temporarily reduces range of motion.
Over a short period of time, your neck motion will improve back to almost normal. Physical therapy which starts 6 weeks after surgery should restore strength and range of motion to full recovery.
This exercise is strictly for patients whom have had surgery at our clinic. Other surgeons may use very different rehabilitation protocols and these are not recommended unless your surgeon has read and agreed with these.