|Rehabilitation guidelines for a fracture of the cervical spine will be based on the fracture type and its management (operative, nonoperative) (Bucholz). The stability of the fracture must be ascertained prior to proceeding with rehabilitation.|
If the spinal cord is intact, the rehabilitation protocol depends on the stability of the fracture which may require 6 to 12 weeks of healing. The primary goal is to restore function and to control pain (Salter). Modalities such as cold and heat may help to relieve pain and muscle discomfort. Supervised range of motion and strengthening exercises of the neck, upper extremities, and upper trunk should be initiated when indicated. Simultaneously, individuals should be instructed in neck stabilization and postural exercises.
In addition to undergoing supervised rehabilitation, the individual should be instructed in a home exercise program to be practiced daily and continued independently after the completion of rehabilitation.
FREQUENCY OF REHABILITATION VISITS
|Physical Therapist||Up to 16 visits within 8 weeks|
|Physical Therapist||Up to 12 visits within 6 weeks|
|‡ Note on Nonsurgical Guidelines: Rehabilitation may not begin until tissue healing, about 6 to 8 weeks after fracture.|
|The table above represents a range of the usual acceptable number of visits for uncomplicated cases. It provides a framework based on the duration of tissue healing time and standard clinical practice.|
Source: Medical Disability Advisor