I like to knit, crochet, and do other handwork at night after work. I've done this as a form of relaxation for years. But now with a disc problem and bad arthritis, my doctor has recommended fusing two or three of the bones together in my neck. Will I have to give up my sewing?
That's a good question and one you should definitely ask your surgeon. The answer may depend on the type of surgery performed and method of fusion used. With a successful fusion, your neck motion will be limited. Long periods of time with your head and neck bent forward may not be advised -- especially at first during the healing phase.
It may be possible to modify your activity. When doing hand work, set a timer for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, get up and move around. Do one or two of the range-of-motion exercises prescribed after surgery. When working on a project, place a bolster or firm pillow under your elbows and forearms. This will help raise your hands up -- rather than bending your neck down.
You may find it necessary to limit the number of hours you sit engaged in this type of activity. Sometimes a surgeon will agree that it is okay to use a soft collar as a reminder not to bend forward. But this must be used carefully with equal amounts of time moving slowly and gently through all available motion to avoid stiffness and loss of motion.
Jesse E. Bible, BS, et al. Postoperative Bracing After Spine Surgery for Degenerative Conditions: A Questionnaire Study. In The Spine Journal. April 2009. Vol. 9. No. 4. Pp. 309-316.
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