Exercises & Yoga for Neck Pain and Spondylosis
Extension and flexion is especially helpful when you feel your neck and back stiffen. While sitting,
place your hands on your knees and push down.
This is the movement of bringing the head
forward so that the chin hits the chest and your face is staring straight down
at the floor. Do slowly five times.This exercise stretches the structures at the
back of the cervical spine, which are often kept in a tight position in normal
day to day postures. They can then become shortened and stop the neck moving
naturally (see below - right).
To make this more difficult you can retract
the neck slightly to start with (see above - right) and then flex the head forward,
increasing the stretch on the neck. Forward head flexion is great for those
patients who suffer from hypertonic cervical parapinals- which is essentially
pain in the back of the neck. This exercise can
be progressed by adding gentle pressure with your hands behind your head to hold
the end range position. Hold time can be up to 1 minute or until headache
resolves. This exercise can be modified by retracting your chin to end range
prior to bending your head and neck forward to bias the stretch to the upper
This is the movement of allowing the head to
go back until the face is looking directly at the ceiling. Donít do this
movement fast or forcefully as it forces all the small joints at the back of the
neck into an extreme position. This wonít do them any harm but might increase
Allow your neck to ease back steadily as you
do this, leaving your neck at the end of the movement for a few seconds.
NB If you feel dizzy when you do this leave it
out. Dizziness, especially if you are older, might indicate that the blood
vessels in your neck are being squeezed by the position.
Turn your head
slowly round to one side until it cannot easily go any further. Once you have
done five to one side do the other. Do not go from one side to the other in the
individual movements or roll your neck about.
Hold your neck
at the end of the movement for a few seconds as this is the most valuable part
of the movement to maintain or increase your movement. If you feel dizzy when
you do this leave it out. Dizziness, especially if you are older, might indicate
that the blood vessels in your neck are being squeezed by the position.
Side bends increase your
side-to-side flexibility. Start by lacing yourfingers together and pointing
your elbows outward. Bend at the waist,tilting your body to one side as far
as you can. Then bend your headand neck in the same direction. Repeat on
your other side. Repeat thisexercise 10 times.
This exercise increases the flexibility of
your entire spine. To begin, laceyour fingers together and point your elbws
outward. Slowly and gentlytwist at your waist, rotating your head and neck to
the same side.Repeat toward the other side. Repeat this exercise 10 times.
Lateral flexions (Tilt)
Keep your head
facing straight forward and try and tip your ear down towards the same shoulder.
Itís difficult to do this well and without rotating to one side. Sheís doing
pretty well in the picture, just lifting her chin up a little more than ideal.
This movement is quite severe on the neck joints so donít go hard at the
exercise. Donít move from side to side in the movement as that stops you getting
to the ends of the neck range and may aggravate your joints.
is quite severe on the neck joints so donít go hard at the exercise. Donít move
from side to side in the movement as that stops you getting to the ends of the
neck range and may aggravate your joints.
Neck Retraction (Chicken Tuck)
This is one of
the most useful neck movements as it counteracts the tendency we all have of
allowing our heads to poke forwards in a poor posture. Sheís showing the extreme
position of ďpoking chinĒ here.
When we sit,
which many of us do a lot of the time, we tend to slump and to keep our heads up
so our eyes are horizontal we arch our necks backwards slightly. This gives a
continual flexion (bending) posture to the lower neck and an extension (arching)
posture to the upper neck. Over time the tissues can shorten and give us
stiffness and pain. Typical pains are in the neck, upper shoulders, but this
posture can also give you headaches. Hereís the end point of the movement. Keep
your face straight on during the whole movement, drawing the head back and the
chin down slightly.
Do a chin tuck.
Keeping your chin parallel to the ground, bring your head straight back until
you feel a pull at the top of the back of the neck where it connects to the base
of the skull
If you get it
right, you will look funny, rather like a sergeant-major in an exaggerated
military neck posture. If you do it in public people will either laugh or give
you funny looks! The whole movement is like the forward and back movement that
chickens make. Hold the movement at the extreme of the backward posture for a
This exercise may be
progressed by adding gentle pressure with your fingertips on your chin to hold
the end range position.
Back to Yoga for Neck Pain and Spondylosis
next cervical strengthening exercise place your hand against the side of your
head. Try to bring to your ear to your shoulder, resisting the motion. Repeat
this exercise on the other side. Hold each position for 5 seconds and when
finished relax slowly.
For this neck stretching
exercise you want to stand with you feet shoulder width apart and place your
hands behind your head. Bend from side to side, making sure to bend only with
the upper back area and not with the waist or hips. Try to reach the upper elbow
to the celing. Hold each movement for 3-5 seconds. Now do the same thing with
the left side.
In the final cervical strengthening exercise, put
your right hand against the right temple. Attempt to turn your chin to your
right shoulder, resisting the motion. Repeat this on the left side. Hold for 5
seconds, then relax slowly. Do this neck exercise 3 times.