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Exercises & Yoga for Cervical Spondylosis and Neck Pain

Here are basic stretches and exercises that can be used by almost everyone in pain, though you should always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise plan. Take 10-15 minutes a day and go through the entire routine for maximum relief.

For each of the neck exercises, you should be seated comfortably with your shoulders, neck, and jaw as relaxed as possible.

Reach your right arm over your head so that your palm is on top of your skull, your fingers resting just above the left ear. Allow the weight of your arm, along with light fingertip pressure, to gently bend the head toward your right shoulder (fig.1).

Do not strain. Check to make sure your shoulders are still relaxed. You should be looking forward. Hold the pose for 30 seconds. Move your fingers toward the back left corner of your skull, this time allowing your head to bend forward and to the right, about 45 degrees in front of your shoulder (fig.2). Hold for 30 seconds. Now place your fingers at the back of your skull and gently pull your head straight forward, toward your chest (fig.3). Hold for 30 seconds. Switch hands and repeat the stretches in reverse order: Pull forward, then 45 degrees in front of your left shoulder, and finally directly over your left shoulder. Do not push your head backward.

excercise for cervical spondylosis and neck pain


Do an isometric push against your hand to strengthen the neck. Hold your left palm against the left side of your head (fig.4). Push your left hand against your head while also pushing your head toward your left hand at about half strength. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with your right hand on the right side of the head. Do the same exercise, using either hand, with the back of the head (fig.5) and the forehead (fig.6).

yoga for cervical spondylosis



Yoga for Cervical Spondylosis - Yoga for Chronic Neck Pain


If you determine you simply have a stiff neck, specific yoga exercises will help strengthen muscles and increase flexibility in the neck. Even gently exercising your neck helps lubricate and speed nutrients to the area. Here are a few exercises for your neck that are particularly helpful.


Neck Stretches


Follow these steps when practicing neck stretches:


• Start in seated position (cross legged)


• Sit up tall, reaching up through the top of the head


• Draw shoulders back


• Exhale, drop chin towards chest, keeping elbows and shoulders pulled back


• Inhale, raise the head back to center


• Do this five times, then on the last exhale, drop the chin and stay in this position for three breaths, breathing through the nose


• Inhale, raise head back to center


• Exhale, slowly drop right ear towards right shoulder


• Inhale, raise head back to center


• Do this five times, then on the last exhale, drop the ear towards the right shoulder and stay in this position for 3 breaths


• Inhale, raise head back to center


• Repeat on left side


If you continue to have a neck pain, your first task is to learn to reestablish a normal curve in as many situations as possible: sitting at your desk, standing in line at the grocery store, lying in bed.If done properly, all backward bends except Sethu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) engage your neck extensor muscles.


yoga pose

Asanas like Salabhasana (Locust Pose) and Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) – backbends in which the weight of the head is lifted against gravity – provide the most strengthening benefits for the back of the neck muscles. However, as you practice these asanas, see that you pull your shoulder blades away from your ears and do not to compress the back of your neck. Try to feel as if the cervical curve is distributed evenly throughout your entire neck and you're stretching your neck, even as you bend it backwards.

cervical exercises

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

yoga excercise





Locust Pose



Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand) can worsen the problem. As the pose drops your chin toward your chest, it makes it very easy to completely flatten the cervical curve or even curve the neck in the wrong direction. So, if you have a fairly recent, still painful, and acute neck injury like whiplash from an auto accident, avoid Shoulderstand. It would only exacerbate the injury, and practicing it too soon could significantly prolong your healing time.


Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand)

yoga neck pain

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cervical exercises

Half circles in the front can be done instead. To do this, first drop your chin to your chest. Move your chin towards the right shoulder then back to your chest. Then move your chin towards the left shoulder and back towards the chest. Repeat this movement three to five times.



Shoulder Moves

Hunch your shoulders as high as possible, then let them relax completely. Repeat this movement 5-6 times. Next, roll your shoulders in a backwards circular motion (lifting shoulders up, squeezing them back, dropping them down and then bringing them forward again). Repeat this motion 5-6 times, then move your shoulders in a forward circular motion. All these shoulder movements help to relax the muscles in your neck and upper back. Many of us hunch our shoulders unconsciously much of the time. Notice how they feel when they are relaxed and try to keep them this way.




Chest Expander


Stand up with your feet close together. Bring your hands behind your back and interlace your fingers. Tuck your tailbone in, so you don’t arch your low back too much. As you inhale, lift your hands away from your tailbone. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and you lift your arms and stay in this position for 3-4 breaths. On your next exhale, lower your arms back down. This exercise helps strengthen the muscles in your upper back and relieve tension in your upper back and shoulders.



Arm Lifts


Bring your arms straight out in front of you with your palms facing each other. As you inhale, reach your arms overhead, bringing your arms next to your ears, if you can do so without any pain. As you exhale, bring your arms back down in front of you. Repeat 4-8 times. This helps to relieve tension and build strength in the muscles in the upper back.



Press It

Place the palms of your hand against the back of your head and gently press while resisting with your head. Hold for a count of ten. Repeat with your palm on your forehead.


cervical exercisesContinue to page two to read more on cervical spondylosis exercises >


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