Did you know that neck spondylosis affects millions worldwide, causing persistent discomfort and reduced neck mobility? If you’re struggling with neck pain, you’ve come to the right place. Neck spondylosis, also known as cervical spondylosis or osteoarthritis of the neck, is a common age-related condition that can significantly reduce one’s quality of life.
The good news is that there are effective exercises and lifestyle modifications that can alleviate pain caused due to cervical spondylosis, improve neck mobility, and enhance your overall well-being. In this ultimate guide, we’ve compiled a comprehensive collection of exercises and tips to help you relieve neck apin and regain a pain-free life.
What is neck spondylosis?
Neck spondylosis, also known as cervical spondylosis, is a medical condition that primarily affects the neck region. It is a result of the natural ageing process and wear and tear on the cervical spine, which is the portion of the spine located in the neck.
Let’s get into the biological reasons behind the pain to understand this condition better. Nestled between these vertebrae are spongy discs akin to cushions, which perform the dual role of providing structural support and ensuring flexibility. As we age, these cervical discs experience a gradual reduction in moisture and suppleness, resulting in a diminished capacity to absorb shocks and uphold their customary state.
How to diagnose cervical spondylosis?
Diagnosis of cervical spondylosis involves:
- Medical History: A healthcare provider assesses your symptoms and medical history.
- Physical Examination: The provider examines your neck for pain, stiffness, and range of motion.
- Imaging: X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans are often used to visualise the cervical spine and confirm the diagnosis by identifying spinal changes and possible nerve compression.
What is the main cause of spondylosis?
The primary catalyst for cervical spondylosis stems from the natural ageing process. As we advance in age, our spinal discs gradually lose moisture and elasticity, rendering them more vulnerable to damage. Other contributing factors and risk elements encompass –
Genetics: A familial history of cervical spondylosis can elevate the chances of developing the condition.
Lifestyle Elements: Elements such as poor posture, excessive neck strain from activities like heavy lifting or repetitive neck movements, and smoking can expedite the degenerative alterations in the cervical spine.
Injuries: Prior neck injuries or trauma can heighten the susceptibility to cervical spondylosis.
Common Symptoms of Neck Spondylosis
Neck spondylosis symptoms tend to vary among individuals, but common symptoms include –
- Neck pain and stiffness.
- Limited neck movement.
- Radiating pain, numbness, or weakness in the arms.
- Headaches, particularly at the base of the skull.
- Muscle weakness in the arms and shoulders.
Aggravating Factors for Neck Spondylosis:
- Poor posture, especially when using electronic devices or working at a computer.
- Repetitive neck strain from activities like lifting heavy objects.
- Smoking, as it can accelerate spinal degeneration.
- Lack of regular exercise, which can weaken neck muscles.
- Obesity, as it adds stress to the cervical spine.
How does physiotherapy help in treating cervical spondylosis?
Physiotherapy for cervical spondylosis can help in –
- Improving Mobility: Exercises and techniques enhance neck range of motion.
- Strengthening Muscles: Targeted exercises build neck and shoulder muscles for better support.
- Pain Management: Modalities like heat, cold, and manual therapy reduce pain and inflammation.
- Improved Posture: Proper posture education prevents further strain on the neck.
- Education: Teaches self-care techniques and lifestyle modifications aids long-term pain relief and prevention.
Best Neck Exercises to Relieve Cervical Spondylosis
Head Tilt (Side-to-Side)
Begin by gently tilting your head to one side, bringing your left ear closer to your shoulder. Hold this position for a few seconds, then repeat the same motion on the opposite side. This particular movement serves to stretch the muscles in your neck.
Slowly turn your head to the left, trying to bring your chin over your left shoulder. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then repeat on the right side. This exercise helps alleviate cervical spondylosis by increasing neck mobility to relieve stiffness.
Initiate a gentle circular motion with your neck, first rotating it clockwise and subsequently counterclockwise. This action can be effective in alleviating any stiffness you may be experiencing.
Whether you’re seated or standing, elevate your arms directly in front of you and then proceed to lift them overhead. This exercise is aimed at strengthening the muscles in your shoulders and neck.
Perform a circular motion by rolling your right and left shoulder both backward and forward. This motion is beneficial for easing tension in the upper regions of your back and neck.
When you’re seated or standing, draw your head backwards, as though you’re aiming to create a slight double chin. This particular exercise is effective for strengthening the muscles that provide support to your neck.
Prone Cobra Exercise
Lie down with your face towards the ground, keeping your arms beside you. Elevate your chest and head off the floor while squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Shoulder Scapular Squeeze
Whether you’re in a seated or standing position, ensure that your arms are at your sides. Proceed to squeeze your shoulder blades together as if you’re attempting to grip a pencil between them while keeping your left ear aligned with your left shoulder.
Neck Drop and Raise
Gently lower your chin towards your chest and then raise it upwards, directing your gaze toward the ceiling.
Begin by pressing your hand against your forehead, exerting pressure as if you’re trying to push your head forward while concurrently resisting with your neck muscles. Hold this position for several seconds, and then repeat the process in various directions, including the sides, back, and both sides of your neck.
Disclaimer: It is best to consult a doctor before starting off with any exercise with neck spondylosis.
What Precautions Are Required During Exercise?
When exercising for cervical spondylosis:
- Seek guidance from a healthcare provider or physical therapist for a tailored exercise plan.
- Ensure you perform exercises with the correct form to prevent injury.
- Start with low-intensity exercises and gradually increase intensity as tolerated.
- Maintain a regular exercise routine for lasting benefits.
- Drink water to prevent dehydration during workouts.
- Respect your body’s limits and adjust exercises accordingly
- Don’t push yourself too hard; rest when needed.
- Include warm-up and cool-down stretches in your routine to prevent muscle strain.
- If necessary, use recommended aids or equipment for exercises.
When should you avoid exercising?
Do not exercise if you have:
- Severe Pain: If exercising worsens your pain significantly.
- Acute Inflammation: During active flare-ups or acute injuries.
- Unstable Medical Conditions: If you have other medical conditions that make exercise unsafe, consult your healthcare provider before starting any exercise program.
How to tell if you’re exercising at the right level?
With neck spondylosis, seeking a doctor’s help before beginning any exercise routine is best. You can also consult a physiotherapist who can examine you and advise exercises accordingly.
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To Tell If You’re Exercising at the Right Level:
- It’s important to strike a balance during your workout – you should find it challenging yet not overwhelming.
- Your heart rate should increase but still allow you to carry on a conversation .
- You may experience mild to moderate muscle fatigue but not extreme pain or discomfort.
Number of Sets of exercise:
The number of sets you perform hinges on your fitness level and specific objectives. For those seeking overall strength and fitness improvements, completing 2-4 sets of each exercise is customary.
Frequency of Exercise:
- Your exercise routine should ideally encompass at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise weekly, distributed across multiple days.
- Include strength-training exercises at least 2-3 times per week, targeting different muscle groups.
When to Stop:
- Stop exercising if you experience severe pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, or other serious symptoms.
- Consult a healthcare provider if you have concerns about continuing exercise due to a medical condition or injury.
Benefits of Exercises for Cervical Spondylosis
Exercises for cervical spondylosis offer several benefits:
- Pain Relief: They can reduce neck pain and discomfort.
- Improved Mobility: Exercises enhance neck flexibility and range of motion.
- Muscle Strength: Strengthening exercises help support the cervical spine.
- Posture Correction: Certain exercises for cervical spondylosis aids to improve posture, reducing strain on the neck.
- Prevention: Regular exercise can prevent the worsening of the condition.
- Enhanced Quality of Life: They improve overall well-being and daily functioning.
Final Thoughts: How Can Nivaan Care Help?
In this comprehensive blog, we’ve explored the essential exercises and valuable insights to help you lead a pain-free life despite the challenges of cervical spondylosis. With a focus on targeted exercises, proper posture, and expert advice, you can take proactive steps to manage and alleviate neck pain.
Nivaan Care excels in dealing with the challenges of neck or cervical osteoarthritis and various other pain-related conditions. Whether you’re seeking relief from the discomfort of neck spondylosis or other chronic pain conditions, Nivaan Care’s commitment to your well-being can make a profound difference in your journey towards a pain-free and fulfilling life.