Cervical spondylosis, a disorder in which there is abnormal wear on the bones and cartilage of the neck, causes severe pain in both the neck and shoulders. It can also cause headaches. The disorder is the result of the natural aging process and of other factors like poor posture. However, its progression can be slowed with certain exercises.
Poor posture, especially while sitting for long periods of time, can contribute to cervical spondylosis. This is perhaps the greatest danger these days, as prolonged computer use and seated work becomes more and more prevalent in the workplace. Nutritional deficiencies can also be contributing factors. As mentioned, aging is another cause.
If your work requires long period of time in a seated position or in front of a computer, you must consciously relax the muscles of the shoulders and neck. Don’t hold your neck too stiffly. Strive to maintain a natural and comfortable position. Take frequent breaks to reduce the stress on these areas and look for ways to improve your posture.
In addition to taking breaks and working on posture, there are some exercises that you can do to alleviate the stress on you cervical vertebrae.
Stand straight and place your feet slightly apart and your hands on your hips. Make slow, controlled half circles with your head by moving your neck from left to right. Drop your chin to your chest and draw a curve with your chin up and to one side. Return to the center and draw another arc to the other side. Make about five repetitions of this exercise. Be sure to perform this exercise slowly and without jerking.
Standing with feet shoulder-width apart, lift the shoulders into a hunched position. Try to bring them to your ears and then relax. Complete five repetitions of this exercise also. Next make slow circles with your shoulders, rolling to the front first and then to the back.
Stand comfortably and extend your arms straight out to the front with palms facing each other. Lift the arms, bringing them near the ears, while in haling deeply. Move slowly and only to the extent that no pain is felt. Do about eight repetitions of this exercise. Consult a physical therapist if this or any exercise causes pain.
Many patients find relief through yoga. Many of the principles of stretching and relaxation found in yoga can relive the pain of cervical spondylosis. Here are some asanas that you can try.
Sit on your folded knees with one slightly higher than the other. Keeping the spine straight, place one hand on the shoulder blade of the same side. With the other hand, reach around the back and up to the other hand. Try to touch the fingers of the hand on the should blade. Remain in this position for a count of three then switch side and repeat.
Stand straight with feet together. Raise your arms up and over your head while inhaling deeply. Interlock your fingers so that your palms are extended upwards. Stretch the entire body upwards. Lower your hands till they rest on the top of your head while exhaling. Repeat this asana five times.
Consult a physician or physical therapist before beginning any of these exercises if you have been experiencing neck pain. These stretches and exercises can be helpful in treating cervical spondylosis when performed correctly but you can injure yourself with poorly executed movements.