Best 5 Exercises for Cervical Kyphosis

Cervical kyphosis of the spine is a progressive deformity that can reduce your ability to look upwards. It can limit your range of motion and cause further complications. When it is severe, it can cause complications such as cervical myelopathy (a condition where the spinal cord can become compressed), breathing and swallowing difficulties and discomfort in the upper back region. It can affect your quality of life and ability to perform daily activities. However most cervical kyphoses are is slight and do not cause further complications.

Let’s make this really simple: your neck should have a gentle curve backwards. When you get a cervical lordosis, you lose the natural backward curve in the neck and it bends forwards.

We get approached by a lot of people who have had an MRI scan, and it shows a cervical kyphosis. This is quite common on MRI, and it’s a forward bending of two or more vertebrae into a flexed position. Although opinion varies on the cause, it is our strong believe this is caused by repeated neck flexion. In life, we tend to flex our necks a lot. Imagine sitting up in bed watching TV, using your phone, reading a newspaper, using a laptop, etc.

The cervical spine is composed of seven vertebrae that are stacked upon one another. The muscles, ligaments, and intervertebral discs hold them together. It also contains a portion of the spinal cord, which transmits messages from the brain to the rest of the body. C1 through C7 are the seven bones located between the skull and thoracic spine.

Signs and symptoms of a cervical kyphosis:

  • Neck pain and stiffness.
  • Headaches.
  • Difficulty standing up straight.
  • A hunched or rounded appearance of the neck.
  • In severe cases, it can also lead to numbness or weakness in the arms and legs, as well as obstruction to breathing or swallowing.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to speak to us at Surrey Physio for a clear medical diagnosis. This may involve a physical exam, imaging, tests, and other diagnostic procedures.

Treatment for cervical kyphosis typically involves a combination of medications, physical therapy, and other interventions as necessary. Physiotherapy can be especially beneficial, as it can help improve your posture, strengthen the muscles of the neck and upper back, and increase your range of motion.

At Surrey Physio, we specialise in providing comprehensive physiotherapy services for individuals with cervical kyphosis and other spinal conditions. Our experienced physiotherapists will work with you to develop a personalised treatment plan that addresses your unique needs and goals.

Some of the most common physiotherapy techniques used to treat cervical kyphosis include:

  • Exercises to strengthen the muscles of the neck and upper back.
  • Postural retraining to help you maintain a neutral spine.
  • Range of motion exercises to improve your flexibility and mobility.
  • Manual therapy techniques to relieve pain and tension in the muscles and joints of the neck and upper back.
  • Education on proper ergonomics and body mechanics to reduce strain on the neck and spine.

If you have been diagnosed with cervical kyphosis, it is important to work closely with your physio or osteopath to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that meets your needs and goals. By incorporating physiotherapy or osteopathy into your treatment plan, you can help reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

We have developed 5 exercises we think will help you with your symptoms:

Neck rotation overstretch

Rotate your neck to its end of range. Place the palm of your hand on the side of your head, and gently push your neck into slightly more rotation. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds, and relax. Repeat three times. This is an excellent exercise to improve rotation and mobility in your neck.

Neck extension goof ball

Tilt your neck backwards pushing against a goofball resting against the wall. You will feel a gentle contraction of the muscles at the back of your neck, to help strengthen your neck. Hold the contraction, and then relax. Repeat 10 reps, for three sets.

Cervical SNAGs | Neck Extension Mobilisation Exercise

Use a strap, belt, or towel. Place the belt behind your neck, at the required level as guided by your therapist. Move your chin forwards and extend your neck and use the belt to assist. Perform within the pain-free range. This will help improve extension in your neck. Repeat 10 reps, for three sets.

How to improve your neck lordosis part 1

Lying on your back, use a pillow to support your head, and place a rolled up towel (of approximately 4 inches/10cm diameter) under your neck. You should feel the towel pushing upwards into your neck. This is a great exercise for people who spend too much time forward flexing their necks, e.g. computer and laptop users. Lie on the rolled up towel for 5 minutes per day.

Sitting back extension

Support your neck by placing your hands interlocked behind your neck. Rounds you lower back slightly, to focus the movement to the upper back, and slowly bend backwards. Repeat 10 reps, for three sets.

At Surrey Physio, we are committed to providing compassionate, patient-centred care to individuals with cervical kyphosis and other spinal conditions. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how physiotherapy can help you on your journey to better health and wellness.

(Therapists, osteopaths, sports therapists, chiropractors reading this page… if you love the exercises here, then please check out the amazing exercise prescription tool You can sign up for a free 14-day trial, and it’s affordable to buy, with pricing starting from £11.23 per month.

If you would like more info on cervical kyphosis, this is a cool article by Rehab My Patient:

If you are a patient, in pain, or you have recently been diagnosed with a cervical kyphosis, please call us to discuss your case further. Surrey Physio have an amazing team of therapists to help you recover from pain, but also to achieve top performance. Call us on 0208 685 6930 or click the link at the top to book online.)