Best 5 Exercises for Cervical Spondylosis
Cervical spondylosis is a common age-related condition that affects the joints and discs in the neck. It is also occasionally known as osteoarthritis of the neck or cervical osteoarthritis. This condition can lead to chronic neck pain and stiffness, and if left untreated, can cause nerve compression and other complications. In this article, we will explain the anatomy of the cervical spine, the difference between cervical spondylosis and cervical kyphosis, and how physiotherapy can help manage this condition. And of course, we’ll cover our five best exercises to do if you have cervical spondylosis.
Let’s make this simple. Cervical spondylosis is wear and tear in the neck. Some physiotherapists don’t like the term “wear and tear” and it is quite an old-fashioned term. However, in reality, your neck becomes worn as we age, it happens to all of us. But this wear can happen at different speeds, and different severities. In some people, it happens from the age of 30, and in others, it could be as late as 75.
Anatomy of the Cervical Spine
The cervical spine has seven vertebrae that sit top of each other. These vertebrae allow movement to the neck and are separated by discs, which act as shock absorbers and maintain the neck in an upright position. The vertebrae are also connected by facet joints, which allow for smooth movement of the neck.
Cervical Spondylosis vs. Cervical Kyphosis
Cervical spondylosis is a condition that occurs when the discs and joints in the neck begin to deteriorate due to wear and tear over time. This can cause bone spurs to develop, which can press on the nerves in the neck and cause pain and discomfort. In contrast, cervical kyphosis is a condition where the normal curvature of the neck is reduced and the neck begins to curve forward. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor posture, injury, or degenerative conditions such as osteoporosis.
Symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis
The most common symptoms of cervical spondylosis include chronic neck pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion in the neck. Some people may also experience headaches, numbness or tingling in the arms or hands, and weakness in the arms or legs. In severe cases, cervical spondylosis can cause nerve damage and lead to more serious complications.
Treatment for Cervical Spondylosis
Physiotherapy and osteopathy can be a very effective treatment for cervical spondylosis, and we see it ALL THE TIME at Surrey Physio. I would see we see dozens of people every few days with this. Your Surrey Physio practitioner can develop a customised treatment plan based on your individual needs and goals. This may include exercises to improve range of motion and flexibility in the neck, as well as strengthening exercises to improve posture and reduce strain on the neck. In addition, a physiotherapist may use manual therapy techniques such as massage or manipulation to help relieve pain and improve mobility.
Other treatments for cervical spondylosis may include medication to relieve pain and inflammation, as well as surgery in severe cases. However, physiotherapy and osteo are often the first line of treatment for cervical spondylosis, as it can be very effective in reducing pain and improving function.
Why Physiotherapy is Important for Cervical Spondylosis
Physiotherapy and osteopathy are important for cervical spondylosis because it can help to reduce pain and improve function without the need for invasive treatments such as surgery. In addition, physiotherapy can help to prevent further degeneration of the neck by improving posture and reducing strain on the neck. By working with a physiotherapist, you can develop a customised treatment plan that addresses your individual needs and goals and helps you to achieve a better quality of life.
Choosing a Physiotherapy Clinic
If you are looking for physiotherapy for cervical spondylosis, it is important to choose a clinic that has experience treating this condition. Surrey Physio is a leading physiotherapy clinic that specialises in the treatment of neck and spine conditions, including cervical spondylosis. Our team of experienced physiotherapists can develop a customised treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs and goals. We use a variety of techniques, including manual therapy, exercise, and education.
For now, please try these 5 exercises:
How to improve your neck rotation
Rotate your neck slowly to the left by looking over your left shoulder. Take your neck to a comfortable end of range. Repeat to the right. Make sure you keep your shoulder and back relaxed. This is an excellent exercise to improve rotation and mobility in your neck. Repeat 10 times each side.
Neck side flexion overstretch
Use your hand to gently pull the head a little further, creating a stretch on the opposite side of your neck. Now repeat to the right. This exercise will help improve mobility to your neck. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and repeat twice each side.
How to stretch your levator scapulae
Bend your neck forwards, and then side-bend your neck by taking your left ear towards your left shoulder. Hold on to a chair to make the stretch stronger. This will allow you to feel a stretch at the back and side of your neck. You can make the stretch stronger by assisting with your hand. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and repeat twice each side.
Isometric neck rotation strengthening
Place your palm on the back of your head, and resist tilting your head backwards. Your head will stay fairly still. You may feel a gentle contraction of the muscles at the back of your neck. Repeat ten reps.
Neck Isometric Pillow Retraction
Lie flat on your back, with your head on a pillow. Keeping your neck straight, press your head into the pillow to create some resistance. Your chin should not tilt up toward the ceiling during the movement. This is an isometric neck extension exercise. Repeat ten reps.
Cervical spondylosis is very common, treatable (not curable), and can easily be improved with manual therapy. We simply mobilise your neck and improve the range of movement, and this always helps. Achieving full range of mobility to your neck is really key.
(Therapists, osteopaths, sports therapists, chiropractors reading this page… if you love the exercises here, then please check out the amazing exercise prescription tool www.rehabmypatient.com. 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 want more info on cervical spondylosis, this article written by Rehab My Patient is good: https://www.rehabmypatient.com/neck/cervical-spondylosis
If you are a patient, in pain, or suffering with degenerative changes in your neck, 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.)