Neck pain medically termed as ‘cervical spondylosis’, has become a common problem, experienced by most of us at some point in our lives. It is an age-related medical problem, mostly seen above the age of 40. A modern lifestyle that can involve longer working hours and lack of both exercise and rest is causing people to suffer from neck pain at a much younger age. Cervical spondylosis is a degenerative condition which occurs due to the wear and tear of the cartilages and bones of the cervical spine. It is also referred as cervical osteoarthritis or neck arthritis.
NECK FLEXION AND EXTENSION (DROP AND RAISE)
Stand up straight or sit in a chair. Slowly drop your head forward until your chin touches your chest. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Return to your starting position. Next, lean your head slightly back. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat the stretch in each direction 5 times.
This stretch works both the front and back of your neck to increase flexibility and movement.
HEAD TILT TOWARD LEFT AND RIGHT SIDE
Sit in a chair or stand up straight. Slowly tilt your head toward your right shoulder while keeping your left shoulder down. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Return to center. Repeat on the left side, tilting your head toward your left shoulder while holding your right shoulder down. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat the whole sequence 5 times. This opposing motion works the sides of your neck.
Here is another good exercise for the sides of your neck.
Stand up or sit in a chair with good posture. Slowly turn your head to the right, keeping your chin straight. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Return to center. Slowly turn your head to the left. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Return to center. Repeat five times on each side.
Sit in a chair with your shoulders back and your head straight. Pull your chin straight in, without dipping it down. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds and feel the stretch in your neck. Return to your original position. Repeat 5 times.
While you focus on your neck, don’t neglect your shoulders. Exercising your shoulders also strengthen the muscles that support your neck. Shoulder rolls are a basic, easy exercise to keep your shoulder and neck joints fluid.
Sit in a chair or stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Roll your shoulders up, back, and down in one smooth motion. Repeat five times. Then reverse the motion, rolling your shoulders up, forward, and down. Repeat 5 times.
Given below are a group of isometric exercises that may be beneficial to relieve and prevent cervical spondylosis or (neck pain) and enhances to build strength, flexibility, and increase the range of motion
Place your palms at the base of the head and apply light forward pressure. Meet the resistance with your head and neck
Place the index and middle fingers of both your hands in between your eyes, and apply light backward pressure, meet the resistance with your head and neck.
Sit erect with your head in a neutral position; place your palms above/around the ear. Apply light pressure with the hand and meet the resistance with the head.
NECK STRETCHING (RIGHT AND LEFT SIDE)
Take right ear towards right shoulder until a stretch is felt on the left side. Add to stretch by adding little pressure from the right hand and ensuring left shoulder is kept down. Just a gentle stretch should be felt. Repeat on opposite side. Hold for 10 to 15 sec for each side.
STERNOCLEIDOMASTOID (SCM) STRETCH
The sternocleidomastoid is the large, rope-like muscle at the front of each side of the neck. This becomes tight with a forward head position. Stretch by looking over the right shoulder, and then tilting the head back. Repeat on opposite side. Hold for 10 to 15 sec for each side.
PREVENTION OF CERVICAL SPONDYLOSIS
There are no specific methods which can prevent the pathologic process of cervical spondylosis. However, you can avoid the occurrence of the condition by following some preventive measures, such as
Regular exercises to enhance flexibility, motion, and strength of the neck.
Always take some mini breaks (5-10 min) while working on the computer or any other activity that requires continuous sitting.
Always use a thin pillow and firm mattresses.
When getting up from lying position, always take a turn to one side first, and then get up.
If the pain is acute, then take medicines as directed by your doctor, immobilize the neck and take complete rest.