Cervical Spondylosis Exercises

Learn cervical spondylosis exercises

Those who sit in offices, work on computers at home or stand at cash registers all day are no strangers to neck pain. Poor posture, lack of quality rest, as well as sleeping positions all contribute to cervical spondylosis, or neck pain. Few people, however, are aware that as the body ages, so do its bones. There's no amount of quality sleep or good posture in the world that will stop aging from happening. There are, however, a few things people can do to help, including cervical spondylosis exercises.

What Exactly is Cervical Spondylosis?

The spine is divided into five areas, with the cervical spine or neck bones, being the first division. It is this area that allows the head to turn, tuck the chin into the chest and stay put when reading, working on the computer or wondering why the cash register isn't working right. With that said, neck pain caused by aging manifests in different ways:

  • Dehydrated discs causes the bones to rub against each other when they shrink
  • Elderly ligaments connect bones to each other and become stiff with age
  • Bone spurs are when the body produces more bone to make up for disc loss, forming curved bone fragments that cling to bones
  • Herniated discs are when the dried out bones develop cracks or become herniated

You Mentioned Sleep and Posture

Most neck stiffness can be laid at the door of several things like stooping, sleeping in unhealthy positions, repetitive movements such as might be made at work, overzealous exercise as well as keeping the head and neck in one position like when reading. When people recognize actions or postures which might cause neck pain, then they can adjust their posture to alleviate or prevent the pain.

Good posture to avoid neck pain is as simple as keeping the ears at shoulder level instead of over the chest. Doctors recommend people sleep on their sides with legs slightly bent at the knees. This maintains the proper curvature of the spine. Experts also recommend getting at least seven to nine hours sleep at night. Take a couple days' break between workouts to allow the body to recuperate. If people notice neck pain, then straighten the shoulders and head or lie down to relieve the stress on the neck.

What Kind of Exercises Would Help?

The best places to do these exercises would perhaps be at home alone or maybe in the bathroom at work. While people understand if they see another loosening up a bit, it still feels funny doing these exercises in public. The object is to loosen up the muscles in the neck and shoulders, so the cervical spine can continue to hold up the head.

Neck Roll

Sitting or standing with the ears at shoulder level, drop the chin towards the chest. Slowly and gently swing the chin back and forth like a pendulum. Do this five times, three times per day. It loosens the muscles on the sides of the neck.


Slowly and gently nod the head as if saying “yes” to something. Then move the head from side to side as if saying “no” to something. Now drop the left ear to the left shoulder and then the right ear to the right shoulder as if considering if something is the right choice. Do this five times, three times per day.

Neck Backwards

Sitting or standing with the ears at shoulder level, bring the chin backwards toward the neck. It should look and feel as if a person is surprised by something. Do this five times, three times per day.

Seeing Stars

Slowly and gently tip the head backwards, as if looking up at the stars. Slowly and gently return the head to its neutral position, ears above the shoulders. Do this five times, three times per day. It takes the pressure off the neck.

Head Over

Slowly and gently take the left hand, place it on the right side of the face, and pull the head down to the left shoulder. Hold for a minute or so. Now take the right hand, place in on the left side of the face, and pull the head down to the right shoulder. Hold for a minute or so. This stretches the neck muscles.

Shoulder Squeeze

Raise the elbows out to the sides, tucking arms and hands into the chest. Ears should be above the shoulders. Slowly and gently squeeze the elbows towards the back. This will squeeze the shoulder blades, relieving some of the pressure in the neck. Do this five times, three times per day.

As always, at the first hint of pain, stop the exercise. Resume when the pain is gone, because the cervical spondylosis exercises will both stop and prevent pain in the neck.

Last Reviewed:
June 12, 2017
Last Updated:
June 12, 2017