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Cervical Spine Exercises

Cervical Spine Exercises

Cervical spine workouts help in strengthening the neck, shoulder, and upper back muscles. Here is some information about how to perform these workouts.
Bhakti Satalkar
Last Updated: Oct 30, 2018
Cervical spine exercises help in increasing the range of motions, improve mobility, and also, strengthen the cervical spine. When the range of motion increases, stiffness in the neck and shoulder muscles reduces.
These exercises help in working out different muscle groups in the neck. An important thing to keep in mind when you do these exercises is, to make sure you breathe. Breathing ensures you relax the neck muscles.
Exercises for the Cervical Spine
The cervical spine extends from the base of the neck, downwards to the seventh vertebra. Compression or over-extension can cause pain or stiffness in this part of the spine. There are a number of exercises, which help to work out the spine and also relieve pain.
Cervical Stretch
This is an exercise to flex the cervical region of the spine.
  • Support your neck and head by placing your hands at the back of the head, just before the start of the neck, to be more precise.
  • Gently, push your neck, so that, your chin rests on your chest.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds and then release.
  • This workout will have to be repeated for 1 set of 10 repetitions. It is recommended that you perform this workout twice a day.
Cervical Extension
This is a stretching workout that will exercise the front of your neck.
  • This is the exact opposite of the previous workout. Gently bend your head backwards, as far as you can.
  • You will have to make sure you do not raise your shoulders when you are trying to touch your neck backwards.
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds.
  • Slowly return to the starting position. Make sure you do not jerk.
  • This stretch has to be repeated for 1 set of 10 repetitions. It is recommended to perform this exercise twice a day.
Lateral Flexion
When you do this workout, you will have to make sure your shoulders are not raised. It will help in working the side muscles of the neck.
  • Stand upright with your shoulders pressed down.
  • Slowly, start bringing your right ear to the right shoulder. Bend as far as you can.
  • Do not try to be very ambitious in trying to touch the ear to the shoulder, else you can cause injury to a nerve in the sides of the neck.
  • Gently, return to the starting position, and repeat the same on the left side.
  • You will have to repeat it on either side at least 10 times.
Isolated Cervical Flex
This exercise is a variation of the cervical stretch.
  • To do it, place your palm against your forehead.
  • Now, gently start pushing your head against the palm. However, you will have to ensure that you do not to bend your neck.
  • Exert as much pressure as you can, on the neck muscles. Hold the position for 10 seconds.
  • This exercise should be performed once a day with 1 set of 10 repetitions.
Neck Rotation
This workout may seem to work only the neck muscles, however, it works the entire cervical spine.
  • Stand or sit upright, standing is preferred though. Place your hands on your waist.
  • Gently turn your neck towards the right side.
  • You will have to turn, so that your chin is parallel to the shoulders.
  • As mentioned in the previous exercises, your shoulders should not be raised up.
  • Hold the position for 5 seconds, then slowly start to unwind, and then rotate your neck towards the left side.
  • This workout needs to be performed for 10 counts on either side.
When you are doing these workouts, the movements should be slow and smooth. If you feel pain or a twinge in the neck, stop doing the exercises immediately. You will need to consult your healthcare professional, as there are chances that you will need some modified exercises for your condition.
Although these workouts are safe and can easily be done at home, it is recommended that you talk to your healthcare professional and get them certified. Last, but certainly not the least, remember to breathe and relax when you do these workouts.