Arthritis is a condition that causes pain, swelling, inflammation and stiffness in the joints. Although it is not as common as other areas of the body, even the neck can be victimized by this condition. When arthritis pain flares up, there are several exercises that can be done to help relieve it. They are performed gently and in a slow and controlled fashion.
By doing a flexion and extension exercise, you can increase your range of motion and reduce stiffness. To do this exercise, stand or sit while looking forward. Slowly lower your head downward as far as you comfortably can, then go the opposite direction and tilt your head back as far as you comfortably can. Go back and forth, slowly, five to 10 times.
Side rotations can be done from a standing position or seated. Start with your gaze fixed forward. Without lifting your shoulders, rotate your head to the right as far as you comfortably can. The turn your head to the left as far as you can. Hold each position for three to five seconds and repeat the motion five to 10 times. You can also do this exercise while lying on your bed with your head on a pillow.
Lateral flexion can be done from a standing or seated position. While looking forward, lower your head to your right side as far as you comfortably can. Lift it back up and lower it to the left as far as you can. Go back and forth, slowly, five to 10 times. When you do this exercise, keep your head in line with your shoulders at all times. In other words, do not rotate it or move it back and forth.
You can do slide backs from a seated or standing position. Look forward as you normally would and place two fingers on the tip of your nose. While maintaining your forward gaze and leaving your fingers stationary, slide your head straight back a few inches. Bring it back to meet your fingers and repeat five to 10 times.
Forward holds are an isometric exercise, meaning there is no range of motion. Cup your hands and place them on your forehead. Apply pressure into your hands by pushing your head into them. Hold for five to 10 seconds and do three reps. You can do this same exercise by placing your hands on the back of your head with your fingers interlaced.
Side holds are also done in an isometric fashion. To do these, place your hand on the right side of your head. Apply pressure into your hand as if you were trying to lower your ear downwards. Hold for five to 10 seconds, release and switch sides.