Cervical spondylosis is a condition caused by wear and tear and aging of the disks in the cervical spine. The cervical spine is along the back of the neck. Most individuals older than age 65 show signs of cervical spondylosis, but not everyone with the condition experiences symptoms. Symptoms of cervical spondylosis include a stiff or sore neck, neck pain and decreased range of motion in the neck. Mild, low-impact exercise is recommended combined with stretching as a treatment. A moderate exercise plan throughout adulthood can help to prevent cervical spondylosis in older age. Always speak to your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
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An awkward sleeping position can cause cervical spondylosis over time and exacerbate the condition once your are diagnosed. As reported on the CBS News website, Terri Trespicio, senior editor for Body+Soul magazine, says the worst sleeping position is on your stomach. While sleeping on your stomach, the neck is turned at an awkward angle throughout the night causing neck strain and misalignment of the joints. Trespicio recommends sleeping on your back without a pillow to encourage the natural curves along the spine to align properly. Spine-Surgeon.org also recommends sleeping on your side with a pillow that is the size of the gap between your shoulder and head to release the strain on the neck. Using too many pillows is not recommended.
Regular exercise lubricates the disks of the spine and helps to combat degeneration of the disks. Exercise can help keep your body strong and supple as you age. High-impact exercises such as running should be avoided if you are experiencing any neck pain because the shock of impact can worsen your condition. Light, low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming or aqua aerobics help to support the body. Using a routine of neck stretches and yoga exercises will maintain flexibility and range of motion in the neck and cervical spine.
Neck Stretch Routine
Sit up tall with good posture. Roll the shoulders up and back. Inhale and lift the head up toward the sky. Exhale and drop the head toward the chest. Repeat this movement with your breath 10 to 15 times. Bring the head back to center and drop the right ear toward the right shoulder. Repeat on the left side and continue for 10 to 15 repetitions. Roll the head in circles to the right and then to the left. Drop the right ear toward the right shoulder and press the right hand gently into the left side of the forehead to increase the stretch. Repeat on the other side.
Certain yoga postures such as Cobra and Bridge pose help to strengthen and stretch the muscles of the neck. Perform Bridge pose lying on your back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Press the feet into the floor and lift the hips up toward the sky. Clasp the hands underneath the body and straighten the arms. For Cobra pose, start on your stomach. Bring your hands to either side of your chest. Press the hands into the floor and roll the shoulders back. Lift the upper body off of the floor and press the tops of the feet into the floor. Elongate the neck and move the tips of the ears back toward the shoulders.