Your C5 and C6 vertebrae are located in the cervical portion of your spine, otherwise known as the neck. Physical therapy for C5 and C6 ranges from reducing pain and symptom levels by properly taking care of this region to strengthening and stretching exercises that return your neck to a functioning level. Since not all treatments or exercises may be right for you, check with your doctor first.
Consider Your Position
Neck positioning plays a key role during physical therapy for C5 and C6 spine problems. Proper positioning lessens neck pain and helps the area to mend efficiently. While lying down, support your cervical area by placing either a rolled-up towel underneath the curve of your neck or inside the lower portion of your pillow case. Commercially prepared contour pillows offer another option for properly cradling your neck's curvature while resting or sleeping.
Heat It Up
Applying heat throughout the day can provide a number of benefits during your physical therapy for C5 and C6 spine problem areas. Heating enlarges blood vessels, otherwise termed _vasodilation_, can help reduce your neck pain levels by flushing out harmful toxins and chemicals. Enlarging your blood vessels also allows more oxygen and nutrients to flow to your injured neck area, thereby enhancing the healing process.
Choose from a number of heat treatments such as taking warm baths or showers, using a heating pad or applying moist heat packs to your neck for 20 minutes. Make a homemade heat pack by soaking a towel in hot water until thoroughly heated. Remove the towel and thoroughly wring out before applying to your sore neck. Remember not to apply heat for too long in order to prevent overheating or burning.
Stretch Tight Muscles
Exercise plays an essential role during physical therapy for C5 and C6 spine problems. Gentle stretching plays a major role in reducing pain, properly aligning your neck and spinal column and reducing neck muscle tightness, which helps correct imbalances of spinal movements, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Do a neck tilt by sitting upright in a firm chair. Place your feet firmly on the floor. Gently tilt your head toward your right shoulder. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds. Slowly return to the original position. Relax for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times. Do the exercise again by tilting your head to the left side. Repeat this exercise three times daily.
Strengthen Your Neck
Do a front resistance exercise by sitting upright in a firm chair. Place the palm of your right hand on the center portion of your forehead. Slowly press your head into your palm, using your palm to keep your neck from moving. Feel the tension in your neck area. Hold the tension for three to five seconds. Release the tension and relax for 10 seconds. Repeat this exercise 10 times.