Most people are aware that the risk of developing arthritis in some part of their body is quite high. In fact, it’s estimated that osteoarthritis affects more than 30 million Americans. However, you might not know just how common cervical or neck arthritis is. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) reports that cervical arthritis affects more than 85% of people over 60.
Physical therapists offer several treatment options for cervical arthritis, but one of the most effective options is therapeutic exercises. These exercises will be combined into a personalized treatment plan for your arthritis symptoms, and your therapist will choose exercises that are simple and safe for your neck arthritis. Two of the exercises they may include in your therapy plan are:
1. Head tilt
The head is supported by the muscles of the neck, and moving your head can help strengthen and stretch these muscles. However, you might not be able to do strenuous exercises because of the pain and stiffness of your arthritis. One therapeutic exercise that can help strengthen and stretch your neck muscles safely and simply when you have arthritis is the head tilt.
How to do the head tilt exercise
- Start by standing or sitting in a stable chair. Your posture should be upright, and your ears should be centered over your shoulders.
- From this starting position, slowly tilt your head to the left until you feel a stretch in the right side of your neck.
- Hold this position for eight to 10 seconds.
- Return to the starting position, and tilt your head to the right.
- Hold this stretch for eight to 10 seconds.
- Continue to repeat these steps until you’ve stretched both sides of your neck five times.
2. Head rotation
Not moving the head when you have neck arthritis can make it stiffer and more painful, but doing simple and safe exercises your therapist prescribes for neck arthritis can reduce these symptoms. One study reports that joint movement increased the production of lubricating fluid within the joint by 27%. An exercise that can help neck arthritis patients improve their neck joint lubrication is the head rotation.
How to do the head rotation exercise
- Begin by sitting in a stable chair. Keep your back straight and your head centered over your shoulders.
- Without tilting your head, rotate your head to the left as far as you can. Stop at once if you feel increased pain.
- Hold this position for two to three seconds, and return to the starting position.
- Rotate your head as far as you can to the right.
- Hold this position for two to three seconds.
- Keep repeating these steps until you’ve rotated your head in both directions eight to 10 times.
Continuum Wellness can help you find exercises that are safe and simple for neck arthritis
Do you want to find an exercise program that’s simple and safe for your neck arthritis? Our team at Continuum Wellness is primed to assist you. We offer free screenings designed to reveal how neck arthritis is affecting you. Our team will then build you a personalized treatment plan using therapeutic exercises and other beneficial therapy techniques.
Contact our team today for more arthritis treatment information or to schedule a free screening.