Weekend Challenge: Cervical Spine Strengthener
The cervical vertebrae, located immediately below the skull, are very important when it comes to posture as well as neck and back pain, two concerns often raised among the osteoporosis community. The Cervical Spine Strengthener is a gentle yet effective move that strengthens and tones the muscles of the neck, helping to promote spinal alignment and decrease pain.
Let’s start by taking a look at why your cervical spine plays such an essential role in so many areas of bone health.
A common postural problem known as Forward Head Posture (FHP) begins with a forward-poking position of the cervical spine. FHP can have a dramatic impact on your bone health if it’s not corrected, such as the following issues:
- Fracture risk increases with FHP, because the body is out of balance and alignment, making a fall more likely. Fall risk is also elevated due to the downward-facing position of the eyes. Typically, the body sends visual cues to the brain as to your position in space; but with FHP, the visual cues are compromised.
- Neck, shoulder, and head pain can result from the muscle strain involved in holding up your head from a forward angle.
- Ribs and lungs become compressed as FHP causes your back to round outward. This prevents you from taking deep, alkalizing, cleansing breaths that promote bone renewal and general health.
- A hunchbacked appearance, also known as kyphosis or Dowager’s Hump, can start with FHP.
One of the reasons that FHP and poor posture can cause so many problems is that these positions cause the muscles in the neck to become imbalanced. The back of the neck becomes tense and tight as the muscles fight to pull the head up, while the muscles in the sides and front of the neck become weak from disuse.
The Cervical Spine Strengthener aims to correct these issues. Here’s how to do it.
Please note: if you have had a neck injury or are uncertain as to whether or not this exercise is for you, please check with your health practitioner or physical therapist before attempting it.
- Lie on your side on an exercise mat or carpeted floor with your knees slightly bent and your arms folded across your chest.
- Slowly lift your head up off the floor until it is level with your spine. Hold this for a few seconds, and then lower your head back down to the floor.
- Repeat lifting and lowering your head five to 10 times, making sure to stay within your comfort level.
- Switch sides for another set of five to 10 “head lifts.”
We suggest following up this Weekend Challenge with the postural and neck exercises below:
While it’s important to work the neck muscles, don’t forget the rest of your body! You need regular, targeted exercise to build strong bones and prevent fractures. Along with a bone-smart, alkalizing diet, that’s an excellent “prescription” for bone rejuvenation and osteoporosis reversal.
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I invite you to share your thoughts on today’s exercise by leaving a comment below.
Have a great weekend!