Weekend Challenge: Cervical Spine Strengthener - Save Our Bones

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Neck, shoulder, and head pain can result from the muscle strain involved in holding up your head from a forward angle.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  1. Lie on your side on an exercise mat or carpeted floor with your knees slightly bent and your arms folded across your chest.
  2. 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.
  3. Repeat lifting and lowering your head five to 10 times, making sure to stay within your comfort level.
  4. 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!

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Nancy Tourtillotte

    Everything I read I enjoy thank you for all your encouragement to our bad back snacks bowl thank you again

  2. Thea Swanson

    Speaking of neck/spine exercise….I was thinking about what type of pillow is best for your neck when sleeping at night. There are so many different pillows on the market and all claim to be the best. What type/brand would you recommend? What about the “My Pillow”? I know it is made in the USA. Or down vs memory foam? And so on.

    • Gemma

      I would also appreciate information on the best pillow.

  3. Jacqueline Manson

    Thanks very much for all the help full information.

  4. Sherry

    Vivien, Thanks so much for this head lift exercise. I generally do this diagonal neck move standing up, but doing it on the mat adds gravity to enhance the movement. Sherry

  5. Betty

    Look forward to trying this very interesting exercise – just what I need for FHP. Thank you so much for all the advice you give to osteoporosis suffers. Its very much appreciated.

  6. Bettina Cirone

    i am 85 come August. i already suffer from severe osteoporosis but i have become very weakened from a 3 month hospital stay due to fractured thumb, dislocated shoulder, 3 fractures in the socket for right shoulder plus fractures in humerous. i have had compression fractures in L5 s1, s3, s2, s4 of my spine, fractured pelvis, fractured sternum, spine t2 t12. i can only hold my body upright by using my walker handles to lean heavily on. otherwise i look like a curled up caterpillar or a triangle. the posture problem including forward neck started in 2012 after bouts of severe muscle spasms that lasted 3 months each in lumbar spine, then thoracic spine, then cervical spine and neck when in each case i became paralyzed with severe muscle spasms. no pain medications helped, they just destroyed my esophagus. i was 5’9″. i am now 5’3″. imagine the compression of my organs! in 2007 i fractured my left hip and it was refractured by surgeon whio put 3 large 8 1/2 inch pins in it that were too large for my delicate bone structure. the pins always having been badly placed and sticking out into tissue for the past 11 years worsened my spine pains as well as my pelvis. I have always been a fruitarian and vegetarian since age 16, This diet served me well especially as a fashion model from 1955 to 1970 until i came down with anemia for lack of protein. and had to force feed myself meat and fish. It’s always the last thing left on my plate until today to eat creatures that walk. i cannot tolerate soy or tofu. i bicycled through Holland, the Loire Valley, and Vermont during the 1970s and 1980s and daily around NYC until May of 2011 when an accident sidelined me wih multiple fractures. i was then 78 and still very fit. I loved to dance, wqalk, and bike. i cannot do any of that now. i have become very weak but my blood tests show all is well except right now high liver enzyme count in one category i believe due to all the supplements i have been taking and my losartan with hctz medication. i have become an nwilling sedentary couch potato between bed and chair. in good weather i can manage walking with my rollator a mile and a half on flt terrain.
    i am in pt and o t for the fractures still unhealed in my shoulder and hand. PT is impressed that my mobility is better than other patients younger than me but i am too weak to sustain any position or strenuous movements a i have pulmonory hypertension and d exhaustion gets hold of me. And now, i have trouble reaching forward and putting on my jackets or coat or reaching into my closet to bring my clothes in and out of it. What can i do to restore my posture that i am not doing now?


    • Sherry

      Dear Bettina,
      You’ve been through a lot of set backs AND you’ve shown an amazing resilience – perhaps due to your love of physical activity and your rich life experience. If there was a way to improve your lung capacity, might that oxygen help you continue your activity level? (although a mile and a half is pretty darn OK) Thank you for sharing your story and I’m wishing you a Happy Birth Day in advance.
      Sherry on the Prairie

  7. Alex

    I work at the computer all day and my posture is terrible. When I tried the chin tuck I immediately noticed that I’m getting more air into my lungs. Wonderful.

    I will try to remember to do this. Thank you.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      That’s excellent, Alex! I hope you can do some more exercises to help your posture overall. 🙂

  8. John Watt

    Any advice on this would be of help to me too. Look forward to reply .

  9. asha

    Hi Eammon
    I’m 75 years old kiphosis do I have a chance to save my bones
    And reverse osteoporosis? And how? Awaiting your reply thanks

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Asha and John, at the Save Institute we believe it’s never too late to adopt a bone-healthy lifestyle. People of a wide range of ages have experienced a reversal of osteoporosis and renewed bone strength from an alkalizing diet and regular exercise. I encourage you to read some of these inspiring testimonials:


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