Weekend Challenge: Neck And Shoulders Aligner - Save Our Bones

This weekend, I’d like to open my heart to all mothers in the Save Our Bones community and wish them a very Happy Mother’s Day. I know from my own experience that we are often reluctant to devote time to ourselves. So I hope that you’ll celebrate the day and the decision you’ve made to take control of your bone health.

Now on with today’s challenge, that corrects and prevents slumped shoulders, Dowager’s Hump and forward head posture (FHP).

The Neck And Shoulders Aligner works the neck muscles, improving flexibility and range of motion. It also strengthens the shoulders and upper back, helping maintain good posture and increasing the strength and alignment of the vertebrae.

It can even ease the pain of tension headaches, as a recent study shows.

Let’s get started!


Let’s go over the muscles that the Neck And Shoulder Aligner targets.

Neck Extensors

The neck extensors consist of the splenius capitis and the splenius cervicis.

The splenius capitis begins at the nuchal ligament and the 3rd, 4th, and 7th cervical vertebrae at the back of the neck. The nuchal ligament runs right down the middle of your neck, and helps sustain and support your head’s weight.

The splenius cervicis attaches to the very top 2 cervical vertebrae.

The Trapezius

The “traps” are a large muscle that covers a significant portion of the upper back and shoulders. Shaped something like a diamond, the traps begin at the base of your neck and fan out to your shoulders and down to the thoracic vertebrae.

A strong trapezius is vitally important in the fight against Dowager’s Hump, and it’s crucial in the pursuit of proper posture. The traps support your head, rotate your scapulae (shoulder blades), and also help extend your neck.

Strengthening These Muscles Is Key To Proper Posture

Later, we’ll take a look at a study showing how strong traps and neck extensors can ease and prevent tension headache pain. But first, I want to mention forward head posture, or FHP, and how important it is to address it with exercise.

Savers are familiar with the term “FHP” – it refers to the “poking forward” of the head that can occur as a result of or precursor to Dowager’s Hump. With smart phones, computer screens, and even certain occupations requiring us to adopt a posture where we lean down and forward, it’s no wonder that FHP and the resulting pain are on the rise.

So it’s more vital than ever to address the alignment of the thoracic and cervical vertebrae, and to strengthen the muscles in this area. And that’s exactly what the Neck And Shoulders Stabilizer is intended to do.

Now let’s get to today’s exercise that works these important muscles.


You’ll need an ordinary towel for this exercise.

  1. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold the towel between your hands, stretched about shoulder-width apart with a fair amount of tension.
  3. Holding the towel and keeping it taut, raise your arms above your head.
  4. Move your arms backward until you feel some stretching and tension in your arms.
  5. Bend your arms to lower the towel down behind your head until it touches the top of your shoulders. Keep the towel stretched taut.
  6. Repeat the raising and lowering of the towel 15 times (or as many as you feel comfortable) for one set.
  7. Repeat the set of 15 three times. As you advance, you can work up to 5 sets of 25 repetitions per set.

The Neck And Shoulders Aligner Also Helps Ease Tension Headaches

An intriguing study looked at muscle weakness in the neck and shoulders, and explored how it relates to tension-type headaches (TTH). The researchers compared 60 adults who had tension headaches with 30 individuals who did not experience them. They measured the strength of participants’ neck extensor muscles, trapezius (which today’s exercise targets), and neck flexors.

Researchers discovered that participants without TTH had neck extension muscles that were stronger by 26%. The neck flexor strength was less significant between the groups at only 12%, causing one of the study authors to note a tendency toward imbalance in these muscle groups.

In other words, those with weak neck extensors tended to have strong flexors. This can cause the head to be pulled forward, resulting in pain.1

Additionally, the non-TTH group also had stronger traps and shoulder strength.1

The problem may lie with the same postural issues that bring on FHP: repetitive, “dysfunctional” motions during our daily lives, such as sitting at a computer, leaning over a dental patient (as dental hygienists do), and so forth.

In contrast, regular exercise involves highly functional, varied motion that offsets the dysfunction of poor posture and continual sitting.

It’s also good to “keep your muscles guessing” with lots of variation, such as the wide variety of moves found in the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System.

Densercise™ is designed to build your bones and correct your posture, with simple exercises you can do anywhere, anytime. It is delivered digitally to your e-mail inbox so you can instantly download it and get started. It also features an online video collection you can refer to that clarifies each move.

Please let us know how you like the Neck And Shoulders Aligner by leaving a comment below.

Have a great weekend!


1 Madsen, Bjarne K., et al. “Neck and shoulder muscle strength in patients with tension-type headache: A case-control study.” Cephalalgia. April 1, 2015. Doi: 10.1177/0333102415576726. Web. https://cep.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/03/30/0333102415576726.abstract

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Ita

    Thank you, Ita.

  2. Venkat

    Vivian, I have bad FHP and TOS symptoms resulting from a whiplash injury several years back. I am trying to strengthen my neck extensors as it seems to reduce the strain on my scalenes and levator both of which are otherwise flared up and contributing to nerve compression. Is there a way to strengthen the neck extensors without strengthening the upper traps? I am trying to activate my lower traps and serratus instead.


    • Customer Support

      Hi Ven,
      Here is an exercise that does not work the traps while strengthening neck extensors:


      A word of caution, though – Vivian is not a doctor, so please do not undertake any exercise without checking with your physical therapist or doctor who is familiar with your particular situation, especially where injuries are concerned.

  3. Sheila

    Thanks very much for those exercises. I have a lot of problems with neck and shoulder pains. I don’t know if it stems from the position in which I sleep.

    • Jor

      i to get shoulder and neck pain and knee pain from the way I sleep or in the morning making it difficult to get a good night’s sleep would love to hear I reply also on the best position to sleep for bone health

  4. Margaret E.Ruth

    Oh, I was so happy to see the neck and shoulders alignment exercise!!!!! I have the beginning of a Dowagers Hump and I really needed this. I love all your exercises and try to do some every day. Please continue to send us all your good advise. Your are invaluable. Thank you

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I am so glad this exercise is what you’ve been looking for, Margaret!

  5. Betty

    Thank you Vivian,

    I find this exercise very helpful indeed. Amazing.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      That’s good to hear, Betty!

  6. Annabelle

    Thank you Vivian. Was pleased to find I was able to do this exercise with my replacement shoulder. Very encouraging!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      That is encouraging, Annabelle!

  7. Christine Morris

    Happy Mothers Day Vivian. I live in England so have had my flowers earlier on in April when we celebrate our mothers!
    This exercise is a s good as all the others you send and I save them all in an email box. This way can refer to them daily and it becomes a fun way of exercising. Thank you for caring Vivian.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      It sounds like you had a wonderful Mother’s Day last month, Christine! Thank you for your kind words, and good idea on saving the exercises in an e-mail file.

  8. Micky

    HAPPY MOTHERS DAY all mums in America. I am very fortunate as I have two sons, one lives in England, as I do, and the other lives in America. So I am lucky enough to have two Mothers Days. One in March and the other today.
    Health and happiness to you Vivian and to everyone in the community.

    • Patricia

      Hi Christine
      I live in West Yorkshire, and after checking the water board website I’ve found out they don’t put fluoride in our water, when I first started Vivians Diet I bought my own distiller over £200 but now I don’t use it, takes for ever to distil that way, we just filter water with a big squeeze of lemon juice, so I suggest you check out the website.

    • Christine Morris

      Hi Mickey, I see you live in England as I do. How do you manage Vivian’s diet with the water part of it. I can’t get distilled water but with the muck that builds up in my kettle, I use bottle water instead with a good squeeze of lemon juice in each glassful. Just wondered if you had found an outlet for distilled water that I could tap into. Gosh! that was an unintended pun 😀

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Happy Mothers’ Day to you, too, Micky! And thank you for your well-wishes.

  9. Rachel

    in Bone Appetit recipies, when calling for 1 teaspoon of stevia, is that liquid or powder measure?

  10. Gayle Eddins

    I love this exercise, it is so simple and easy and yet feels so good when you do it. Vivian I would like to ask you a question.. I went to a Home Show and there were 4 different exercise equipment companies that had vibrating machines of all sizes and shapes but all said they build Bone Density. Have you ever seen a study that showed this to be true? I thought I would check with you before purchasing one. Thank you and thanks for all your help.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Gayle,
      I haven’t researched these machines in detail; I prefer to focus on exercises that anyone can do, anywhere, without special equipment. 🙂 But I can tell you that people with spinal injuries, such as slipped discs or pinched nerves, may actually increase damage by using this kind of vibrating machine.

  11. Claudia

    HAPPY MOTHERS’S DAY, to al the wonderful mothers out there.My mother will be 89 in Sept. I am blessed. She fell out of the bed last week and nothing broke. She has strong bones. My bones are very brittle.. I am following your plan Vivian and I know I feel so good eating right. I only drink water now and I am so proud of myself. I am proud I found you.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You should be proud of yourself, Claudia! And I am so glad your mother is okay after her fall.

  12. Shirley

    Thanks for the helpful exercises you send our way.Also the good food reminders.,
    appy Moothers Day to all

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You are welcome, Shirley. 🙂

  13. Janet

    Yes, thanks for this whole series of back and neck muscle strengthening exercises.
    The video is good too, as it is nice and short and shows exactly what is needed, though I also like the moving person image you normally add as that can be seen instantaneously. My problem is muscle strength rather than flexibility – my flexibility is OK but my muscles are very weak and tire easily.

    Something I can’t do is lift things above chest height unless very light, which I think might be related to weak back muscles, so maybe I need to use weights to practice this – I have dumbell weights from 1 kg upwards. BUT could I do damage by doing this ? Thanks.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Janet, you could try light wrist weights or small cans of food. 🙂 You might also benefit from a personal trainer or physical therapist who could help you strengthen those muscles without injury.

    • Elle

      I use 7 pound wights and go,above my head daily. Feel stronger everyday!
      Love the simple neck exercise.. Elle

      • janet

        Thanks vivien and elle – will start with lighter weights though and try to build up.

  14. Jan

    Thanks for this as ever. I can’t get the towel behind my head, it comes down on the top of my head. I do have trouble with cervical and neck vertebrae and a stiff shoulder (from two bouts of frozen shoulder) so that’s part of the reason why.
    Maybe I should do other shoulder exercises to help first. I have been doing one where you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Thanks for the video, I now realise that I should be doing these sort of exercises far more often, at least once an hour during the day.

    • June

      I have also found that I can’t get the towel behind my head. I do a lot of these FHP abd dowagers Hump exercises but I suppose my shoulders are stiff as well.
      I tried doing this exercise without the towel and feel that it is at least using my neck and back muscles, though maybe not as strongly.
      What do others think?

      • Carol

        Hi June, I just wanted to respond to your post and let you know that I also do this exercise without a towel. I can feel a wonderful stretch throughout my upper back and shoulders. I don’t lift my arms up too high, I find just small movements to be very helpful. Also I slightly squeeze my arms and shoulder blades as I come down. Hope this is helpful to you!

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