This weekend’s challenge is called the Neck Vertebrae Aligner, an exercise to maintain and even recover the curve of your cervical (neck) vertebrae.

The cervical curve is crucial to preventing and reversing Forward Head Posture (FHP) and kyphosis (Dowager’s Hump). Yet it’s easy to overlook it, since there’s so much focus on preventing abnormal spinal curvature and flattening the back.

Besides giving you a youthful appearance, maintaining the cervical curve also helps to achieve correct breathing plus it prevents neck injuries and potential neck aches caused by misaligned cervical vertebrae.

The Neck Vertebrae Aligner does all of the above, in one easy move.

When I tried this exercise, it felt a bit awkward at first, but then I could actually feel it aligning the vertebrae in my neck. It really feels good, and I make sure to do it almost every day, especially after long hours of working on my computer.

Now let’s take a look at why this simple exercise is so effective.

Why:

Your neck is flexible, which makes for maximum shock absorption, support, and range of motion. When muscles become tense and tight, however, it makes the neck rigid and more prone to injury.

A slight cervical lordosis – or curvature – is desirable in the neck because it contributes to proper weight distribution of the head, vertebral alignment, and correct posture.

Cervical lordosis can be compromised by kyphosis and FHP, both of which put pressure in the wrong areas of the vertebrae and cause muscles to contract and strain. When your head is poked forward, it requires much more muscle strength to hold the head up.

This starts a vicious cycle – FHP and kyphosis both undermine the healthy curvature of the neck vertebrae, and the less curve you have, the worse your FHP becomes. It’s been scientifically recognized for some time that the muscles stay in a tightened state, causing pain and decreased circulation.1 If blood cannot flow freely through the neck muscles, then the bones and muscles in the neck will be starved of key bone-building nutrients.

There’s another problem associated with FHP and loss of cervical curve: compromised breathing. Being able to draw a deep, alkalizing breath requires proper alignment and “opening” of the ribcage and chest cavity, and that’s impossible if you are hunched over or your head is poked forward.

The Neck Vertebrae Aligner restores the healthy curve in your neck, preserving a youthful stance and preventing detrimental wear and tear on cervical vertebrae.

How:

You will need a roll of paper towels to do this exercise. (Stay with me – it makes sense once you see how it works!)

  1. Begin by facing a wall and standing close to it (about 6 to 8 inches away).
  2. Tilt you head back and place and hold with both hands the roll of paper towels on the bridge of your nose so it covers your eyes.
  3. Lean forward against the wall so the paper towel, your chest and chin are touching the wall.
  4. Drop your arms to the sides and make sure you chin is still touching the wall.
  5. Now slowly nod your head just enough for your chin to come away from the wall and back.
  6. Hold for 10 seconds (or as long as you comfortably can).
  7. Repeat 3 or 4 times. You can practice this exercise daily, multiple times.

Achieving Excellent Bone Health Involves More Than Preventing Fractures And Building Bone

Achieving correct posture is also very important in preventing and reversing osteoporosis. It’s just as essential as proper nutrition, because good posture means your spine is aligned – and if your spine is aligned, then your body will function properly and you’ll be able to build bone more efficiently.

This is crucial, because putting pressure on bone stimulates bone growth at the site of pressure (as per Wolff’s Law). Misaligned bones (and especially vertebrae) put pressure in all the wrong places, giving rise to bone spurs and other painful conditions.

The Densercise™ Epidensity Training System covers all aspects of bone-building beyond just bone density – hence the prefix “epi,” meaning “beyond.” When you practice the moves in Densercise™ three times a week for only 15 minutes, you’re correcting posture, increasing bone density, toning your muscles, and getting all the additional benefits of regular exercise.

And when you get Densercise™, you’ll also receive the Densercise™ Eating Guide, packed with healthy eating tips to give your bones the vitamins and nutrients they need to support maximum growth. You’ll discover the best foods to eat before and after you Densercise to get the results you want.

So if you haven’t checked it out yet, please click here to learn more about this complete bone-rejuvenating exercise system.

Enjoy the weekend!

References

1 Sjogaard, Gisela, Savardm Gabrielle, and JUel, Carsten. “Muscle blood flow during isometric activity and its relation to muscle fatigue.” European Journal of Applies Physiology and Occupational Physiology. 1988. Volume 57, Issue 3, pp 327-335.http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00635992

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  1. Torrence

    i have tried this exercise it did really help though is there another exercise that might work.

  2. BJAY

    I don’t understand the steps in this exercise –very confusing!

  3. David Dressler, BA, RMT, CST, MET

    This exercise will not work with everyone. First of all, unless the bones of the cervical spine are aligned and moving correctly intersegmentally, flexing and extending will not be complete or completely pain free.

    Simply said, the muscles cannot move the spine correctly if the vertebrae to which they are attached are not lined up and are stuck. That is why some people here are having pain doing this exercise.

    Also, if there is spondylosis or arthritis in the spine, as happens when we age or have an injury, this will prevent the spinal joints from moving properly too. Hence, pain and limited extension in this exercise.

    It is possible some people will be able to do the exercise but only by using part of their cervical spine. It is possible to have forward curvature (kyphosis) in part of the neck and still be able to look up or extend the remainder of the neck (lordosis). However, trying to exercise or increase this partial lordosis can cause joint pain and possibly even spinal stenosis ( serious condition in which discs press on the spinal cord) over time.

    • Emily Bachofner

      So, how can we determine if this is not an appropriate exercise for us, or it’s just uncomfortable as our spine adjusts to regaining its curve? Also I’ve noticed some people have asked about paper towel role size, but I couldn’t find an answer. Any recommendations?

  4. mera buford

    It would help to see tilted head shot and not tilted head shot. How big a roll. I’m a small person, and a new roll will be awfully uncomfortable.

  5. Peggy

    I’m not sure I understand the steps. You nod, bringing your chin away from and back to the wall. Is this nod done just the one time? When you hold for 20 seconds, is your chin at the wall, or away from it?

    Hope someone can enlighten me. Trying to peer through the bottom of bifocals has made a mess of my neck ?

    • BJ

      I don’t understand the instructions for this exercise-VERY CONFUSING

      • Mel

        The instructions specifically outlined everything you asked- you “nod” or move chin away from wall by pressing the forehead into the roll. I think you didn’t grab a roll of paper towel and walk yourself through it, bc the directions are very specific and easy to follow!

  6. semoni

    It caused me a lot of pain in my neck while doing it. is that normal?

  7. Maureen

    I just want to be sure that I’m doing The Neck Vertebrae Aligner exercise correctly. Is the “hold position” chin touching the wall?
    I sometimes seem to tilt my head too far backwards, (which I believe causes me to have a floaty, slightly dizzy feeling.) I wonder if you have an exercise correct this position?
    I can’t thank you enough for all your advice and information.

  8. Marlene

    Vivian, can you tell me the diameter of the paper towel roll you used to do this exercise? I think I may be using too big a roll (the jumbo size, maybe? LOL).
    I think it’s important to use the right diameter roll, otherwise I don’t know if I’m actually moving the vertebra as desired.

  9. Violette

    I would like to thank you sincerely for all the exercises you have offered us. You select excellent targeted movements and write careful instructions. I have noticed real improvements in the way I carry my neck, shoulders, and back. It is a great service to allow subscribers to pick and choose individual ones outside of your programs, and I hope you will continue to do this, and I hope you will have enough success with your website to support yourself well while knowing how many people you help. Thanks!

  10. Carol

    Hi Vivian,
    I just wanted to let you know that I tried a small rolled up towel and that works wonderfully. I now can do this exercise throughout my day. Thanks so much for all your great information.

  11. Leslie (Ms. L. Carmel)

    Good Afternoon Vivian And Mickie Claxton,

    I Agree With Mickie Claxton, To Just Print A Clean Copy Of Your Exercises Without The Ads. The Ads Can Be Distracting!

    And I Thank You Both Very Much! You Vivian For All The Time And Work You Put Into All Your Articles; And Mickie C. For Your Valuable Input!

    LOVE, LESLIE (MS. L. CARMEL)

  12. John McCormick

    Vivian, I now have a copy of your Save Our Bones book and like it. Have you considered offering your Densercise course in a hardcopy format?

  13. Pamela Ward

    Hi Vivian
    I am trying to get into your site again somehow my email address has disappeared from your books and the link Elaine gave me hasn’t worked and I’m desperate to get your emails to the above mail address again it’s Pamela from the U.K. I know this is not the right box to use but don’t know where else to go
    I hope you get to see this thanks for all you do you are amazing

  14. monica forster

    Hello, Vivian!
    I have recently ordered, by internet, some of the recommended Trueosteo tablets and am awaiting delivery of these.
    As I live in the UK and cannot buy these over here, I have had to pay shipping costs and an added ‘customs’ cost payable to the firm, Parcelpost, delivering to me. The cost of a tub of Osteocare tablets has now doubled for me and I cannot see myself being able to afford the ongoing monthly bill for these on my meagre pension! Do you have any further advice , please?

    Thank you ,
    Monica Forster

    • Daljeet Chana

      I too have the same problems and have resorted to Algaecal tablets.

  15. Elaine

    Thank you so very much for these weekend exercises. This one is one I really need. I so appreciate all the materials that you have made available and the more I do them, the more I find real wisdom in your structure of variety, simplicity of doing, and how one can build strength & increase one’s level. With gratitude, Elaine

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You are most welcome, Elaine! Thank you for your kind words. 🙂

  16. Rebecca Smith

    Neck Vertebrae Aligner

    I am unable to touch the wall with my chin. Can you make a video of this exercise. I really can’ t figure out how to do it and I think I need it. I am at the computer 9 1/2 hours per day. If I lay on the couch and fall asleep I wake up unable to breath because of my head being inclined on a pillow. It feels like something in my chest and my spine hurts in my neck.

  17. Sarah

    Thank you Vivian. Found neck exercise very helpful, esp for increased circulation n deep breaths. Where else can I find this type.
    What about when sitting, sleeping, looking down at iphone when reading? What position should I be in to keep neck from cutting off circulation again and jutting forward.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Sarah, Densercise does have many exercises that address the neck and upper back. As I mentioned to Carol below, there are many Weekend Challenges on this site; feel free to do a search for them and find the exercises you need. 🙂

    • Sarah

      Sorry. Already submitted my comment but didn’t know whether to click “reply”

      • Sarah

        Dear Vivian
        See my comment but no reply. Would you please reply as to where to get more of these neck exercises – are they all in the Denserciser program?
        Also, when doing the spine stretcher one for today, I couldn’t properly do the abdominal pelvic part because2 prior comp fractures caused my stomach/abdomin to twist to left & pooch forward. Any exercises to allow stomach to revert back?
        .

  18. Donna Drecksel

    I ordered the program about 5 years ago have not been fully active with it. After moving and other life changing events I had become inactive with your site. My 80 year-old fragile sister-in- law recently broke her finger. She has had numerous fractures, surgeries, etc. She has rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and other health issues. She is Asian and very small. Her doctor wants to give her one of the bone builder medications. After looking up adverse reactions she is reluctant to go ahead with the 6 month infusions. She is very limited as far as activity goes. What can I do to help her? It seems your program has been updated somewhat. Please advise about the best route to take to help her and myself. Should I buy the new version of your work or ??????? Thanks so very much

    • Elaine

      I am doing a combination of Save the Bones guidelines, Densercise and another program called The Anat Baniel Method since I have scoliosis. She has a book called Move Into Life and a web site which are a good introduction to her method. The book is at many libraries or available online to see if it appeals & worth investing into further. The later has enabled and improved my ability to move more freely as well as freeing me of back pain. I highly recommend all of the above.

  19. Helen Wieczkiewicz

    I ordered your Densercise program over a month ago and never received it. Please send it since I paid for it. Thank you.

    • Customer Support

      Helen, please check your e-mail for a message from Customer Support. 🙂

  20. Claire Chenier

    Thank you Vivian for your very interesting and informative emails. I’ve been doing the exercises you suggested and they do help. I wish also to try the neck exercise in this email since I suffer from kyphosis and am very stooped. However, I also suffer from vertigo and was told not to lift my head up or lower it down. Do you think I can still do the neck exercise suggested in this email? Is there another safe alternative?

    I am very grateful for your help.
    Claire

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Claire,

      This exercise is very effective, but it does involve moving the head up and down. So I suggest that before you do it you consult with your health practitioner.

  21. Mickie Claxton

    I’ve found the exercises to be helpful. Thank you for them. I like to print them, but I don’t want the ads for the danzercise and the recipes, etc. Could you please put the exercises in an area of your email that we could print, without the other ads, as I’m not interested. For awhile, you were doing a variation of my request, but today’s, for example, I have to print the entire email.

  22. Carol

    Thanks Vivian for posting this exercise. I wasn’t able to get my chin and chest to touch the wall, maybe my roll of paper towel was to big, will try again with a smaller roll. Also, is there another similar exercise that could be helpful?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Carol,
      Yes, you can use a smaller roll of paper towels, or even a rolled up towel. And if you’ve been reading the Weekend Challenges (you can do a search if you need to), you’ll find other exercises that address the same part of the spine. 🙂

      • Millie

        Thank you. I too was totally unable to get either my chest or chin against the wall. I will try with a towel and see if that works. What would I search for to find other exercises that help align the neck?

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