neck exercises for cervical spondylosis

Top 10 Exercises For Cervical Spondylosis

Can cervical spondylosis relief exercises help in managing an early-stage cervical spondylosis condition? Yes and the sooner you start, the better! Get to know about the top 10 exercises to get relief from Cervical Spondylosis pain.

Cervical spondylosis is an age-related medical condition observed mostly in individuals above 40 years. Cervical spondylosis is a degenerative spinal condition that may occur due to wear and tear of the spinal disks in the cervical region of the spine. It is also referred to as neck arthritis or cervical osteoarthritis.

List Of Exercises For Cervical Spondylosis

1. Types of exercises for Cervical Spondylosis
2. Neck Flexion and Extension (Drop and Raise)
3. Head Tilt toward left and right side
4. Neck Rotation
5. Neck Retraction
6. Shoulder Rolls
7. Neck Extension
8. Neck Flexion
9. Side Bending
10. Neck Stretching Exercises For Cervical Spondylosis (right and left side)
11. Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) Stretch
12. Prevention of Cervical Spondylosis

Read More: What Causes Spondylosis?

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Types Of Exercises For Cervical Spondylosis

Cervical Spondylosis Exercises may be broadly categorized into 3 different types of exercises like –

  • Flexibility Exercises For Cervical Spondylosis 
  • Isometric Exercise For Cervical Spondylosis 
  • Stretching Exercises For Cervical Spondylosis

Flexibility Exercises:

Flexibility exercises help to maintain the flexibility of the neck along with enhancing the range of motion of the neck. These exercises are suggested by most of the physical therapy experts to treat cervical spondylosis.

Flexibility Exercises  –   Exercise 1 to 5

Isometric Exercise For Cervical Spondylosis:

In isometric exercises, the hand provides resistance. Isometric Exercise For Cervical Spondylosis is advised to perform in a straight position. You can do these exercises in a standing position, or sitting straight in a chair.

Isometric Exercises  –    Exercise 6 to 8

Stretching Exercises:

Stretching exercises for neck help in maintaining a good posture of the neck and to prevent most possible neck injuries.

Stretching Exercises –   Exercise 9 and 10

Read More: All About Cervical Spondylosis

Ten Exercises For Cervical Spondylosis

Below mentioned are the top 10 exercises mentioned by the doctors or physical therapists to treat Cervical Spondylosis.

1. Neck Flexion And Extension (Drop And Raise)

cervical spondylosis exercises pictures

  1. Stand up straight or sit in a chair. 
  2. Slowly tilt your head forward till the chin touches the chest. 
  3. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. 
  4. Return to your starting position. 
  5. Next, lean your head slightly back. 
  6. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. 
  7. Repeat the stretch in each direction 5 times.

This exercise works both on the front and back of portions of your neck and helps to improve flexibility and movement of the neck.

2. Head Tilt Toward Left And Right Side

cervical spondylosis exercises pictures

  1. Sit in a chair or stand up straight. 
  2. While keeping your left shoulder down, slowly tilt the head toward the right shoulder. 
  3. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. 
  4. Return to center. 
  5. Repeat the same exercise on the other side. 
  6. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. 
  7. Repeat the whole sequence 5 times. 

This exercise helps to work on the side portions of the neck.

Read More: Top 10 Spondylolisthesis Exercises For Back Pain

3. Neck Rotation

Neck Rotation is also another best exercise that works on the sides of your neck.

  1. This exercise can be done in a standing position or in a sitting position in a chair. 
  2. Maintain a straight body posture whether you are doing it in a standing or sitting position.
  3. Turn your head slowly to the right while keeping your chin straight. 
  4. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. 
  5. Return to center. 
  6. Slowly turn your head to the left. 
  7. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. 
  8. Return to center. 
  9. Repeat five times on each side.

4. Neck Retraction

cervical spondylosis exercises pictures

  1. Sit in a chair with your shoulders stretched back and your head in a straight position. 
  2. With the head in straight position without dropping the chin pull the chin straight in
  3. Hold in this position for 5 to 10 seconds, feeling the stretch in your neck. 
  4. Return to your original position.
  5. Repeat 5 times.

Cervical Collar Soft with Support

5. Shoulder Rolls

Shoulder Rolls Exercise

It is equally important to strengthen shoulders too for a healthy neck. Exercising your shoulders also strengthens the muscles that support your neck. Shoulder rolls exercises help to maintain a healthy shoulder and neck joints and keep them well lubricated.

  1. This can be done in a sitting position in a chair or in a standing position. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart if you are doing in a standing position. 
  2. Roll your shoulders in one smooth motion in this order – Up, Back, and Down. 
  3. Repeat five times. 
  4. Roll your shoulders in one smooth motion in reverse order – Up, Forward, and Down. 
  5. Repeat 5 times.

Read More: Simple Exercises For Knee Pain

Exercises mentioned below from 6-8 are of isometric exercise for cervical spondylosis

6. Neck Extension

cervical spondylosis exercises pictures

  1. Place your palms at the backside and base of your head and apply mild pressure in the forward direction. 
  2. Meet the resistance with your head and neck.

7. Neck Flexion

  1. By placing your middle and index fingers of both your hands at the center of the forehead and in between the eyebrows apply light backward pressure.
  2. Meet the resistance with your head and neck.

8. Side Bending

cervical spondylosis exercises pictures

  1. Sit straight with your head in a neutral position. 
  2. Place your palms above/around the ear. 
  3. Apply light pressure on the head with your hand at the same time resist with the head.

9. Neck Stretching (Right And Left Side)

stretching exercises for cervical spondylosis_Neck_stretching_right_and_left_side

  1. Tilt your head towards the right side till the right ear reaches the right shoulder until a stretch is felt on the left side of your neck. 
  2. You can achieve a little more stretch by pushing the head a little more with your right hand by adding very little bearable pressure. Just a gentle stretch should be felt. 
  3. Repeat on the opposite side. 
  4. Hold for 10 to 15 sec for each side.

10. Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) Stretch

stretching exercises for cervical spondylosis_stretching_exercises_for_cervical_spondylosis_sternocleidomastoid_stretching

The sternocleidomastoid is the large, rope-like muscle at the front of each side of the neck. This becomes tight with a forward head position. 

  1. Stretch by looking over the right shoulder, and then tilting the head back. 
  2. Repeat on the opposite side. 
  3. Hold for 10 to 15 sec for each side.

Read More: Best Exercises For Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Prevention Of Cervical Spondylosis:

There are no specific methods that can prevent the pathologic process of cervical spondylosis. Some preventive measures can be practiced to avoid the occurrence of cervical spondylosis. 


  • Practice regular exercises that aid to build flexibility, strength, and ease of motion in the neck region. 
  • If your daily work is of long sitting nature of working in front of the system, take breaks in between. 
  • Always use a thin pillow and firm mattresses.
  • When getting up from a lying position, always take a turn to one side first, and then get up.
  • If the pain is acute, then take medicines as directed by your doctor, immobilize the neck and take complete rest.
Know about Pain Relief Medication
  • Use a firm cervical collar, if you are traveling for an extended period of time. The cervical pillow allows the neck to be in a hyperextended position and relaxes the neck muscles that generally get strained during the daytime activities.

Contoured Cervical Pillow

Contoured Cervical Pillow


  • Do not run or do strenuous exercises if you are suffering from neck pain or cervical spondylosis.
  • Avoid sitting for a prolonged time in one position.
  • Do not drive for extended periods.
  • Avoid bad roads, if traveling by two or four-wheeler.
  • Never use more than one pillow under the head while sleeping 
  • Avoid lifting the heavyweight on the head or neck.
  • Don’t make sudden twisting motions of the body or head when you have to turn around.  
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Avoid sitting for a prolonged time in stressful postures.

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Top 10 Exercises For Cervical Spondylosis
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Overall rating: 5 out of 5 based on 10 reviews.

- Naresh Nayak

I’ve checked out a number of sites for this condition and have rated the information on this site to be the best. In particular, providing neck exercise diagrams is of great assistance
- Paul

Cervical Spondylosis Very well explained. Thanks
- Bhupal Chahal






9 thoughts on “Top 10 Exercises For Cervical Spondylosis

    • i m suffering from neck pain along with head pain (heaviness of head back side front as well), i had commit to MRI on 2016 finally report shown “straightening of cervical is seen”. i had taken many treatment but not satisfactory result comes to me till now. therefore this is kindly request to you may please advice for above problems.

  1. Very helpful exercises. Thank you for the presentation. Pictorial images helped understanding the method of exercising.

  2. Appreciate illustrations and have been doing some of them, though not daily. Have had serious balance problem for very long time. Can these exercises help balance and do I risk causing more injury?

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