Exercises for Cervical Spondylolisthesis


Cervical spondylolisthesis is a rare spinal condition occurs when a spinal bone (vertebrae) in the cervical area slips out of its position. This can lead to pain in the neck. But pain can be relieved with effective treatment. The treatment program usually involves specific exercises. Let’s learn more about these exercises.

The goals of doing exercises

When you have cervical spondylolisthesis, you may have no symptom. However, if the symptoms occur, the most common is pain. Pain in the neck travels to the shoulders, heads, arms, hands. Pain might feel like a muscle strain. Pain may get worse when you move your neck. Neck stiffness, tight muscles, or difficulty moving can also happen.

Thus, the goals of doing exercises for cervical spondylolisthesis are to relieve pain in the affected area, reduce muscle spasms, help you regain physical function, increase range of motion and restore flexibility. If symptoms come from pressure on the nerve roots, exercises can be designed to minimize this pressure.

Main components of exercises for cervical spondylolisthesis

With the aim to relieve symptoms of the condition, exercises for cervical spondylolisthesis contain three main components. They are stretching, strengthening, and low-impact exercises. You should discuss with your doctor about the exercise program. They will give you advice about the exercises, how to do, or what to prepare.

Stretching exercises

Stretching exercises are used to help you restore flexibility and increase the range of motion and the elasticity of the joints in the neck. Thus, these exercises can relieve neck stiffness and neck pain from cervical spondylolisthesis. Stretching exercises can be done every day, or even several times a day.

Strengthening exercises

Strengthening exercises can help you improve good posture, as poor posture can contribute to cervical spondylolisthesis. Strengthening exercises can be done every day to help minimize the risk for further injuries.

Low-impact exercises

Low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, or cycling can help improve the flow of flood to the affected area in the neck. Thus, the neck can heal itself better. After you do low-impact exercises, your body can release the natural pain reliever – hormone endorphins. This hormone can help relieve pain in the neck.

Best exercises for cervical spondylolisthesis

Here are some exercises you can try. However, you should ask your doctor or therapist if they are suitable for you first.

Neck strengthening exercise

This exercise is used to help strengthen the muscles that pull the head back in the right position. Strong neck muscles can support the cervical spine.

  • Stand against the wall with the feet about 8 cm away from the foot wall.
  • Keep the spine against the wall.
  • Pull the head and the upper back backward until the back of your head reaches the wall.
  • In this position, your chin is down, your head is straight back and you are not looking down. Hold this for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise 10 times.

You can repeat this exercise several times per day. This can help you have a good posture, reduce pressure on your cervical spine.

Shoulder strengthening exercise

This exercise can be used to strengthen the muscles in the shoulders, neck, and upper back.

  • Lie down on the floor with the face down. You can use a mat or a towel under your forehead for comfort.
  • Place your arms at the sides of your body with the palms face the floor.
  • Lift your tongue to reach the top of your mouth. This position can keep the muscles in the front of your neck stable, helping you with strengthening.
  • Try to drag your shoulder blades together.
  • Lift your arms off the floor with the palms out and thumbs up.
  • Gently lift your head off the mat or the towel. Look straight, do not bend your head backward.
  • Hold this for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat the exercise 10 times.

Although exercises cannot heal the problem of the spine, they can help relieve the symptoms. Talk with your doctor or therapist about suitable exercises. And remember this, staying active is always good for your health, especially when you have disease.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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