Cervical kyphosis is a deformity in the curvature of the cervical spine. Your spine has C-shaped curves throughout where the C opening faces the front and back of the body at intervals. Lordotic curve openings face the back of the body. Kyphosis curve openings face the front. The cervical portion of the spine, which includes the neck, should be lordotic. Symptoms and effects of cervical kyphosis can range from mild discomfort to severe deformity. Fortunately, there are exercises you can perform under the direction of your doctor or physical therapist to alleviate symptoms and even correct cervical kyphosis.
Stretching Your Cervical Flexors
Cervical flexion and extension is an exercise that restores flexibility to your neck limited by kyphosis. Cervical flexion, the first motion of the exercise, entails tucking your chin in and gently bringing your head down and forward. Try to touch your chin to your chest. Then, perform cervical extension by bending your head backward as far as possible.
To perform lateral flexion, keep your head straight forward, and gently bring your right ear toward your right shoulder as far as it will go. Then, bring your left ear to your left shoulder using the same motion and head positioning. Repeat these exercises in as many sets of five as your doctor or physical therapist suggests.
Cervical Spine Stretches
Perform cervical spine rotation to help restore your ability to turn your head. Turn your head to the right as far as possible. Your goal is to have your chin above your shoulder. Hold your extended rotation position for three to five seconds. Then, turn your head to the left as far as possible, and hold the position for another three to five seconds.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Place your hands behind your head, and bend only your upper back area from side to side. Point your elbow upward as if trying to touch the ceiling or sky during each stretch. Keep your waist and hips stationary. Hold each stretch for three to five seconds. Perform as many as suggested by your doctor or physical therapist.
Keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Clasp your hands behind your back. Inhale deeply, and stand on your toes while pulling downward as if trying to touch the floor or ground with your knuckles. Hold this position for three to five seconds; then exhale slowly. Repeat these stretches in as many sets of five as your doctor or physical therapist suggest.
Strengthening Your Cervical Muscles
Isometric resistance exercises safely strengthen your neck muscles by keeping them stationary in length. Press your palms against your forehead, and push as if trying to move your head backward. Use your neck muscles to resist this motion. Maintain this resistance for five seconds.
Press your left hand against your left temple, and push as if trying to bring your ear to your shoulder. Use your neck muscles to resist the motion. Maintain the resistance for five seconds.
Cup both hands behind the back of your head. Try to push your head backward, and resist the motion using your hands. Maintain the resistance for five seconds. Slowly relax to complete the exercise.
Press your left hand against your left temple and push as if trying to rotate your chin to your right shoulder. Use your neck muscles to resist the motion. Maintain the resistance for five seconds. Slowly relax to complete the exercise. Repeat these isometric exercises as directed by your doctor or physical therapist.