Cervical curve pain is one of the most common ailments of the muscular-skeletal system. Patients are increasing looking for effective forms of treatment and exercises to help eliminate the pain. Rehabilitation offers a variety of methods for cervical curve treatment, such as manual therapy or carefully chosen exercise sets. Over the last few years stabilization exercises have become more popular and well-known.
What makes our spine stable? Due to the combined work of our muscles, ligaments, discs, and the specific build of vertebrae, our spine has a construction in which every vertebra has a limited of range of movement towards each other. If there are pathological factors which cause an increase in movement between vertebrae, this is known as spine instability.
Who are stabilizing exercises aimed at? People who suffer pain from a diagnosed instability of the cervical curve. This group includes people who suffered accidents (mostly traffic related), people spending long periods of time in front of the computer, and patients with cervical curve discopathy (slipped discs). Before starting rehabilitation it is necessary to consult a doctor or physiotherapist to receive the correct diagnostics and to eliminate the need for surgical treatment. You need to remember that pain is just a symptom, and you need to look for the cause. In cases involving pain in the cervical curve or pain radiating to upper limbs, the cause may be located outside the spine.
What are stabilizing exercises of the cervical curve based on? These exercises are based on the agitation of the deepest layer of muscle. There are a lot of theories regarding these types of exercises, which significantly differ from each other.
Indisputably, among the patients suffering from neck pain you can observe incorrect body postures where the head is pushed forwards. These patients start physiotherapy with exercises correcting body posture, causing head retraction. During head retraction it is worth lowering and relaxing the shoulders. This exercise is worth repeating several times a day. It is also advisable to assume this position when spending excessive time in front the computer, for example.
Very good exercises for cervical curve stabilization are exercises involving eyesight. In these cases, special equipment is used, for example, Sensoneck. During exercises a special board is used on which different lines are drawn. The patient wears a laser band on their head, and the exercise is based on moving the laser exactly along the lines.
Some physiotherapists are supporters of isometric exercises carried out by the patient unassisted. In these exercises the patient puts their cervical curve in the correct position, and with one or both hands pushes against their forehead, back of the head, or side of the head. During the exercise the head remains still.
Exercises using rubber materials are well-regarded by physiotherapists. These exercises are performed in a sitting or standing position with a protracted head, while the patient pulls and manipulates the rubber in different directions. An example exercise: the patient is sitting on a chair, head protracted and shoulders relaxed, and the rubber material placed at a chest level. The patient pulls the rubber to the level of the hips, before slowly returning to the starting position. During the exercise the head remains still, and elbows straight.
It must be mentioned that patients can also pull the rubber from a lower position to a higher position, on the sides, or just stretching the rubber in front of the chest. You always need to remember to correctly position the head.
There are also neck stabilization exercises which use rapid arm movement frequency. An example exercise: the patient is sitting on a chair, head protracted. The patient lifts their arms to a chest level in front of the body, palms facing each other, elbows straight. The patient makes quick, alternative chopping motions up and down. The chopping motions should not be made with huge deviation, but be at a rapid frequency. Finally it should be noted that correct functioning of the spine also depends on our general condition. Walking, running, swimming, and cycling are general activities which help us to keep fit while positively supporting the condition of the spine. However, none of these exercises should result in pain! In case of any pain occurrence when performing these exercises, you must stop and consult a physiotherapist.