Located in the side and back of the neck, the cervical facets of the spine often get injured. Jerk, whiplash or a bad posture may cause the injury and when you experience cervical facet joint pain, there is pain not only in the neck, but also in the arms and shoulders. Though anti-inflammatory medications are usually taken in case you have cervical facet joint pain, exercises too are very useful for quick recovery. Exercises relieve a lot of muscle tension and wards off the cervical facet joint pain faster.
Exercises for Cervical Facet Joint Pain
Amongst the many exercises that are useful for cervical facet joint pain, the most common ones include –
Neck Rotation Exercises for Cervical Facet Joint Pain:
This is one of the most effective exercises for the cervical facet joint pain. This exercise encourages and increases the range of motion in the neck and relieves pain. To do this exercise –
- Start with looking straight in front
- Then turn your head to one side and stretch it as far as you can, without causing further pain
- Hold the stretch for about 20 seconds by fixing your gaze on something on the wall
- Release the stretch and return to the starting position
- Repeat the process on the other side of the head.
With every stretch, try to increase the amount of stretch a little further. Repeat the exercise for 3 times on each side of the head.
Neck Backward and Forward Bending Exercise for Cervical Facet Joint Pain:
When you have cervical facet joint pain, the muscles in this region are also tense and it becomes difficult to move your neck forward and backward. The neck bending exercise will help in relieving this tension. For this exercise –
- Start from a seated position, with the eyes fixed straight in front of you
- Push the chin down towards the chest as much as you can, so that you can feel a stretch at the back of your neck or head
- Hold the position for about 5 seconds
- Go back to the starting position
- Then push the head backwards by looking upwards in the ceiling
- Hold this position for 5 seconds.
Repeat this exercise for 3 times while pushing the head forward and then 3 times while pushing the head backwards. Try to increase the stretch every time.
SCM Stretch Exercise for Cervical Facet Joint Pain:
SCM or sternocleidomastoids are muscles that connect the jaw and the base of the head to the clavicle bone. When you have pain especially in the side of the neck, the SCM Stretch is particularly useful. To do this exercise for cervical facet joint pain :
- Bend the head to the left side at first, so that the left ear touches the left shoulder
- Now in this posture, try to look up towards the ceiling
- You should be feeling the stretch in the side as well as front of your neck.
Try to hold this position for about 20 seconds and then return to normal and repeat on the other side. It must be done for about three times on each side.
Trapezius Stretch Exercise for Cervical Facet Joint Pain:
Along with the sternocleidomastoid muscle, the trapezius muscle too needs to be stretched and relaxed, in order to get relief from the cervical facet joint pain. This muscle is located at the neck base. The Trapezius Stretch exercise can be called as an opposite exercise to the SCM Stretch. In this exercise, you need to –
- Start by turning your head to the left, so that the left ear touches the left shoulder
- Now slowly push your chin towards the chest
- You should feel the stretch in the back of your neck and shoulder.
You should hold this position for about 20 seconds and then release the head. Then repeat the same on the other side of the head. This exercise should be practiced for about 2 to 3 times on each side of the head.
Neck Retraction Exercises for Relieving Cervical Facet Joint Pain:
This exercise for cervical facet joint pain is quite easy. You need to sit with your head and spine straight with the gaze fixed in front of you. Now, without moving your shoulders, try to push the head back, as if you are trying to make a double chin. Hold the position for a few seconds and release. You need to repeat this exercise for about 5 times.
All these exercises are very useful to get rid of the cervical facet joint pain. However, while doing these exercises, make sure that you stay within the limit of your pain and if at any point you feel like getting fainted, stop doing the exercises at once.