Things to avoid in cervical spondylosis

Medically Reviewed By : Dr Sravya, MBBS, MS 


Cervical spondylosis, also known as cervical osteoarthritis, is a common age-related
condition that affects the cervical spine, or the neck region of the spine. It involves the wear and tear of the spinal discs, vertebrae, and joints in the neck. While cervical spondylosis is a natural part of the ageing process, there are certain activities and habits that can exacerbate the condition and lead to increased neck pain and discomfort. In this article, we will explore the things to avoid in cervical spondylosis to help you manage your neck pain effectively.

things to avoid in cervical spondylosis

Understanding Cervical Spondylosis

Before we dive into what to avoid, let’s briefly understand cervical spondylosis. This condition occurs due to the natural degeneration of the cervical spine over time. It often involves the following changes:

Given these changes, here are the things to avoid if you have cervical spondylosis:

Poor Posture

Maintaining proper posture is paramount for individuals with cervical spondylosis. Avoid slouching or hunching over when sitting or standing. Poor posture can increase strain on the neck and exacerbate pain. Invest in ergonomic chairs and workstations to support good posture, especially if you have a desk job.

Heavy Lifting

Lifting heavy objects or lifting incorrectly can strain the neck and worsen cervical spondylosis symptoms. When lifting, use your leg muscles to do the work, keep the load close to your body, and avoid sudden twisting motions that can strain the neck.

Repetitive Neck Movements

Repeatedly moving your neck in extreme ranges of motion or performing jerky neck movements can increase strain on the cervical spine. Try to minimise sudden or exaggerate neck movements and opt for gentle stretches and exercises recommended by your healthcare provider or physical therapist.

Prolonged Neck Flexion

Activities that require prolonged neck flexion, such as looking down at your smartphone or tablet for extended periods, can strain the neck. Raise your devices to eye level to reduce neck strain, or take frequent breaks to stretch your neck and change your position.

Sleeping on the Wrong Pillow

Using an incorrect pillow or sleeping position can worsen cervical spondylosis symptoms. Avoid using overly thick or stiff pillows that force your neck into an unnatural position. Opt for a supportive, contour pillow that matches your preferred sleep position, whether you sleep on your back, side, or stomach.

High-Impact Activities

High-impact activities like contact sports or activities that involve jumping and jarring movements can exacerbate neck pain and potentially lead to injury. Consider low-impact exercises like swimming, stationary biking, or walking, which are gentler on the neck and spine.

Carrying Heavy Bags

Carrying heavy bags or backpacks with a single strap can put uneven pressure on the neck and shoulders. Use backpacks with two straps and distribute the weight evenly across your back to reduce neck strain.

Excessive Sitting

Prolonged sitting, especially in positions that strain the neck, can worsen cervical spondylosis symptoms. Take regular breaks to stand, stretch, and walk around. Perform simple neck stretches and exercises during breaks to relieve tension.


Smoking can impair blood flow to the spinal discs and may contribute to the degeneration of the cervical spine. If you smoke, consider quitting or seeking support to quit as part of your overall health and wellness plan.

Ignoring Symptoms

Ignoring persistent neck pain, stiffness, or neurological symptoms like numbness and weakness in the arms and hands can lead to worsening of the condition. If you experience these symptoms, consult a healthcare provider for proper evaluation and management.

DOs and DON’Ts in Managing Cervical Spondylosis


Cervical spondylosis may be a common part of the ageing process, but it doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to chronic neck pain. By avoiding these activities and habits that exacerbate the condition, you can effectively manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Always consult with a healthcare provider for personalised guidance on managing cervical spondylosis, including appropriate exercises and treatments. With the right approach, you can minimise discomfort and continue to enjoy an active and fulfilling life.