Cervical Dorsal Exercise (Compensated)

Cervical Dorsal Exercise (Compensated)




“Cervical” refers to your neck, and “dorsal” refers to the middle of your spine.  This exercise will help level out the shoulders if one is higher than the other by strengthening the muscles on one side of the neck.  Never perform this exercise on both sides – only on the side your doctor tells you to.

If your high shoulder is on the right side, this exercise will be done on the left, and vice versa. Scoliosis patients should perform this exercise with their opposite shoulder against the wall.

Place your hand on the side of your head, above the ear, while your head is in a neutral position.  Slowly tilt your head to the side, like you are trying to bring your ear down to touch your shoulder, while resisting with your hand.  If you do this properly, you should feel the muscles contract on the front of your neck on the same side, and on the back of your neck on the opposite side.  Hold for five seconds; then, push your head back to neutral & repeat.

Typically this exercise is done with the chin pointing straight ahead to keep the curve in your neck; however, some patients may perform this exercise with the chin tucked slightly (four fingers’ distance between your chin & your chest), or with the chin raised; your doctor will tell you which way.

This exercise is called a Specific Spinal Maneuver, because it actually has the capability to move your spine back into position, just like a chiropractic adjustment.  If you feel a headache coming on, or experience neck pain, performing the Cervical Dorsal Exercise can help alleviate these conditions until you can come in for an adjustment.  Scoliosis patients may be required to perform this exercise with the opposite shoulder against a wall; this prevents abnormal motion of the thoracic (middle) spine.

Repeat ten times, at least twice a day.