Neck stiffness is fairly common
following cancer therapies for a variety of reason. Steroids by have impaired
core strength and posture, chemotherapy and some hormonal therapies can
generally cause joint discomfort. The neck being a complex series of joints if
weakened or inflamed can cause muscle spasm, pains down the arms and discomfort
radiating up the back of the head – not an infrequent cause of headache.
It’s a good idea to perform neck
exercises in front of the mirror in order to achieve the optimal posture.
stand straight and as upright as possible
stretch the arms towards the ceiling as high as possible (hold for 3-4 seconds)
then bring the arms to the horizontal and push the elbows back; at the same time keep the chin down – this should arch your upper thoracic spine and straighten the neck
repeat 3 times
facing straight ahead, look up as high as you can (hold for 3-4 seconds) then down as low as you can (hold for 3-4 seconds)
repeat 3 times.
facing straight turn the head to the right as far as you can (hold for 3-4 seconds) then the same on the left and
repeat 3 times
facing straight ahead turn your head to the right then nod up and down 3 times as if enthusiastically agreeing with someone on your right
repeat to the left
repeat all 3 times
on both sides
facing straight ahead tilt your head to the right as if trying to put you ear on your shoulder (hold for 3-4 seconds)
repeat on the left side
repeat 3 times on both sides
Further general information Your doctors and specialist nurses are in an ideal position to give you relevant information on your disease and treatment as they know your individual circumstances. Cancerbackup has a help line (0808 800 1234) and a prize winning video available in English, Italian, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati & Hindi explaining Radiotherapy & Chemotherapy. Cancernet.co.uk has over 500 pages describing cancer, its management, practical tips and tool which patients, their carers and their doctors have found helpful during the cancer journey.