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I am 56 years old and I have cervical arthritis. At least one of the vertebrae in my cervical spine has a bone spur, and I have bone degeneration. This was first diagnosed approximately five years ago from x-rays due to an unrelated incident. I've had a clicking sound in the back of my neck for years occurring when I move my head from side to side. It used to not hurt. However that isn't strictly true anymore. The click doesn't necessarrly occur every time I move my head from side to side, and it doesn't necessarily hurt every time I do that, but usually long before the end of the day the pain starts and builds up from there. It can start from something as innocent as spending too much time in bed with my head on my pillow. I can't lay on my back for long due to the painful pressure on the back of my neck. I have a Philadelphia style cervical collar and a foam rubber collar. I occasionally use the harder collar when I sit and watch TV, but I use the foam rubber collar much more often. They offer some relief. I also have a shiatsu kneading type massager which I occasionally use on the back of my neck which helps temporally. As I get older it seems like the muscles in my neck that support my head are getting weaker. It is getting more and more difficult and painful to hold my head up level with the horizon. The range of motion in my neck has and appears to be decreasing steadily. When sitting at a desk or similar I have to slouch in the chair so I can comfortably raise my head enough to look out level. I've seen several examples of elderly people being pushed about in wheel chairs with their chins down on their chest, and I don't want to end up like that.

I am afraid that using my neck braces too much is doing more harm than good. Please, does anyone have any advice and any exercises I can do to gently strengthen my neck muscles?

Thanks in advance.

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