Last week we looked at theraband exercises which strengthen your upper body and back. This week let's take a look at some mobility exercises for the neck and upper back which you can add into any program or complete at different times throughout the day. As your body changes and adapts during your pregnancy, certain areas of your back might become stiff and feel different to you non-pregnant body. I always recommend having a look at the different movements of the spine and self-assessing how each movement feels. That way you can pick the best exercise that works for you.
Generally speaking, in the neck, upper back and lower back there are six movements; flexion, extension, side flexion left and right, and rotation left and right. Most people only thinking about the spine bending forwards and backwards and forget about the other movements. Something that I've learnt through my experience as a Physiotherapist is that the spine loves movement. It truely does. And I always encourage my clients to explore their own movements and how their body feels. Even if one particular movement feels uncomfortable or stiff, say bending forward (which is quite common), it doesn't mean you shouldn't move you back. Actually, more than often, stretching in the other directions can help restore the movement which you're struggling with. So let's take a look at some great spinal mobility exercises you can complete during pregnancy, even as your stomach gets bigger and bigger.
Book opening stretches, sitting rotation and thread the needle are wonderful exercises for spinal rotation.
Side neck flexion stretches and mermaid help to mobilise into side flexion.
Seated roll downs and child's pose are safe and comfortable exercises to move into flexion without loading your spine.
Back extensions over the ball and cat cow will help move you into extension without over-stretching your tummy.
Perform each exercise for 45 seconds on each side with 15 seconds rest.
‘x’ indicates the number of sets x 1, x 2, x 3
Perform each stretch for 60 seconds or 30 seconds on each side if required.