Wellness Articles

Stretches for Nursing Moms (…and anyone else with stiff upper back, neck, or forearms)

Stretching Advice for a Nursing Mom Provided by Vancouver Chiropractor

Although everyone has probably experienced upper body stiffness and soreness at some point in their life, it seems as though nursing Moms have an unfortunate higher incidence of it.  I encourage everyone from the “industrial athlete” (those individuals that sit in front of their computer all day), nursing moms, weekend warriors, and high level athletes to give these stretches a try.  Here are 4 stretches I’m always recommending to my patients.  I even practice what I preach and do them myself!!

Side Neck stretch: You should feel the stretch along the side of the neck from the ear to the shoulder.  neck-stretch

Gently bring right ear toward right shoulder feeling the stretch turn on along the left side of the neck.  Once you feel a strong stretch, stop and hold for 45 seconds.  Relax the head back to neutral and repeat again.  Then stretch the right side of the neck by bringing the left ear toward the left shoulder.

Neck, levator, and upper trapezius stretch: You should feel the stretch from the back of the head to the top of shoulder blade.

levatorstretch    Gently look over your right shoulder and then look down toward your right hip, feeling the stretch along the left side of the neck.  Once you feel a strong stretch, stop and hold for a minimum of 45 seconds.  After completing the stretch, take caution coming out of it- slowly bring your chin to your chest and then back to neutral.  Stretch the right side of the neck by bringing the chin toward the left armpit.

Chest stretch: Your chest muscles become tight over the course of nursing from rounding the shoulders forward and holding the baby.  This stretch should help open up the front of the shoulders and chest.    chest stretch

Clasp hands behind your back.  Gently lift arms up, moving hands away from your back.  Once you feel a strong stretch across the chest and front of the shoulders, stop and hold for 45 seconds.  Relax the neck by gently bringing your chin to your chest.  Repeat.

Forearm stretches: These stretches will help stretch the front and back of the forearm muscles.  You may also feel the stretch up higher in the arm as well.

Ergonomic Stretches_clip_image004   Raise right arm in front of you, palm down.  Using left hand to assist, bring the palm toward you until a strong stretch is felt along the top of the forearm.  Once you feel a strong stretch, stop and hold for 45 seconds.  Repeat on the left arm with the right hand assisting with the stretch.

Raise right arm in front of you, palm up.  Using left hand to assist, bring the fingers down toward the ground until a strong stretch is felt along the top of the forearm.  Once you feel a strong stretch, stop and hold for 45 seconds.  Repeat on the left arm with the right hand assisting with the stretch.

Have a great day,
Dr. Crysta Serné
Vancouver Chiropractor and owner of Vitality Clinic

 



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