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Experts Corner

Fitness

Neck and Upper Back Tension During Pregnancy
By Lisa Stone, ACE

Q. I am 4 months pregnant and VERY much enjoying being active this pregnancy. I do yoga and walk quite a bit. I have always had problems (even before pregnancy) with STRESS or tension going straight to my week spots (upper back and neck). The yoga seems to be helping some, but I wonder if there are any other exercises that could help loosen these areas. Do you know of any moves that could help? By the way, I've had several massages to see if they help, but a lot of times, I feel worse afterwards (too deep maybe). Friends have suggested I try a chiropractor.

A. Holding stress in the back and neck is very common - I have that same problem!

One exercise that always makes me feel better is doing SLOW neck circles. The correct way to do them is to start with your chin down on your chest and to slowly move it first toward one shoulder and then back along the chest to the other shoulder; end with your chin on your chest and then slowly return your head to the upright position.

Another good stress-reliever is shoulder rolls. Rotate the right shoulder in a slow forward circle and then rotate the left shoulder in a slow forward circle. Keep alternating shoulders until you've done about 12 circles on each side. Then, rotate each shoulder in a slow backward circle for about 12 circles on each side.

Hope these help! I've not had good luck with chiropractors, but your experience may be a good one. I would suggest trying to find a massage therapist or chiropractor who has specialized training in pregnancy just to be on the safe side.

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