Top 5 Exercises to Relieve Mid Back Pain During Pregnancy

Do you have back pain postpartum? If your answer is yes, you’re not alone.

I’m Dr. Nichelle Gurule with Live Loud Chiropractic and coaching out of Lafayette, Colorado. I have patients asking me all the time how they can relieve their neck and mid back pain that they have after having a baby. We’re going to go over the top five exercises that you can do to help with postpartum mid back pain. A lot of the time it stems from the postpartum habits that create posture that is less than ideal. It is important to recognize we want to work on a mix of spinal mobility, stretching, and strengthening. The top five exercises we’re going to go over to help with postpartum upper back pain are banded As, double chins, thread the needles, thoracic foam rock out, and a pec stretch.


What Causes Back Pain Postpartum?

You suddenly go from doing whatever you’re doing, to taking care of an infant 24/7, which mostly means holding them, staring lovingly at them, feeding them, whether it’s bottle feeding or breastfeeding), and just holding them while they’re sleeping.

  1. We’ve created a “new mom posture” that is commonly rounded with your head looking down at your baby. Our neck muscles are struggling. Our mid back muscles are weak and lengthened. Our pecs are tight and shortened. And our mid back is rounded in this flex posture all the time.
  2. We have a core that is not as strong; it’s weakened as those muscles get lengthened through the course of pregnancy. And some women will have a remaining diastasis (a separation of their abdominal wall) postpartum. Their core is not as strong, especially in the abdominal region. It’s easier just to slouch.
  3. Fatigue plays a big role. We’re tired! Relaxin is still elevated for up to five months postpartum, and up to a couple months after breastfeeding.
  4. Hormones cause laxity of the connective tissue.
  5. We’re not moving as much anymore. So we are slouched, taking care of baby and not getting in that movement because we are trying to allow our bodies to heal.

Top 5 Exercises For Mid Back Pain Postpartum

So a combination of all that leads to posture that’s little less than ideal. What we want to do is stretch out our pecs, because if they’re tight, they’re going to pull us down. We want to strengthen the mid back and neck muscles, gain mobility in the mid back, get into extension and out of flexion. Let’s dive into all of this with our top five postpartum exercises for relieving mid back pain.

1. Banded A’s.

Banded A’s will help strengthen the mid back postpartum. Think about activating your lats and pulling your shoulder blades down and back. Come into an athletic stance, and slow and controlled, bring the band out into an ‘A’ position. I like the pace of five seconds out, five seconds returning. You can wrap the band around a kitchen table leg, a desk leg, or even a banister.

2. Double Chins

Double chin helps strengthen the neck. Interlace your fingers and place them behind your head. Then push your head directly back into your hands. You can do 10 reps where you hold for one to two seconds; or you can just hold for 20 to 30 seconds. You can do it without interlacing your hands, there just won’t be as much of a force to press into. You can press into a headrest in the car, or if you’re feeding your baby and you’re against a wall, you can press your head against the wall. But be aware that it’s not tucking the chin, it’s bringing it directly back.

3. Thread the Needle.

Thread the needle is great for getting the thoracic spine mobility that gets restricted during a lot of those new mom postures that we have with baby. To start, come down on the ground in a table-top pose. Place your hand behind your neck, then drive your elbow up toward the ceiling, then interlace it through. Try to get as much range of motion as you can in this rotation.

4. Thoracic Spine Roll Out

If you have a foam roller, the thoracic foam roll out is great for getting more mobility and extension of the thoracic spine that’s been flexed so much. Start at the bottom of your thoracic spine, which is where your your ribs end. Either cross your arms over your chest, or have them up overhead. Then rock and pivot over without lifting your hips. Then roll it up a little bit and repeat this motion. Once you get up to the top of your back, you can then open up your arms, relax your head, and stretch out your pecs.

5. Couch Stretch

The couch stretch works on an extension of the thoracic spine that’s been in a lot of flexion during the postpartum early days. Open up your arms nice and wide on the couch, and then drop your chest through. You’ll get that extension in the mid back, and the pecs will get stretched stretched at the same time. You can also do a pec stretch in a doorway or against the wall.


So those are the top five exercises that you can start now to help work on that mid back pain that you’re having postpartum. Other than things that you can do at home, I recommend chiropractic care, rehab like some of the movements I just gave you, massage, and acupuncture. And then finally, put heat on the area. Sometimes relaxing those muscles with a hot bath or heating pad can be really helpful to relieving that mid back pain you’re having postpartum.

Keep up the great work and LIVE LOUD!

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