Easy Exercises to Ease Neck and Shoulder Aches 育児しながらでもできる 簡単エクササイズ

Published on: February 04, 2018

Taking care of young children can be a pain—literally! Here are some simple exercises that moms (and dads) of babies and toddlers could do to help ease neck, shoulder and backaches.

By Kaoruko Yoshida / Translated by Ema Naito-Bhakdi [日本語記事へ]

Running around every day taking care of young children and other work, it’s not uncommon that parents, especially mothers, find that their neck and shoulders are stiff solid. In my experience, I find that mothers of babies and children up to about two years of age come with the severest complaints of neck and backaches. Even when the babies grow to toddlerhood and no longer need to be carried around all the time, they become heavier so it doesn’t ease the physical burden on the parents.

When someone is suffering pain in the shoulder, neck or lower back, I usually recommend they receive electrical muscle stimulation or massage once a week, but in reality, it can be difficult for parents with busy schedules to do so. 

Here are a few exercises you might try at home instead.

Neck & Shoulder Stretch

  1. Use a hand towel or something similar; grab onto the ends so that your arms, when stretched out, are open slightly wider than shoulder width. Raise your arms straight above your head.
  2. Bending your arms, slowly lower the towel behind your head. Keep your chest open, and feel that you are bringing your shoulder blades together.

This exercise is effective for stretching the pectoral muscles and is also good to counter slouching shoulders. If you are always hunched over, blood flow to the chest can be decreased and may affect breastmilk production or blocked ducts.[1]

Keeping your arms roughly shoulder width apart, lower your elbows while thinking of squeezing your shoulder blades together. This will train the rhomboid muscles, which are inner muscles that support your back.

Stretch with Baby on Your Back

You can try to carry your baby on your back more, once they are big enough, and less on your front. With your baby strapped to your back, you can try the following stretch.

  1. Straighten your back, exaggerate a little and puff out your chest.
  2. Open up your chest, and feeling like you are bringing your shoulder blades together, bring your arms behind you and hug your baby’s body (if you can, cradle your baby’s head).

Abs and Obliques Strengthening with Baby

Strengthening the abdominal muscles is recommended to help prevent back pain. When you carry your child on your back the back muscles do much of the work, but repeated and prolonged daily use will result in neck, shoulder and lower back pain. To ease the burden and prevent pain, it’s best to strengthen the complementary muscles of your stomach and use them as well when carrying your child.

  1. Sit cross-legged on the floor and lay your child on your lap.
  2. From that position, lower your upper body so that you are lying on your back.
  3. Keeping your attention on your navel, slowly raise your upper body, so that you are back in sitting position in about 3 seconds.
  4. Next, do the same but come up while twisting your body to one side. Repeat while twisting to the other side. Make sure you take at least 3 seconds to come up to sitting position.

Coming up straight (step 3) works your outer rectus abdominis muscle (your ‘abs’), which complement your back muscles, and the twist exercise (step 4) will strengthen your external abdominal oblique muscles.

Just spend five minutes per day for five repetitions, and it will help prevent backaches.

When you’re busy caring for your child, it’s easy to forget about taking care of your own body. But if you are in chronic pain, it can affect your emotions and you likely won’t feel at your best to raise your child. So don’t forget to carve out a little time to care for yourself too!


By 吉田薫子





<おすすめエクササイズ①: 肩こり・首こり解消ストレッチ>














 (1) あぐらの姿勢で足でお子様を抱え込みます。

(2) (1)の状態のまま、上半身を倒し仰向けになります。

(3) おへそを意識しながら、3秒かけてゆっくりと上半身を起こします。3秒かけて、ゆっくり戻します。

(4) 今度は上体をねじりながら、3秒かけてゆっくり上体を起こします。3秒かけてゆっくり戻します。反対側も同様に行います。






[1] Japan College Association of Oriental Medicine ed. (2005), Kaibougaku (Anatomy). 社団法人東洋療法学校協会編(2005)『解剖学』医歯薬出版株式会社. 


About the Author

Kaoruko is manager of the acupuncture & traditional medicine division at J-Clinic, where she provides care for clients suffering from shoulder and back pain, irregular menstruation, infertility, and breastmilk production issues. She is certified by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to practice acupuncture, moxibustion and massage and finger pressure therapy. Kaoruko is mother to a 12-year-old boy. 


The views expressed in the articles in this magazine are not necessarily those of BAMBI committee members and we assume no responsibility for them or their effects.

BAMBI News welcomes volunteer contributors to our magazine. Please contact editor@bambiweb.org.