Feeling a crick in your neck? You’re not alone.
In fact, a 2016 study found that 12.4% of pregnant women experienced neck and shoulder pain.
But guess what? Chiropractic care might be your ticket to neck pain relief!
7 Common Causes of Neck Pains During Pregnancy
Changes in Spinal Cord Curvature
As the baby grows, a mom-to-be’s center of gravity shifts forward.
To compensate for this, many women end up arching their backs, causing a change in the spinal curvature, especially in the lower back. This can have a ripple effect, reaching up to the neck!
Spinal curvature changes put extra stress on the muscles and joints around the neck area, making the neck feel stiff and uncomfortable.
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg attaches itself to a place other than inside the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes.
If ectopic pregnancies go unnoticed and cause internal bleeding, they can lead to signs of shock. One symptom could be shoulder tip pain, which many pregnant women confuse with neck stiffness or discomfort. This shoulder tip pain occurs because the blood from the pregnancy irritates the diaphragm.
If a pregnant woman notices neck or shoulder pain out of the blue, especially when accompanied by sharp abdominal pains or dizziness, call the doctor immediately. It might not just be the usual pregnancy aches and pains; it could be something more serious like an ectopic pregnancy.
Lack of Daily Neck Exercises
When you’re pregnant, your body is working overtime. It’s creating a tiny human, after all! Because of this extra effort, pregnant women feel more tired than usual, and the thought of exercising is more daunting than climbing Mount Everest.
But here’s the twist: even a little exercise helps a lot!
When you exercise, your muscles stay active, flexible, and strong. Conversely, if you don’t get enough movement, your muscles become weak or tight, leading to that dreaded neck pain.
This doesn’t mean pregnant women should run a marathon! But even simple stretches, a short walk, or gentle yoga keeps the muscles in the neck (and the rest of the body) feeling good. So, while it might be tempting to lounge around all day, getting up and moving a bit is a real neck-saver during pregnancy!
Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. One of the classic symptoms of meningitis? Neck stiffness. And yes, even pregnant women experience it!
Turning one’s head is an uphill task for someone with meningitis. But neck pain isn’t the only sign of this condition. A pregnant woman will also have a fever and headaches, feel super tired, or be light-sensitive.
Overexertion occurs when you push your body harder than it’s used to or ready for.
Maybe you carried too many grocery bags, or perhaps you tried to rearrange the baby’s room all in one go.
When you overwork your body, the muscles around your spine may tighten up, affecting the spinal curvature. This tightening tugs on the neck muscles, leading to pain and stiffness.
The bodies of expectant mothers undergo all sorts of changes, some of which alter how we stand or sit.
This is where posture comes in—not standing or sitting straight puts a lot of strain on your neck, leading to that annoying stiffness.
Here’s the thing about bad posture: it sneaks up on you. You may be trying to get comfy while sitting or adjusting to the extra weight you’re carrying around. Before you know it, you’re slouching or leaning in a way that doesn’t do your neck any favors.
Poor Sleeping Position
If you’re pregnant and waking up with neck pain, it might be all about how you’re snoozing at night.
During pregnancy, getting comfy in bed is always a challenge. With that growing belly, you might try all sorts of positions to get some solid ZZZs.
However, if your head and neck aren’t properly aligned with your spine, it can put extra pressure on the neck muscles.
How Does Chiropractic Care Ease Neck Pain During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy can sometimes feel like you’re carrying a bowling ball around your belly, and with all that extra weight, it’s no surprise that some aches and pains pop up!
Chiropractors are like the body’s mechanics. They focus on ensuring your spine and other parts of your body are working and moving like they should.
During pregnancy, your body releases a hormone called relaxin, which makes the ligaments in your body more flexible, preparing you for childbirth. This can sometimes throw your spine out of whack, leading to discomfort.
Chiropractors use pregnancy-safe techniques to help realign your spine. The chiropractic approach reduces the tension in your neck, helping you feel more comfortable. Plus, a properly aligned spine makes delivery smoother!
9 DIY Neck Pain Remedies for Pregnant Women
Addressing Poor Posture
Proper posture is the unsung hero of comfort. When you stand or sit up straight, your spine is happy, and everything feels more balanced. On the other hand, poor posture causes your muscles to work overtime, leading to aches and pains, including in the neck.
Be mindful of how you’re standing or sitting. Keep your shoulders relaxed and back, with your chin up and your feet flat on the ground. It might also help to wear comfy shoes (skip those high heels!) and use pregnancy pillows to support your back while sitting.
Also, consider taking short breaks throughout the day to stretch. Gentle neck and shoulder stretching eases the tension and keeps that neck stiffness at bay.
Using Warm and Cold Compresses
Starting with the cold compress, wrap some ice in a cloth (don’t put it directly on your skin) and place it on your neck for about 15 minutes. The cold helps calm down the inflammation.
The warm compress is like a mini spa treatment for your sore muscles. The warmth helps to relax and loosen things up. Just like with the cold compress, wrap a warm cloth or use a warm towel and place it on the stiff area for 15 minutes.
Here’s a pro tip: Start with the cold compress to reduce swelling, then switch to the warm compress for relaxation.
Using a Pregnancy Support Pillow
Finding a comfy sleeping position feels like mission impossible when you’re pregnant.
Enter the pregnancy support pillow!
This isn’t just any regular pillow. It’s specially designed to cradle and support your growing baby bump and body.
The best part? Many of them come with a built-in neck support pillow. That means your neck gets the royal treatment, too!
Using a neck support pillow is all about keeping your spine in a happy, straight line. When your neck is in the correct position, it takes the pressure off those sore muscles, minimizing stiffness.
Gentle Neck Exercises
Gentle neck exercises can help you stretch and strengthen those neck muscles, helping them relax.
By tilting your head slowly from side to side or rolling it in easy circles, you’re giving those muscles a nice, relaxing stretch. It’s like a mini-yoga session for your neck!
Remember to always take it slow and easy. If something doesn’t feel right or hurts, it’s okay to stop and take a break.
Prenatal yoga focuses on poses that help with all the unique changes and challenges every pregnant woman’s body goes through.
When it comes to that pesky stiff neck, certain yoga poses can help stretch and relax those tense muscles.
The beauty of prenatal yoga is that it doesn’t just stop at your neck. It’s a whole-body experience that can help improve your posture, reduce neck and back pain, and even help you breathe better. Plus, it’s a great way to relax and connect with your baby.
The Tennis Ball Trick
Tennis balls aren’t just for the court; they can be a game-changer for your neck, too!
Place a tennis ball between your neck and a wall. Gently lean into the ball and move side to side or up and down. The ball will gently massage the tense spots in your neck. It’s like having a mini massage therapist right in your living room!
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that involves inserting thin needles at specific points on your body. These needles help balance the energy in your body and reduce pain.
For neck pain during pregnancy, acupuncture targets the areas causing discomfort and promotes relaxation. Plus, it’s a natural way to tackle pain and discomfort without relying on medication!
When you’ve got a stiff neck, it might hint that your body could use more magnesium.
Most pregnant women achieve muscle relaxation by taking magnesium supplements, bidding farewell to neck discomfort.
And here’s a bonus: magnesium also helps with other pregnancy-related issues, like leg cramps!
A gentle neck massage helps soothe those tight muscles, increase blood circulation, and give you some much-needed relaxation. Think about it as a way to pamper yourself and your baby at the same time!
If you’re considering getting a massage, make sure your massage therapist knows you’re pregnant. They’ll use special techniques to ensure you and your baby are comfortable and safe.
Treat Your Pregnancy Neck Pain at Bergen Chiropractic!
At Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, under the leadership of Dr. Gregory Doerr, adheres to the highest medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care in a comfortable, healing atmosphere.
Access our contact form or call us at (201) 945-4075 to learn more about our chiropractic care services! Our offices at 532 Anderson Avenue, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010, and 62 Summit Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601, are ready to welcome you as we proudly serve the areas of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD. Also, access our blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages for more information on chiropractic treatment for neck and shoulder pain during pregnancy!
- “Healthcare Practitioner Utilisation for Back Pain, Neck Pain and/or Pelvic Pain during Pregnancy: An Analysis of 1835 Pregnant Women in Australia.” International Journal of Clinical Practice, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27620139/. Accessed 15 Sept. 2023.