Along with the common back pain associated with pregnancy, neck pain often shows up, either as an association to the back pain or as a complaint on its own.
Along with all the joys of pregnancy come some not-so-joyous symptoms like the sense of fatigue, nausea, back pain, and not so un-often; neck pain. Along with the common back pain associated with pregnancy, neck pain often shows up, either as an association to the back pain or as a complaint on its own.
As a woman’s body prepares for ongoing pregnancy, certain hormones are released to encourage the body to flex in places that are normally more firm. With the swift inflow of such hormones, the muscles and ligaments become more flexible than ever, allowing the body to accommodate the rising belly and the shift in the center of gravity that occurs as the uterus enlarges with the developing baby. Nevertheless, this also means that the back and neck are obliged to bear a weight that is in excess of what they are accustomed to handling. This additional AND escalating weight puts tremendous strain on the back and neck muscles.
Relieving the Pain
There are a few things a woman can do to help herself should neck pain becomes an issue, most important of all are:
1- Practice Good Posture
As a lady starts to expand and gain weight, her entire body balance shifts. She may find herself pushing her lower back towards the front of her body to compensate. The problem with this is that it’s causing all her back muscles to tense up which will eventually induce more pain. Pregnant ladies are encouraged to sit up straight as this gives the back muscles a chance to stretch and lengthen.
2- Proper Sleep Positions
Try sleeping on the side supported by a pillow. Also be sure that there is a nice, firm pillow (cervical pillow) under the head so as to ensure that the neck is aligned with the spine. The habit of using too many pillows can create an unnatural position in the neck and spine, and accordingly be the trigger for pain and a long sleepless night.
3- Ice can work wonders
Applying ice packs to the neck will help to reduce pain. Of course, knowing that prevention is better than cure, doing neck exercises and stretching the neck daily along with some mild back exercises (until the last few weeks of pregnancy) will help to keep the pressure off the neck and back and relax the tense muscles.
This basic neck exercise is easy enough that can be done anywhere: Sitting up straight, turn head to left as far as possible can hold for 10-15 second. Return to center. Turn head to the right as far as possible and hold for 10-15 seconds before once again returning to center. Bring the chin to the chest, looking down, and hold 10-15 seconds.
4- Beware of improper shoe selection
Heels will misalign the back, throw off the balance with the growing belly. Wearing high heels may also induce an accidental fall which might be dangerous to both the pregnant lady and her precious yet-to-be-born baby. The opposite is also true, flip-flops are discouraged because there is no support in them.
5- Evening massage is gold
Seek husband’s help in rubbing the back in case of back pain. This is particularly effective after a nice hot shower because the heat will help to get the muscles relaxed and easier to work on them with a message.
6- Look At Eye Level
Slouching or constantly looking down can cause a lot of stress on the neck, causing pain and discomfort. If the pregnant lady has to work on a desk or stare at a screen, she has ti ensure the same is at eye level. Looking ahead and not down, will mean the neck is at its regular angle and this will prevent pain.
If the pregnant lady has tried these home remedies for neck pain and continues to suffer pain, it is always advised to make an appointment with her trusted obstetrician for further professional management.
My best regards and warm wishes for a safe and pleasant pregnancy journey, We have the best gynecologists in Dubai, specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of various gynecological disorders and conditions. At German Medical Center, the best obstetrics and gynecology clinic in Dubai, Dr. Carreras provides personalized and compassionate treatment for neck pain during pregnancy.
Dr. Amaya Carreras
Obstetrician & Gynecologist