According to one medical study, 39.5% of pregnant women experienced back pain, and 12.4% experienced neck pain during pregnancy. Most pregnant women experience some degree of neck pain. In many cases, the pain is mild and manageable. However, neck pain can also be severe and present a significant challenge to daily activities. If you’re pregnant and have ongoing or worsening neck pain, you may want to consider physical therapy to reduce pain and gain more mobility.
What causes pregnancy-related neck pain?
There are several possible causes for neck pain during pregnancy:
- Weight gain — As your baby grows, your center of gravity shifts forward. This puts a strain on the back of your neck and upper back muscles. It can also lead to more stress and pain in joints like your hips.
- Posture changes — When your belly gets more extensive, you may start to lean backward to balance your growing weight better. This can force you to arch your back, which strains the muscles in your lower back. This position can also cause you to bend your head forward more. This can strain your neck muscles and contribute to neck pain.
- Hormones —The high levels of hormones in your body during pregnancy relax the joints in your pelvis, as well as other joints throughout the body — including those in the spine. This can make you more likely to injure a joint or strain a muscle or ligament by stretching too far or lifting something heavy. It also means your neck may be less stable and more prone to painful injuries.
What to do when you have chronic or extreme neck pain during pregnancy
When your neck pain is severe or ongoing, you should seek medical attention. Your health care provider or a physical therapist can help identify and diagnose the source of your pain.
A physical therapist can also build you an individualized treatment plan for neck pain. Your plan can include beneficial physical therapy methods such as:
- Soft tissue mobilization — This technique involves your physical therapist using their hands to apply pressure to tense neck and shoulder soft tissue. This is intended to reduce both tension and pain in your neck.
- Ergonomic recommendations — Your physical therapist can evaluate how you’re holding your neck and head during normal daily activities. They can recommend ergonomic corrections that can reduce neck pain.
- At-home care — Many therapy teams offer one-on-one appointments where the specialist comes to your home. This allows them to help you learn therapeutic exercises and treat your pain without you having to leave home.
- Therapeutic exercises — Your physical therapist can instruct you how to do many exercises intended to relieve neck tension and pain. One medical study reports that a combination of exercises and manual therapy methods helped 75% of patients reduce their neck pain.
- Virtual therapy — Often, you can meet with your physical therapist online if you can’t come to their clinic. This typically involves you working with your physical therapist over a Skype-like video feed, and the connection is secure to protect your privacy.
Neck pain during pregnancy is a common condition that many women suffer through. Luckily, several physical therapy treatment methods can help reduce this pain. If you’re one of the numerous women who experience neck pain during pregnancy, don’t keep living with it. Seek out help from a physical therapist.
Turn to Back in Motion Physical Therapy for neck pain treatment during pregnancy
At Back in Motion Physical Therapy, our goal is to reduce neck pain during pregnancy. Our staff possesses decades of combined experience in treating many physical conditions, including neck pain. We can perform a free screening on you to determine the source of your pain. Our physical therapists can then build you a personalized therapy plan designed to reduce your pain and help you finish your pregnancy with more ease.
Contact us today for more information about how we can help you with neck pain treatment or to schedule your initial appointment.