Physiotherapy for Neck Pain in Women : During & Post Pregnancy

Physiotherapy during Pregnancy and after Childbirth

Pregnancy and childbirth is a joyful time for the parents.

However, this is also a period during which there are many rapid physical and hormonal changes in the mother’s body. Pregnancy is a process that puts a huge strain on the mother’s body as she is growing a new life inside of her. Additionally, postpartum, her body once again changes in a much shorter span of time. 

If you are not mindful of your body and its changes, you might unwittingly harm your health in the long-run. Proper nutrition, posture and exercises are vital during the pregnancy as well as after childbirth. If not, you might develop medical issues such as shoulder pain, lower back pain, incontinence, pelvic floor pain etc. Physiotherapy can help you deal with your body’s changes during pregnancy. 

Problems during Pregnancy and after Childbirth

Pregnancy causes significant changes in your body weight, center of gravity, and posture. This can cause the curve of your spine to increase, which contributes to neck and shoulder pain.

Not knowing how to compensate for the increased weight and changing center of gravity can result in wrong postures that weaken abdominal muscle strength. This adds stress on your back & pelvis, and can cause back pain. The pelvic floor muscles undergo extreme stretching and weakens during vaginal delivery. This can result in incontinence

These medical issues can affect your long-term health. However, these can be treated with gradual strengthening exercises and posture corrections through a good physiotherapist.

Reasons for Neck Pain during Pregnancy and after Childbirth

Almost forty percent of young mothers suffer from neck pain during and after pregnancy.

There are many reasons for neck pain. As you carry increased weight in your body, the curve of your cervical spine increases to compensate for the change in center of gravity. This adds stress on your muscles and joints, which leads to neck and shoulder pain. 

After childbirth, you might be breastfeeding the baby for hours. Nursing the baby in a wrong posture can add to the problem. Other reasons for neck pain includes lack of sleep, poor posture, muscle weakness due to pregnancy or childbirth, and anemia. 

How Women's Health Physiotherapy can Help

Women’s health physiotherapy can help you maintain correct posture, strengthen required muscles and lower the risk of injuries in future.

A physiotherapist can give you individualized recommendations based on your needs and issues. It is not only issues such as neck pain, shoulder pain or back pain that can be treated through physiotherapy, but also postpartum incontinence, diastasis recti, belly bulge etc. They can safely take you through a regimen of progressive exercises and even suggest electrical stimulations to help treat these medical conditions.

Physiotherapy Exercises During Pregnancy for Neck Pain

Perform simple exercises such as:

→ Chin tucks: 

Bring your chin backward creating a double chin. Only move your head and neck during this motion. Hold the tuck for 3-5 seconds, release, and repeat for 8-10 repetitions. 

 → Chin-to-chest:

Try to bring your chin down to touch your chest. If you cannot, don’t worry you will eventually get there. Do 8-10 slow and controlled repetitions.

→ Neck Rotations:

Keep your shoulders down and rotate your neck slowly clockwise, and then counter-clockwise. Repeat 10 times.

→ Maintain Correct Posture:

Ensure that you maintain correct posture during your pregnancy. Straighten your back, roll your shoulders back, and align your neck with your spine. 

Physiotherapy Exercises Post Pregnancy for Neck Pain

Always consult your obstetrician or physiotherapist before attempting any exercise. Start gently with simple exercises like neck rotations and chin tucks. Stop if you feel pain or discomfort. 

→ Upper back Stretches:

Stand with an upright posture or sit with good back support. Stretch one arm up towards the ceiling and the other arm down towards the floor. Gently bend sideways from the waist, taking the upper arm over your head. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat for the other side.

→ Shoulder Stretches:

Stand upright, and clasp hands together behind your back. Stretch shoulders down and back so that the shoulder blades squeeze together. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat.

→ Middle & Upper Back Stretches:

Sit with good low back support. Turn the upper body towards one side, grasping the back of the chair with the opposite hand to stretch the middle and upper back. Repeat for the other side.

Also, ensure that you maintain a good posture and straight back. When breastfeeding try not to look down at the baby the whole time because this posture can strain your neck. 

When should you call your doctor about pregnancy neck pain?

If your neck and shoulder pain persists for weeks, and seems to worsen over the days, consult a physiotherapist. Especially if you feel that you cannot carry on with your day-to-day activities.

If the pain increases or becomes unbearable or spreads along your arms, contact a doctor immediately. For more information, visit our website.