During pregnancy, the breasts grow and get heavier. As a result of this change, the center of mass shifts forward, which can promote slouching and rounding of the neck and shoulders. Because of this change, the muscles of the neck, shoulders, and upper back must work harder to maintain proper posture as well as head and neck alignment. When these postural muscles are weak, the body will compensate and utilize whichever muscles it has available, typically the upper trapezius muscles. When these muscles are overworked, they go into spasm causing neck and shoulder pain. Neck pain during pregnancy can arise at any time, but it typically comes about later in the pregnancy when sitting or finding a comfortable sleeping position becomes challenging.
When we’re treating pain in the neck and shoulders, we look at your posture and positioning in its entirety. How are you sleeping? What is your work set up? What does the curve in your low back look like? We address any movement, position, or body part that could be affecting how your neck and shoulder move.
Your neck pain and poor posture is treated with a combination of manual therapy techniques to your muscles and joints, postural exercises, and strategies to improve the way you sit, sleep, and move. One of the biggest drivers of neck and shoulder pain is the way we move and hold our head. By making meaningful, long term changes to your movement patterns, you can have long term success.
Your PT will show you how to sit, sleep, drive, lift, and carry without overly stressing your neck and shoulders. They may also use certain taping techniques to improve your postural awareness as you get stronger.