Guest Blog from Jessica at Treetots Yoga in Totnes, UK
New mother’s neck and upper back pain
Neck and upper back pain is common in new mothers, particularly those who are breastfeeding. A rounded shoulder position and forward neck posture puts a strain on the jointsand discs in the neck and upper back. This is a very easy posture to get into when feeding and once baby has latched on is difficult to correct.
Pain is often achy with a tight feeling between the shoulder blades or the back of the neck.
In the neck there may also be sharp twinges on sudden movement, stiffness, or achy discomfort.
Managing Neck and upper back pain.
Chiropractic treatment for neck and upper back pain pain includes releasing stiff joints using gentle joint manipulation to free the movement of the joints. Massage techniques are also employed to relieve muscle tension across the shoulders, between the shoulder blades and at the base of the skull. The most important action in reducing neck pain is correction of postures which are causing the problem.
The following should be practiced to minimise strain on the neck and upper back:
- Stand with the head held high and chin tucked, not jutting out.
- Relax the shoulders back and down, even when carrying you’re your baby there is no need to hunch up your shoulders.
- Try to alternate which side you carry your baby on.
- Get comfortable when breastfeeding, sit with your shoulders back and use supports and cushions to raise the baby up to your breast rather than lowering yourself down to the baby.
- When feeding check for tension in your shoulders and whether your head is forward.
Notice the difference in posture in the second picture below to the first picture.
Back is straight and well supported, shoulders relaxed, elbows hang vertically below shoulders, neck straight and looking forward, knees lower than hips, and baby well propped in cushions to hold them at the right height without strain on Mum’s neck and shoulders:
Below are some stretches to release tightness in the neck and between the shoulder blades.
Shoulders, stretch 1:
Shoulders, stretch 2:
Shoulders and upper back stretch 3:
The content in this factsheet is intended as general advice only and does not replace a diagnosis by a qualified professional. It is based our combined professional opinions. Do not carry out stretches or exercises which cause pain, discontinue and seek advice. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions!
Sally Scott is a Chiropractor with a special interest in pre and postnatal care. She is based in Chorlton, Manchester http://www.sallyscottchiropractor.com
Jessica Healy is a baby and toddler birthlight yoga teacher with classes in Totnes. She is also a mum of three. More information can be found on http://www.treetotsyoga.com