Do you struggle with neck pain during pregnancy? It’s a common symptom that can cause a lot of discomfort and distress!
I’ve always dealt with neck pain to varying degrees, but once I became pregnant, not only did the pain worsen, but I had to restrict a lot of my usual treatment methods.
So today, I want to help you learn how to cope with neck pain during pregnancy so you can feel better and actually enjoy that little one growing inside you!
*This post contains affiliate links. If you click on these links, I may receive a commission at no cost to you. Full disclosure here.
Neck pain can worsen during pregnancy for several reasons. One of the biggest for me was that good posture was harder to attain. Your body is changing and you’re carrying a lot more weight on your front. So slouching becomes a lot harder to avoid.
It can also be caused by hormonal changes, stress and lifestyle changes. During my first trimester and often throughout the second, I spent a lot more time on the couch exhausted. Because of this lack of mobility and exercise, my neck got tight a lot quicker. I also felt a lot more emotional and stress and anxiety was a lot harder to cope with. These also can contribute to increased neck pain.
If you are experiencing severe headaches or neck pain, I recommend calling your doctor.
So let’s get into some ways to help you cope with neck pain during pregnancy.
1. Heating Pad for Neck
Most of the time you will see that you should avoid heating pads during pregnancy. This is because it’s recommended not to increase your internal body temperature. You also aren’t going to want to put heating pads directly over your belly.
I had avoided heating pads during the first few weeks, thinking that this warning was a blanket statement, but I soon realized that using a heating pad specifically for my neck was fundamental in helping me deal with my neck pain.
I notice my neck is a lot tighter in the morning, so I would use one of the heating pads first thing to loosen the muscles and help me start my day without pain.
2. Strengthening Exercises
Your posture is a major factor that influences neck pain. Think about how you are sitting right now, are you sitting completely upright with shoulders back or are you even the slightest bit hunched over?
During pregnancy, it becomes a lot harder to maintain good posture. And from what I hear, once you have a baby to hold, carry around and nurse, it doesn’t get any better!
So strengthening those muscles that help with good posture is essential to helping ease and prevent neck pain.
I have been to physical therapy a few times for my neck and so I have quite a few exercises in my repertoire, but you can also just find strengthening exercises that are safe for pregnancy and consistently do them. I do recommend starting with bodyweight only or very light weights if you are dealing with pain and not used to exercising those muscles.
And if you have the time and resources, I highly recommend physical therapy as a part of the process!
3. Massage Tight Muscles
On a similar note, massage can be extremely helpful in relieving neck pain and tension. During the beginning of my pregnancy, my neck pain would lead to severe migraines. It wasn’t until I started getting massages targeted towards my neck and upper back that I found relief.
I highly recommend a combination of strengthening exercises and massage. There are numerous benefits to general massage during pregnancy and especially when targeted towards areas that are causing you pain like your neck and back, it can be extremely beneficial.
4. Try a New Pillow
I found that a lot of times when my neck pain would worsen, it was because my pillow wasn’t a good fit or was getting flat. This would happen before I became pregnant, but my neck grew much more sensitive during pregnancy.
There are several pillows that contour to help ease neck pain. If you have not yet tried one, I recommend starting with an inexpensive version of these life-changing pillows.
5. Essential Oils vs. Meds
After my first trimester, I began to use Lavender and Frankincense in very diluted quantities. In rolling these on my neck, I found that it did help with my neck pain.
If you need to resort to pain meds, it is recommended that you take Tylenol or Acetaminophen. I normally take Advil or Ibuprofen for neck pain, but this is one of the medications they tell you to avoid. I was worried about switching because Tylenol hadn’t worked for me before. But thankfully it did help to ease my pain when it was necessary.
I would definitely encourage you to talk to your doctor first to see if there is anything else you can try, but I found that taking Tylenol on occasion when really needed helped me to manage my neck pain.
If you are struggling with neck pain during pregnancy, you are not alone! There are so many things that you can do to help relieve your pain.