As parents, the postpartum period can be an amazing and special time. It can also feel overwhelming and stressful as we adjust to life with a new small person depending on us for their every need. Postpartum neck and midback pain are common complaints experienced by many new parents, whether it is baby #1 or baby #5. This can often add to these feelings of stress and overwhelm; and possibly limit your movements in day to day activities. The good news is, generally there is no serious underlying cause for this pain, and there is help available!
Do these sound familiar?
- Carrying your baby for long periods, or in what feels like awkward positions.
- Holding baby in one arm while doing your daily activities or while helping/holding/playing with older children.
- Baby finally falling asleep on you then you find yourself in an awkward position, but you don’t want to move because it has taken a while for baby to settle.
- Feeding positions, whether breastfeeding or bottle feeding, especially if you are in one position for a long period of time.
- Stress from things such as broken sleep; worrying if you are doing this parenting thing right; trying to keep up with housework and errands.
Stress, poor posture, prolonged carrying and feeding positions can place fatigue and stress on the muscles and joints in the neck and midback, potentially contributing to the pain you are experiencing.
What can I do at home to try and decrease my pain?
Some things you can try at home that may offer temporary reduction or relief from postpartum neck and midback pain and tightness include*:
- Wrap up a warm heat pack or hot water bottle in a towel and place on your neck and midback area for 10 minutes.
- Head out of the house and go for a walk, even 15-20 minutes can help reduce stress and muscle tension.
- Stretches: Hold these at a gentle stretch feeling for 10-20 seconds each side, and perform a couple of times a day.
How can chiropractic care help?
Our Chiropractors use a combination of different treatments and exercises to help with neck and midback pain. These treatments are tailored to each individual, in line with current evidence based guidelines. Treatment is only performed once we have completed a thorough history and examination to identify the cause of your neck and midback pain. Treatment during your appointment may include:
- Adjustments and mobilisations of the joints in the spine to improve their movement and function, and help decrease pain.
- Soft tissue techniques, including massage, dry needling, and stretches, to help decrease pain and tightness.
- Remedial Massage Therapy.
- Rehab exercises to strengthen the neck and midback muscles.
- Functional exercises tailored to how far postpartum you are, your level of fitness, and making them achievable in your busy day.
- Advice on activities to change or avoid to help resolve your pain quickly.
Do I need to have x-rays before I receive treatment?
This will be discussed with you once we have completed a thorough history and examination, as it depends on each individual’s circumstance and presentation. Generally, in most cases, a trial period of conservative care is recommended before obtaining imaging; but there are some circumstances where imaging may be needed before starting treatment, such as a concern of an underlying fracture or pathology.
How many Chiropractic sessions will I need?
This will be discussed with you after a full assessment of your neck and midback pain, and depends on many factors. These include the cause of your pain, how long you have had it for, if you have any underlying health conditions, and much more. For more information, visit our blog post here.
We are here to help!
To get help with your postpartum neck and midback pain, talk to our experienced team. Book online today or call the clinic on (08) 9275 6095 to schedule an appointment.
Dr Brianna is a mum and chiropractor at our Morley clinic, and has a special interest in helping patients during pregnancy and postpartum to reduce their pain; support them through their parenting journey; and in achieving their health & fitness goals.