Shoulder and Neck Pain in Pregnancy

There are a few causes, like postural changes and certain types of injuries may cause shoulder and neck pain in pregnancy. Read the following article and find out what are the other causes that may contribute to the neck and shoulder pain during pregnancy...
HerHaleness Staff
During pregnancy, a woman experiences something new and extraordinary on a daily basis. Along with the joy and anticipation for the new bundle-of-joy, awaits the pain and discomfort that the expecting mother has to experience during pregnancy and even after the childbirth. Along with the common discomforts like weight gain, nausea, edema, constipation and stretch marks; a pregnant woman may also have to experience several types of pains. These pains include, back pain, shoulder pain and neck pain. A combination of severe shoulder and neck pain in pregnancy is also one of the common complaints of women. Shoulder and neck pain can be classified in various types on accounts of their severity level and the time of occurrence. For instance, some women suffer from higher degree shoulder pain but minute neck pain. On the other hand, some women suffer with severe neck pain which is sometimes accompanied with shoulder pain. The causes of neck and shoulder pain may vary depending on their nature. Keep reading ahead to learn what may cause neck and shoulder pain during pregnancy.
Although pain in one or the other part of the body is said to be normal during pregnancy; its nature may become a serious cause of tension. Along with worrying about the underlying causes of neck and shoulder pain, women may also need to live with the pain until it gets proper treatment. Generally, this condition is experienced during the second trimester of pregnancy. However, certain serious pregnancy conditions may lead to shoulder and neck pain, during the first trimester itself. Here are a few of the common causes.
Postural Changes: Now that the entire body of the pregnant woman is in the transitional phase, weight of the baby is likely to make changes in the posture of the backbone and muscles around it. As we know, human backbone is a bit recurved in the outward direction. It turns inwards near and about the shoulder and neck region. In normal conditions, this posture works great, but when a woman is carrying the extra weight of the unborn baby with her, it puts on pressure on the lower back region. Body parts like shoulder and neck, that are located at the upper back regions; try to relieve the pressure and get strained. This entire process causes neck and shoulder pain. Weight of the unborn baby will only be increasing and hence, women may need to live with this pain until childbirth. However, in order to ease away the pain, light stretching exercises for neck and shoulder may prove to be helpful.
Physical Changes: Along with change in the posture of the backbone, certain other organs like breasts, pelvis and stomach increase in size. The added weight of the baby and organs like breasts and stomach stretch the shoulder and neck forward, which may cause a little bit of pain during pregnancy. Initially, when the physical changes are comparatively minute, this pain is also minute in its degree. However, as the pregnancy progresses, it does hurts the pregnant women. Rather than getting a massage and self-medications like over-the-counter painkillers, it is always advised that such women should consult their OB-GYN and the regular health care provider. They will definitely figure out the exact reason behind neck and back pain and will also suggest an appropriate solution for the same.
Poor Posture: Along with the postural and physical changes that occur during pregnancy, wrong postures that women choose; may also cause the problems like neck pain and shoulder pain. Poor posture during walking, standing, sitting, shifting and getting up; does put stress on the neck and shoulder muscles, causing pain and discomfort. Wrong sleeping posture also causes significant amount of stress on the neck muscles and causes neck pain. Using wrong bedding material and pillow also worsens the problem in such situations. It is the reason why one should use the correct type of pillow, that will provided adequate support to the neck and back. It is also important to avoid all such movements that may put stress on your neck and shoulder during pregnancy.
Exercises: As soon as they come to know about pregnancy, most women quit their regular exercise routine. Some women avoid exercising due to extreme fatigue and early pregnancy symptoms. The situation gets back to normal when they enter into the second trimester. However, since they spent so many days without much of a physical movement. This decreased physical movement causes stiffness of the upper back region; which eventually leads to shoulder and neck pain. On the other hand, some women put extra stress on their back muscles while performing the routine exercises or heavy gym workouts. Hence, the best solution would be to perform light exercises throughout the pregnancy. Your OB-GYN will definitely provide you the easy to follow exercise routine.
Ectopic Pregnancy: Ectopic pregnancy and shoulder pain are deeply associated. An ectopic pregnancy is characterized by development of the fertilized ovum in the fallopian tube, which is located outside the uterus. This is an abnormal pregnancy, which causes shoulder pain and also neck pain in some cases. In fact, shoulder pain is one of the prominent symptoms of ectopic pregnancy. Along with shoulder pain, such women also experience dizziness, headache, heavy vaginal bleeding, lightheadedness, fainting, etc. Since this is a very serious condition, women should not overlook shoulder pain and contact the Ob-GYN the soonest.
Apart from all the aforementioned, other causes like obesity, elevated levels endocrine hormones like relaxin, and certain traumas. Some of the best measures of diagnosis that are used by the doctors include, MRI scan, x-ray, CT scan and physical examination. The doctor would advise a light exercise routine and medications in certain conditions for the betterment of your health.
(Disclaimer: The information provided in the above article is for educational purposes only. Always consult the concerned health care provider, for proper diagnosis and further treatment of your individual health condition.)