Caring for your newborn shouldn’t be a pain in the neck.
There’s nothing quite like holding your newborn in your arms. During those first months with your baby, you do a lot of looking down and hunching your shoulders during feedings, diaper changes, and other daily activities. But after some time, the constant rounded shoulder posture can result in neck pain, back pain, and headaches. Don’t let these aches pull you away from those moments with your little one.
Although these aches and pains are common, you do not need to live with them. They can be effectively treated and prevented with physical therapy.
Quick Ways To Reduce Neck Pain
A few gentle stretches and movements you can do right now to help with neck pain:
- Lean your head to one side, ear to shoulder until you feel a stretch. Hold this position for a minute while focusing on deep breathing. Then perform on the other side.
- Stand in a doorway with arms on either side of the doorframe and one foot in front of the other. Shift your weight to your front foot to gently stretch your chest muscles. Hold this for a minute and take slow deep breaths.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together and down toward your back pockets. Lift your chest bone toward the ceiling. Repeat for 20 reps.
- Sit up straight and look directly forward. Draw your chin into your neck giving yourself a double chin and hold 5 seconds. You should feel a stretch at the base of your head. Repeat for 15 reps. Avoid looking down or bending your neck.
- Switch which arm you hold your baby’s head to avoid spending too much time looking down in one direction. If bottle-feeding, alternate the sides you feed on.
- Support your baby and your arms on pillows to avoid prolonged slouched posture.
At MercyOne, a physical therapy evaluation includes an extensive history intake and a thorough movement evaluation, which may include assessing the neck, shoulders, and other surrounding structures. Posture, strength, range of motion endurance, and body mechanics will be evaluated to assist in determining your optimal treatment plan. Each person’s treatment plan is personalized to address their specific impairments, however typical physical therapy interventions may include any of the following:
- Strengthening for muscle weakness
- Relaxation/stretching for overactive or tight muscles
- Core strengthening
- Instruction on proper posture and body mechanics
- Education and instruction on techniques to control for abdominal pressure with functional movements
- Manual techniques to address any joint stiffness or muscle tension
- Education on behavioral management techniques including:
- Stress management
- Sleep hygiene
- Breathing and relaxation
- Other interventions may include instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization, dry needling, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, cupping, or kinesio taping.
If you are currently experiencing any of the above symptoms, MercyOne Indianola Physical Therapy Clinic is here to help you be proactive in your recovery and for any questions you have. Set up an appointment today by calling us at 515-643-9109.
About the author
Jenilee Foster, DPT, MHA, CSMT, has worked at MercyOne for 12 years. She treats various orthopedic conditions and pelvic floor impairments.
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This article is part of a series of sponsored articles by MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center