Neck aches and headaches in pregnancy
Typical symptoms: Varying stiffness, pain and tenderness in the upper back, shoulders and neck, eventually restricting your neck movement with possible headaches.
Both during and after pregnancy, you can expose yourself to long periods of postural strain that imposes heavy loading on arms, shoulders and neck. This can be due to postural adaptation before pregnancy and/or, later on, feeding and holding your baby.
Although we may be initially unaware of these effects, eventual culmination will lead to a gradual increase in soft tissue tension in the neck and shoulders. Given time, some mild discomfort will eventually become apparent. Initially, with rest your symptoms may improve.
This initial stage may last for several weeks or longer. If nothing is done, the symptoms are likely to increase in frequency, intensity and become increasingly protracted. Without treatment, the symptoms of repetitive strain injury can become constant in nature.
Gentle massage to the tight muscles and manipulation to loosen the joints of the neck, thorax and back can relieve the build-up of muscular tension that is capable of eventually manifesting in headaches.
Headaches can be caused by musculoskeletal tension in the neck and upper back; this accounts for up to 70% of headaches. Possible causes of tension headaches include posture (typical with pregnancy), stress, and muscular fatigue through repetitive actions. Headaches of this type are called cervicogenic headaches because the origin is from the neck (or cervical spine).
Osteopathy can help with cervicogenic headaches by increasing your feeling of relaxation. We can diagnose and treat poor posture or imbalances in your anatomy. This should reduce the number of headaches that you experience.