Solve Postpartum Upper Back & Neck Pain

Solve Postpartum Upper Back & Neck Pain
 The postpartum journey is a wonderful next chapter for mamas, but it comes along with some different areas of "stress". Postpartum upper back & neck pain comes with caring for a little one. All that time spent holding babe, and sleeping like a contortionist takes a toll on the body!

Postpartum Neck Pain

Neck pain is one of the most common conditions we see postpartum. Mama’s will wake up with a kink in their neck, or they won’t be able to move their neck without having pain. When women hold their babes, feeding or otherwise, they frequently look down! Of course— they want to admire their bundle of joy! But this repetitive position comes with consequences — neck pain and stiffness. 

The nerves that exit the neck travel into the armpit, past the elbow, all the way down to the hand. Often when we hold little ones, we look down or have a tilted neck position. With the constant holding and carrying of babes, neck muscles become tight. This can cause spinal misalignments leading to nerve pain or just general soreness + tension in these areas! Because there is often nerve involvement, it’s not uncommon for postpartum neck pain to progress to mommy shoulder pain. 

Some postpartum mamas will also have frequent headaches triggered by muscle tension in the neck. Thankfully you can find postpartum neck pain relief with simple changes & solutions, like the ones we’re sharing next!


Upper back adjustment

Interested in photos like the ones featured in this post?  We work with Megan Norman, a Minnesota-based family and newborn photographer with incredible talent. 

Postpartum Upper Back Pain

When our postpartum mamas start complaining of upper back pain, they typically describe it as an achy spot between the shoulder blades or tension throughout their upper back and lower neck. During the postpartum period, especially the first few weeks postpartum, mamas aren’t moving much! They are resting and recovering as they should! However, with all that lounge time can come slouched posture and poor nursing biomechanics.

We also can’t ignore that postpartum mamas are carrying more breast tissue! The additional weight further contributes to a hunched posture— with the shoulder rolled forward. This position places additional stress on the already overworked upper back. 

6 Solutions for Your Postpartum Upper Back & Neck Pain 

1. Change Up Your Nursing Positions

Breastfeeding or bottle feeding an infant takes a toll on postpartum upper backs and necks. You are often fixed in "twisted" positions for long periods of time trying to feed and not paying attention to proper body mechanics. Follow the video below to find new nursing positions that are friendly to your upper back and neck pain postpartum! You will find we recommend using lots of pillows - like boppys, and pillows for neck support!

2. Swap Your Pillows

Your sleeping position is likely playing a large role in your postpartum neck and upper back pain! Try swapping out your current sleeping pillow for something more supportive. We love pillows that provide cervical support with simple contours for side and back sleepers. A foam or latex pillow that retains its shape is also a good option for postpartum neck pain! Plus, you're going to be surprised with how useful extra pillows can be during postpartum. Extra pillows make nursing and sleeping comfortably a breeze!

UTTU Sandwich Cervical Pillow 

OrganicTextiles Talalay Latex Pillow 


3. Stretch It Out

Stretching sore, tight muscles will help improve pain and increase your neck mobility to normal! Normal mobility of the upper back is key for normal shoulder function, especially when we are talking about that area between the shoulder blades. You can follow along with the video below, or check out our entire YouTube video list on upper back & neck stretches.

4. Magnesium Lotion & Epsom Salt

Magnesium is a fav around here. That’s because it’s effective for reducing all types of muscles aches and pains during pregnancy & postpartum! Of course there are oral magnesium supplements, but we love topical applications that can target that exact spot you’re feeling. There are many different types of magnesium lotions and oils out there, our favorite is Earthley’s Good Night Lotion. You can also find it on amazon.

If you have epsom salt, you can take a warm bath but it can be hard to get your upper back or neck fully submerged for the benefits. Try making a warm epsom salt compress! All you need to do is dissolve 1/2 cup of epsom salt in 1 to 2 cups of water then soak a wash cloth or towel in the mixture! Place the towel around your neck, across your back, or anywhere else you’re feeling achy!

5. Ice & Cold Therapy

As much as we love heat, ice and other cold therapies can reduce pain and inflammation when you wake up with a lot of neck pain postpartum. The best part is that you don't have to buy anything, just borrow one from your kiddos lunch bag!  

6. Kinesiology Tape for Nursing Neck & Upper Back Pain

Kinesiotape is an excellent way to help combat muscle tension, pain, and inflammation. Applying kinesiology, or KT, tape lifts up on the outermost layer of the skin. In a way, it decompresses the layers below it! This decompression improves blood and lymphatic flow which reduces inflammation and promotes faster healing. The free nerve endings that contribute to postpartum pain symptoms are also decompressed in the process. Watch the full video on how to apply KT tape.


7. Chiropractic Adjustments for Postpartum Back & Neck Pain

Upper back chiropractic adjustment

Chiropractic adjustments can be REALLY helpful postpartum. Adjustments improve joint mobility, reduce muscle tension & address compensation patterns that emerge postpartum! At Chiro for Moms, we don’t skimp out on the soft tissue and massage work. This has mamas leaving our clinic with more neck mobility and less upper back pain, so they can continue loving and caring for their babe. 


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Interested in photos like the ones featured in this post? We work with Megan Norman, a Minnesota-based family and newborn photographer with incredible talent.

Medical Disclaimer:

All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.*

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out with questions//thoughts surrounding this topic!