Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Nursing can be a Pain in the Neck
Nursing can be a Pain in the neck!!
We see a lot of new mothers in our clinic and one of the biggest complaints other than lack of sleep is neck and upper back pain. We often use the term Nursing neck, Nurser’s neck, Nursing back, mother’s neck to name a few. The perpetual task of feeding your baby can cause a repetative sprain strain injury to the neck, upper back and mid back. This injury can cause a burning sensation type pain, numbness and tingling, headaches, and even arm pain. Pain often occurs in the neck, mid back and shoulder blade region and shoulder due to nursing primarily due to the posture mothers sit in for 20-30 minutes, every few hours every day. Mothers are often gazing down looking at their beautiful child when nursing causing an excessive sprain strain. Mothers are perpetually in a flexed forward position in their neck whether nursing or looking down at small children.
When women are pregnant they often lose the neck curve from the forward weight distribution of the baby in their belly, this anterior forward head carriage continues through the post partum period with the nursing or the bottle feeding position. Avoid this neck strain and sprain by leaning or reclining back to nurse/feed baby.
I will often recommend mothers to use a heat bag across the neck and shoulders while nursing to relax the over stressed muscles and to increase relaxation- thus letting the milk flow easier. Using a foot stool to support your feet in the reclined position often helps as well. Many mothers come too far forward to the baby instead of bringing the baby back to the breast to latch, especially first time nursing mothers. Many mothers use a nursing pillow or a combination of pillows to help support baby and give arm support.
A gentle upper back and neck adjustment realigns the spine as well as take the stress off of the ligaments, muscles and nerves so that proper motion is restored to the cervical and thoracic spine. Many mothers comment on the pain relief they get from a chiropractic adjustment in the neck and upper back area. The adjustment often can help with some nursing difficulties such as low milk supply, better lymphatic flow, plugged ducts and mastitis.
Dr. Joelle Johnson has practiced in Red Deer at Family First Chiropractic at 142 Erickson drive. Dr. Johnson has been a member of the ICPA since 2001