Most people will battle neck pain at one point or another, and moms are no exception. From the moment your little one enters the world, you’re bent over them, looking down in awe and wonder. As you breastfeed, carry and rock your baby, you keep looking down and, eventually, this repetitive motion can put some strain on your neck.
The pain that follows all those hours of gazing at your babe may not bother you at first. However, your sore muscles will affect mom life over time — in more ways than you could possibly imagine.
Feeling inexplicably angry or upset is one of the first signs that your body is in pain. Whether you blow up at your son for spilling orange juice or lose your cool over yet another blowout, a short temper is a sure sign that something is wrong. After all, you’d probably have more patience if your neck wasn’t in such pain.
If you don’t notice your short temper, first, your kids or partner might. When they confront you about it, try to take their constructive criticism in stride. They’re only voicing their concern and want you to feel better, too. Try to be open and honest about the source of your frustration and discuss your neck pain if you determine it to be the cause.
Bouts of Depression
Since pain can affect your emotions, it also shares a link with depression. In fact, one often leads to another, creating a vicious cycle that can quickly send any mom into a downward spiral. So, if you’ve noticed yourself avoiding social gatherings and canceling outings with your partner or family, you may be dealing with bouts of depression due to your neck pain.
Of course, depression can seriously affect mom life as it often causes you to distance yourself from everyone, including your kids. Therefore, it’s important to visit your doctor and seek an accurate diagnosis so you can get back to being the fun, bubbly mom you were meant to be.
Many times, severe and even subtle neck pain can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. When By now, you might even dread turning in at the end of the night because you know that lying down will only draw your focus to the pain.
If you continue to miss out on your beauty rest, you risk destroying your sleep schedule and turning into an angry monster mom. Your restlessness can also limit REM and deep sleep, which are the most restorative sleep stages. Subsequently, your body won’t have time to recover and repair cells, tissues and muscles, which can make you even grumpier over time.
Loss of Appetite
As a mom, you probably have little time to eat or make food for yourself. Instead, you scavenge off your kids’ plates, gobbling up whatever scraps they left behind. While this isn’t necessarily the healthiest meal plan, neither is refraining from eating anything. Yet, many moms who deal with neck pain fail to eat enough throughout the day.
Since neck pain can inflame your lymph nodes, you may experience difficulty swallowing. Eventually, the hassle and pain of trying to swallow food can cause you to subconsciously avoid doing so entirely. Of course, failing to consume enough nutrients can worsen symptoms and slow recovery, which can make completing your to-do list quite a challenge.
Are you struggling to physically pick up your infant? You know you have the arm strength to pluck up your little one, but your neck pain keeps getting in the way. If the pain has radiated down your spine, you might not even be able to bend over or crouch down to get on their level.
At this point, your range of motion is extremely limited and you feel rather weak. Of course, failing to eat and sleep enough doesn’t help, either. However, it may be best to give your spine a break for a bit and temporarily accept your immobility to give your neck time to heal.
Lack of Focus
If mom life includes caring for your kids while also working from home, your neck is probably killing you. After looking down at your laptop all day and bending over to tend to your little ones, your cervical spine and the muscles in your shoulders and upper back will likely be sore — or even strained. So, if you’re struggling to focus on work, your kids probably aren’t the only thing distracting you.
Try ruling out other potential distractions and check in with your spine. If you notice pain in your shoulders and neck when you draw your chin to your chest, focus on improving your posture. Stretch your neck every hour or so and remember to keep your computer screen at eye level to prevent strain.
Soothing Neck Pain
Neck pain can completely ruin mom life if you let it. The longer you wait to seek treatment, the longer the pain will distract you from your family. Therefore, it’s important to prioritize your health and seek treatment for your neck pain.
Try natural healing remedies like applying ice or heat and try chin tucks, chest stretches and levator scapulae stretches to relieve aches and pains. You might also practice exercises that target your back, core and neck muscles like lateral pulldowns and seated rows. When all else fails, see your doctor. They can recommend surgery or prescribe medication when natural remedies aren’t enough to soothe your pain.