Pregnant? 4 Conditions That Might Be Causing Your Neck Pain

Are you pregnant? Are you also experiencing neck pain and wondering what could be causing this discomfort? If so, read on to learn about 4 pregnancy-associated problems that could be causing your neck pain.

1. Pregnancy-Induced Osteoporosis

The average adult needs roughly 1,000 mg of calcium per day. As a pregnant woman, however, you should be consuming more. During your third trimester, your growing fetus will need between 200 and 250 grams of calcium to form their bones, and after delivery if you choose to breastfeed, you'll lose approximately 300 milligrams of calcium per day producing breast milk. 

In rare instances, some women can't keep up with their body's high calcium demands during and after pregnancy. They develop pregnancy and lactation-associated osteoporosis -- a condition in which bone mass is lost and the sufferer is highly vulnerable to broken bones and bone fractures. Fractured vertebrae are common with this condition and can cause severe neck and back pain.

If a bone fracture resulting from pregnancy-induced osteoporosis is causing your neck pain and you're still breastfeeding, your doctor may recommend you stop breastfeeding and increase your calcium intake. Most of the time, fractures will heal on their own, but in the meantime, you'll be placed on bed rest and a pain management regime.

2. TMJ Syndrome

During pregnancy, postural changes and high stress levels can put strain on the joint that connects your jawbone to the base of your skull. When this joint is subjected to so much strain that it fails to function properly, the condition is known as TMJ (temporomandibular joint) syndrome. TMJ can cause pain in your jaw, face, shoulder, ear, and/or neck. 

If pregnancy-induced TMJ is causing your neck pain, the pain will probably subside on its own shortly after you deliver your baby. If you still experience neck pain after your baby is born, there are a variety of treatment options available that you'll discuss with your doctor or neck pain management specialist. 

3. HELLP Syndrome

HELLP syndrome is a condition that occurs in pregnant women in which their red blood cells break down, their liver enzyme count elevates, and their blood platelet count decreases. Doctors don't know exactly why HELLP occurs, but it can be life-threatening. During an HELLP syndrome episode, pain may radiate from the liver up through the body and present itself as upper-right quadrant pain. Upper-right quadrant pain can manifest as shoulder pain or neck pain

If HELLP syndrome is causing your neck pain, the pain may be accompanied by weakness, fatigue, nausea, changes in vision, diarrhea, and/or jaundice. 

If you have one or more of the symptoms listed above, get to your doctor immediately. HELLP syndrome usually resolves on its own 2-3 days after delivery, but you and your unborn child may need to be monitored for complications in the meantime. 

4. Tension Headaches

Many women are plagued by headaches in their first trimester of pregnancy when their bodies are adjusting to hormonal changes. The most common type of headaches, tension headaches, manifest as mild to severe pain and pressure in the head, ears, or neck. While they can seem scary, such headaches can often be alleviated with nothing more than relaxation therapy and stretching exercises. 

Sometimes headaches can be a sign of more serious underlying conditions. Even if you believe a non-serious tension headache to be the cause of your neck pain, visit a neck pain specialist to rule out other conditions.

Neck pain during pregnancy is not uncommon, but its causes range from non-serious conditions to life-threatening ailments. If you're pregnant and you're also experiencing neck pain, get to a neck pain specialist to determine what's causing the pain and how to go about treating it. For more information about treating neck pain, visit sites like

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