Upper Back Pain Early Pregnancy: Solutions & Tips

Upper back pain early pregnancy is a common concern for many expectant mothers, as it can cause discomfort and impact daily activities. In this blog post, we will delve into the identification of upper back pain during early pregnancy and discuss its potential causes.

We understand that active parents-to-be want to stay on top of their health throughout pregnancy. Therefore, we will also provide you with valuable tips on preventing upper back pain in these crucial months. Moreover, we’ll explore effective treatment options for those who are already experiencing this type of pregnancy-related back pain.

By understanding the underlying factors contributing to upper back pain early pregnancy and learning how to manage it effectively, you can ensure a more comfortable journey towards parenthood.

Table of Contents:

Identifying Upper Back Pain During Early Pregnancy

Experiencing upper back pain during early pregnancy can be a common issue for many expecting mothers. It is vital to be aware of the indications and manifestations of this distress, as it can assist you in taking suitable steps to avoid or alleviate the pain. In this section, we will discuss how to identify upper back pain in early pregnancy and understand its potential causes.

Signs and Symptoms of Upper Back Pain

The first step in addressing upper back pain during early pregnancy is recognizing its presence. Some common signs and symptoms include:

  • Aching or sharp pains between your shoulder blades
  • Pain that worsens with movement or prolonged sitting/standing
  • Tightness or stiffness in the muscles surrounding your spine
  • Inability to find a comfortable sleeping position due to pain

Acknowledge any signs of stiffness or tightness in the muscles surrounding your spine and seek advice from a healthcare professional, such as a chiropractor at Grand Health Chiropractic with expertise in treating pregnancy-related musculoskeletal issues, to differentiate between normal discomfort and upper back pain.

Differentiating Between Normal Discomfort and Upper Back Pain

Mild discomfort during early pregnancy is normal; however, distinguishing between typical uneasiness and actual upper back pain is crucial for proper care. Here are some factors that may help differentiate between the two:

  1. Severity: Mild discomfort usually doesn’t interfere with daily activities, while severe upper back pain might make routine tasks difficult.
  2. Frequency: Mild discomfort may come and go, but persistent upper back pain will be more constant and may worsen over time.
  3. Location: General discomfort might be felt throughout the body, while upper back pain is localized between your shoulder blades or along your spine.

If you’re unsure whether you’re experiencing normal pregnancy-related discomfort or actual upper back pain, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and guidance.

Monitoring Your Pain Levels

To better understand your symptoms and track any changes in severity or frequency of your upper back pain during early pregnancy, consider keeping a daily journal. Note down when the pain occurs, its intensity on a scale from 1-10 (with ten being the most severe), activities that seem to trigger it or make it worse, as well as anything that provides relief. By tracking your upper back pain, including when it occurs, its intensity on a scale from 1-10, and activities that trigger or worsen the discomfort, you and your healthcare provider can create an individualized treatment plan.

In conclusion, pregnancy-related back pain, including upper back pain, is a common issue that many pregnant women experience. However, there are ways to relieve upper back pain, such as prenatal yoga, prenatal massages, and chiropractic services. By keeping track of your symptoms and seeking professional help, you can ease back pain and prevent any potential complications like preterm labor or sciatic nerve issues as your uterus expands and your body changes. Remember to maintain correct posture, keep your shoulders pulled back, and distribute your pregnancy weight evenly to avoid putting unnecessary strain on your back muscles and pelvic joints.

Pregnant women should be aware of indications and manifestations related to upper back pain in order to ensure they get appropriate medical attention promptly. Knowing what causes this type of discomfort can help them make informed decisions about their treatment options. Next, we will explore some potential causes of upper back pain during early pregnancy.

Key Takeaway: 

Experiencing upper back pain during early pregnancy is common, but it’s important to differentiate between normal discomfort and actual pain. Symptoms include aching or sharp pains between the shoulder blades, tightness in muscles surrounding the spine, and difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position. Keeping track of symptoms can help develop an effective treatment plan with healthcare professionals like chiropractors who specialize in treating musculoskeletal issues related to pregnancy.

Causes of Upper Back Pain During Early Pregnancy

Understanding the causes behind this discomfort is essential to effectively prevent and manage it. In this section, we will explore the potential causes of upper back pain during early pregnancy.

Hormonal Changes

The body undergoes significant hormonal changes during pregnancy, particularly an increase in relaxin levels. This hormone helps to loosen ligaments and joints in preparation for childbirth but can also lead to instability and strain on your muscles, including those in your upper back. Research suggests that these hormonal shifts are one of the primary contributors to musculoskeletal pain during pregnancy.

Increase in Breast Size

Pregnancy often leads to an increase in breast size due to hormonal fluctuations and milk production. The added weight from larger breasts can place extra stress on your neck, shoulders, and upper back muscles as they work harder to support the additional load. This increased strain may result in muscle tension or spasms that contribute to upper back pain.

Poor Posture

Maintaining proper posture becomes more challenging as your body changes throughout pregnancy. As your belly grows larger, you might unconsciously shift into positions that compensate for this new weight distribution - such as rounding or hunching over at the shoulders - which puts undue pressure on your spine and surrounding muscles leading to discomfort. Research has indicated that an association exists between having bad posture while pregnant and suffering from musculoskeletal pain.

Tips For Maintaining Good Posture During Pregnancy:

  • Keep your head aligned with your shoulders and hips.
  • Avoid crossing your legs while sitting, as this can cause strain on the lower back.
  • Use a lumbar roll or cushion to support the natural curve of your lower back when seated.

Muscle Imbalances

Pregnancy-related changes in weight distribution can lead to muscle imbalances. For example, if you’re carrying more weight in front due to an expanding belly, muscles at the front of your body may become overworked while those at the back weaken from underuse. This imbalance puts additional stress on upper back muscles and increases their susceptibility to pain and injury. Engaging in regular exercise during pregnancy - such as prenatal yoga or swimming - can help maintain balanced muscle strength and reduce discomfort. Research supports the benefits of physical activity for managing musculoskeletal pain during pregnancy.

In summary, hormonal changes, increased breast size, poor posture, and muscle imbalances are some common causes behind upper back pain experienced by pregnant women. By understanding these factors and implementing appropriate preventive measures like maintaining good posture or engaging in gentle exercises tailored for expecting mothers (always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise routine), you’ll be better equipped to manage this discomfort throughout early pregnancy stages.

It is essential to comprehend the origins of upper back discomfort during initial pregnancy in order to avert it from occurring. Preventing upper back pain during early pregnancy requires a holistic approach, including physical activity and lifestyle changes.

Key Takeaway: 

Pregnancy-related hormonal changes, increased breast size, poor posture and muscle imbalances are common causes of upper back pain during early pregnancy. Engaging in regular exercise such as prenatal yoga or swimming can help maintain balanced muscle strength and reduce discomfort. Maintaining good posture is also important to prevent strain on the spine and surrounding muscles.

Preventing Upper Back Pain During Early Pregnancy

As a proactive expectant parent, you can take measures to make your pregnancy experience as comfortable and pain-free as possible by recognizing the causes of upper back pain during early pregnancy and taking steps to prevent or alleviate it. By understanding the factors contributing to upper back pain during early pregnancy, you can take steps to prevent or reduce its occurrence. Here are some tips for avoiding upper back pain:

Maintain Proper Posture

Good posture is essential in preventing strain on your muscles and ligaments, which can lead to upper back pain. When standing, keep your shoulders relaxed and pulled slightly back while engaging your core muscles. While sitting, choose a chair with proper lumbar support or use a small pillow behind the lower part of your spine.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise during pregnancy not only helps maintain overall health but also strengthens the muscles supporting your growing baby bump. Incorporate low-impact activities like walking, swimming, prenatal yoga, or Pilates into your routine at least three times per week.

Prenatal Massage Therapy

A prenatal massage therapist specializes in addressing the unique needs of pregnant women by providing gentle pressure on specific areas prone to discomfort such as the neck and shoulders.

Tips for Sleeping Comfortably

  • Invest in a supportive pillow: A good-quality maternity pillow can help alleviate stress on both the neck and shoulders by keeping them aligned while sleeping.
  • Choose the right sleep position: Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees can help reduce pressure on the spine and prevent upper back pain.
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach: This position can strain both the neck and shoulders, leading to discomfort in the upper back area.

Wear Supportive Clothing

Pregnancy-friendly clothing such as maternity bras or belly bands provide additional support for your growing bump. These garments help distribute weight evenly across your body, reducing stress on muscles and ligaments that could contribute to upper back pain.

Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy

Chiropractic therapy during gestation is a secure and efficacious way to address physical difficulties associated with pregnancy. A chiropractor specializing in prenatal care will assess spinal alignment, posture, muscle balance, and other factors contributing to discomfort while providing gentle adjustments tailored specifically for pregnant women.

Incorporating these preventive measures into your daily routine can make a significant difference in keeping you comfortable throughout early pregnancy. By taking proactive steps towards maintaining good health habits now, you’re setting yourself up for a more enjoyable journey as an active parent-to-be.

Taking preventative measures to avoid upper back pain during early pregnancy can help keep expectant mothers comfortable and healthy. To ensure this, it is important to understand the treatments available for managing existing upper back pain in pregnant women.

Key Takeaway: 

To prevent upper back pain during early pregnancy, maintaining proper posture and exercising regularly are essential. Prenatal massage therapy, sleeping comfortably with supportive pillows and clothing, as well as chiropractic care can also help alleviate discomfort. By incorporating these preventive measures into daily routines, expectant parents can enjoy a more comfortable journey through early pregnancy.

4. Treating Upper Back Pain During Early Pregnancy

If you’re experiencing upper back pain during early pregnancy, don’t worry. There are several ways to manage and treat this discomfort. In this section, we’ll explore some effective methods for relief that can help you stay active and comfortable throughout your pregnancy.

a) Chiropractic Care

A chiropractor’s assessment of your spine and the gentle adjustments they make can help relieve pressure on nerves or muscles causing pain, making it a safe and natural way to address upper back pain during early pregnancy. A chiropractor will assess your spine’s alignment and make gentle adjustments to alleviate pressure on nerves or muscles causing the pain. Regular chiropractic visits can help maintain proper spinal alignment, reducing the risk of developing further issues as your baby grows.

b) Stretching Exercises

Gentle stretching exercises can be an excellent way to relieve tension in your upper back muscles during early pregnancy. Try incorporating these stretches into your daily routine:

  • Cat-Cow stretch: This yoga pose helps release tension in the spine by alternating between arching and rounding the back.
  • Pectoral stretch: Stand in a doorway with one arm extended at shoulder height against the doorframe; gently lean forward until you feel a stretch across your chest.
  • Seated twist: Sit tall on a chair or exercise ball with both feet flat on the floor; rotate from side-to-side while keeping hips stationary for gentle spinal rotation.

c) Prenatal Massage

A prenatal massage can be a soothing way to alleviate upper back pain during early pregnancy. A certified prenatal massage therapist will use specialized techniques to address the unique needs of pregnant women, focusing on areas that are prone to discomfort and tension.

d) Posture Correction

Maintaining proper posture is essential for preventing and treating upper back pain during early pregnancy. As your baby grows, it’s natural for your center of gravity to shift forward, causing you to arch your lower back and round your shoulders. To maintain good posture:

  • Stand tall with feet hip-width apart; engage core muscles by drawing belly button toward spine.
  • Pull shoulder blades down and together; avoid rounding shoulders or hunching over.
  • When sitting, choose a chair with lumbar support or place a small pillow behind the lower back for added comfort.

e) Heat Therapy

Heat therapy, such as using a warm compress or heating pad on low settings, can help relax tight muscles in the upper back area. Be sure not to apply heat directly onto the skin - instead, wrap it in a towel before placing it on your body. Limit heat application sessions to no more than 20 minutes at a time.

Remember to always consult with healthcare professionals before starting any new treatment methods during pregnancy.

Key Takeaway: 

Upper back pain during early pregnancy can be managed and treated with chiropractic care, stretching exercises, prenatal massage, posture correction, and heat therapy. It’s important to maintain proper spinal alignment and good posture while using techniques like warm compresses or heating pads for muscle relaxation. Always consult healthcare professionals before starting any new treatment methods during pregnancy.

FAQs in Relation to Upper Back Pain Early Pregnancy

Does Your Upper Back Hurt in Early Pregnancy?

Yes, upper back pain can occur during early pregnancy due to hormonal changes, postural adjustments, and increased weight. It is essential to maintain proper posture and engage in exercises that strengthen the muscles supporting the spine.

Why Does My Back Hurt in My Upper Back While Pregnant?

Upper back pain during pregnancy is often caused by a combination of factors such as hormonal changes, increased weight putting pressure on the spine, poor posture from an expanding belly, and weakened core muscles. Regular exercise and maintaining good posture can help alleviate this discomfort.

Why Does My Upper Back Hurt Between My Shoulder Blades in the First Trimester?

Pain between shoulder blades during the first trimester may be due to hormonal fluctuations causing ligaments around your spine to loosen. Additionally, poor posture resulting from changing body shape or muscle imbalances might contribute to this discomfort. Strengthening exercises targeting these areas can provide relief.

Can Early Pregnancy Cause Pain Between Shoulder Blades?

Yes, early pregnancy can cause pain between shoulder blades due to loosening of spinal ligaments because of hormone shifts or altered biomechanics from an expanding abdomen. Maintaining proper alignment through stretching and strengthening exercises focused on the shoulders and thoracic region will help minimize this issue.


In conclusion, upper back pain during early pregnancy is a common experience for many women due to the changes their bodies go through. Causes of this pain include incorrect posture, expanding uterus, and pelvic joint issues. However, there are ways to prevent and treat this discomfort such as prenatal yoga or massages, chiropractic services, and maintaining good posture.

If you’re experiencing upper back pain early in your pregnancy journey, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from Grand Health Chiropractic. Their team of experts can provide relief from severe back pain caused by sciatic nerve problems or spinal column misalignment. Take care of yourself and your baby by addressing any discomforts that arise throughout your pregnancy.

Call Grand Health Chiropractic today at to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists!