Exhausted mom clutching her forehead and holding a crying baby in front of a computer

Do You Have Mom Shoulders?

Stressed, overwhelmed, tense — being a mother is a full-time job. And while it’s a very rewarding job, it can also wreak havoc on your body. One condition we see in stressed out moms has been lovingly termed by chiro intern Michaela Peterson as “mom shoulders.” Read Michaela’s blog post explaining the symptoms and treatments for mom shoulders. 


Motherhood — high rewards accompanied by high stress.

Stress manifests in our bodies in many ways, but one of the most common presentations I see is mom shoulders. The best way to explain mom shoulders is to tell you about a recent patient of mine.

Her shoulders were rock-hard.

One patient of mine was pregnant with twins and had two young children, ages 2 and 5, at home. Her husband was in the military serving a deployment at the time. Her mom shoulders came from the stress and lack of sleep she was experiencing.

It felt like she had a brick on either side of her neck.

When I examined her, I could feel the stress and added responsibility she was carrying in her shoulders.

Patients with mom shoulders often wear their shoulders like earrings.

Mom shoulders creep higher and higher toward the ears. This comes from super tight and tense shoulder and neck muscles. Mom shoulders can also make it difficult to turn your head while driving.

This condition can also lead to headaches.

This kind of headache manifests in “a coat-hanger like pathway” — up the neck and around the ear. It happens because the trapezius muscle gets so tight.

Moms need body work like chiropractic, massage, and acupuncture.

You can find all three services in our office, but I recommend you get diagnosed so we can schedule the right treatment.

How I diagnose and treat mom shoulders as a chiropractor.

I use palpation to find issues in the trapezius muscle and to identify trigger points and taut fibers within the muscle belly. From there, I’ll develop an individualized treatment plan that could include —

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Myofascial release
  • Muscle stimulation
  • Stress management
  • CBD creams to relax tight muscles
  • CBD capsules to promote relaxation
  • Magnesium citrate supplements to relax muscles

The goal is to activate the parasympathetic nervous system to send signals to the body that it can relax — think “rest and digest.”


Every patient is different, but I tend to see significant results after 2-3 visits.

For moms, stress management is key!

I recommend trying stress management techniques. Since stress is the driver of mom shoulders, reducing your stress will reduce your pain over time. Some of our favorite stress reduction techniques are —

  • Meditation
  • Breathing exercises
  • Regular exercise routine
  • Support group
  • Date nights
  • Regularly scheduled body work

Need some help making time for self-care?

Dr. Goldi has seen the negative effects of overwhelm and stress in herself, and her patients. She designed a free e-course to help women commit to self-care without feeling guilty or selfish. You can learn more about her How to Make Time Every Day for Small Acts of Self-Care e-course here.


Are you experiencing pain and tension in your shoulders, upper back, or neck? Having recurring headaches? Make an appointment online.