I have fortunately never suffered from a whiplash injury, but I know people who have. This collaborative post has some tips that may be helpful if you ever are diagnosed with whiplash.
Whiplash is a type of neck strain usually caused by an impact or a blow that causes the neck to jerk forward or back. In serious cases, it can be a debilitating injury, stopping you from doing any activities that require neck movement. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with it or think you may have whiplash, here are some steps you should take to make your recovery.
See a doctor
Your first course of action should be to seek medical treatment and get a professional diagnosis. More serious neck injuries may require surgery or some form of medication to ease the pain. You may also be given a neck brace to where for the first few weeks.
You may be able to find cover for these medical costs if it wasn’t your fault. Can you make a claim as an injured car passenger? Alternatively it could be a work injury. Don’t pay out of your own pocket if it could have been prevented by someone else.
Take a break from driving
A doctor will often advise that you refrain from driving whilst recovering as this requires full neck movement to check mirrors and look behind. If you need to still travel to work, find alternative methods of transport or get a lift. Activities such as cycling, swimming and many sports that require sharp movement are also not advised. That said you shouldn’t abstain entirely from moving your neck, only sharp movements – keeping your neck mobile will aid recovery of motion.
For the first two to three days putting ice on your neck can be a great way of relieving pain and swelling. This could be an icepack or a frozen bag of vegetables. Do it for 15 minutes every three to four hours for maximum impact.
After two to three days of icing your neck, switch to a warm towel to ease the inflammation. Taking a hot bath can also be good for helping muscles to relax and heal. There may also be holistic heat treatments that you can look into.
Get a massage
A doctor may recommend that you see a physiotherapist. They may be able to provide a massage to ease the pain in your neck. A general massage may also be to help, as well as other holistic treatments such as acupressure and acupuncture. You may also be able to massage yourself – buy a roller, lie on your back and then put the roller under your neck and gently roll back and forth. Some find that a tennis ball can be just as effective.
Change your pillow
You may want to change your pillow to help make sleep more comfortable. You can buy supportive pillows specifically for whiplash. Avoid using more than one pillow as this will put a strain on your neck. You can also use cushions when sitting down to support your neck – travel pillows can be useful for keeping your neck straight and your posture upright.