Have you ever experienced whiplash? For some people, it can be an extremely painful and long-lasting injury.
Usually, whiplash occurs in a car accident. But others may suffer from whiplash due to sports injuries.
Whatever the reason, if you’re experiencing pain from whiplash you need to get on the road to recovery. So which whiplash exercises can you do to help you recover?
Read on for all you need to know.
The Symptoms of Whiplash
Symptoms of whiplash are hard to ignore. Some feel pain immediately. Others feel pain within a few hours of the accident or sometimes days.
Common symptoms may include sudden neck pain and upper backaches. You may feel a decreased range of motion and tightness in your neck. Your muscles may feel hard, tender, knotted, and stiff in your back.
You may also suffer from piercing headaches at the base of your skull. And if the whiplash is severe, you may feel the effects of a concussion.
The Doctors Plan of Action
The aim of whiplash treatment is to control pain, restore a normal range of motion in your body, and get you back to normal.
Most patients recover within 3 months. Some take longer to recover and others have lifelong issues. It all depends on the severity of the accident and what you do next.
Aside from exercises, your doctor may recommend the following treatments:
- Sleep and rest for the first 24 hours. But too much bed rest after this 24 hour period may hinder your recovery.
- A neck brace or collar.
- Pain relievers and over-the-counter medication.
- Apply heat or cold to your neck or upper back. Hold the ice/heat pack for up to 15 minutes at a time.
- Muscle relaxants or prescription medication from your doctor.
- Injections into painful muscles to decrease the pain, again from your doctor.
- A supportive pillow.
- Maintaining good posture ALL the time.
These methods will lessen the pain temporarily. But to help your stiff body get back to normal, exercise plays a key role.
When you get whiplash, your doctor will, no doubt, include simple exercises into your treatment plan. Try stretching your back and neck yourself with these 5 simple exercises.
1. Chin Tucks
This exercise can help to stretch the muscles on your neck and upper back. The slow gentle movements may gradually help your muscles achieve their full range of motion.
Sit or stand up straight. To make sure your posture is correct, try to press your shoulder blades together. Do this for the entire exercise.
Slowly move your chin towards your chest while looking straight ahead. Hold for 3-5 seconds. Then gradually return back to your normal position and loosen up.
Repeat up to 10 times throughout the day.
2. Upper Back Twist
If you’re suffering from upper back pain, this exercise may sooth you.
While sitting or standing upright, turn your torso towards the right. Stop turning when you feel your muscles pull. Repeat on the other side.
Try this exercise 12 times a day.
3. Neck Extension
If you have a neck sprain or it’s stiff, try stretching it out.
With your back straight, move your chin outward. If your throat feels stretched, you’re in the right position. Next, strain your neck muscles for around 5 seconds, then loosen up.
Do it again, but this time push your head backward with your chin up. Hold for 5 seconds and release. Repeat both exercises up to 5 times per day.
4. Neck Rotation
When the muscles of the head and neck become tight, it can be painful to look over your shoulders. This exercise will loosen up your neck.
Sit or stand straight and keep good posture throughout. Turn your head to the right gradually. When you feel your neck is stretching, hold for 3-5 seconds, then release and return your neck back to its normal position.
Then repeat on the other side. Try to do this 5 times on each side throughout the day.
This exercise strengthens the muscles of the neck and upper back in a gentle way. It takes a bit longer than the exercises above. Maintain an upright posture and try these exercises.
Put one hand on the back of your head and push your head forward. Don’t let your neck turn or bend. Hold this pressured position for 3-5 seconds, then loosen up.
Now do the opposite. Put your hand on the back of your head again. But this time chin tuck and push your head against your hand. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then loosen up.
The next step is stretching the side of your neck by putting one palm against the side of your head, directly above your ear. Push your head sideways toward your shoulder for 3-5 seconds, then release. Repeat on the other side.
Last, but not least. Press your palm against your temple. Turn your head and push against your palm. After 3-5 seconds, repeat on the other side.
Try to do each of these exercises 10 times per day.
Words of Warning
When most people exercise at the gym, they try to burn through the pain. But when you’re suffering from whiplash injuries, your exercise should be mild and gentle.
Follow these tips when exercising your back or neck yourself:
- Avoid these exercises if they increase the amount of pain you’re in when doing them.
- If you feel numbness, tingling or weakness, stop doing the exercise.
- Don’t do all the exercises in one go, pace yourself.
- Inform your doctor or physiotherapist about any changes regarding the pain you’re in. This will help them to recommend the right exercises.
These exercises can make a huge difference if you do them properly. But always do what the doctor orders. So keep your doc informed and you’ll know you’re doing what’s best for your body.
Recovery Is Possible
Yes, if you try these whiplash exercises, recovery is just around the corner. But if you can’t shift the pain, don’t delay and call a doctor. They can help you get on the road to recovery if your whiplash is severe. Take a look at the “Health” section of our blog for more handy hacks on how to keep on top of your game.