August 15, 2019
When you collide with a car, your seatbelt keeps your body in place except for your neck and head. The immense force of the collision abruptly thrusts your head and neck forward before it hits back your headrest. In the process, your neck and shoulder muscles and ligaments become strained. A week or two after your accident, you would have to rest your strained muscles and ligaments by avoiding too much movement. However, once your neck begins to heal, you can gradually resume your exercises.
You will feel tenderness, discomfort, and pain around the area where your jaw meets your neck when you try to turn your head from side to side or bend your head upward or downward. The pain and tenderness usually last a few days before subsiding.
Your neck will also feel stiff. Since you can’t move your head that much, your neck would feel tired easily. Some people who experience whiplash may need a neck brace for a week to keep their head steady. They may feel some numbness in their necks after the removal of the brace.
How to recover from whiplash
You need to lay down and rest for two days after your accident. Applying ice and heat would help ease the pain, as well as over-the-counter painkillers. You can also approach a chiropractor in New York who can recommend effective recovery treatments that don’t involve medications. A chiropractor can apply spinal adjustment on your neck to help relieve pain and restore your neck’s movement.
Exercises after a whiplash
As your neck begins to heal, you can do some exercises to restore mobility and ease the numbness of your neck. By that time, once the pain and discomfort have lessened, you can begin transitioning to exercises that would involve more movement.
Nevertheless, you have to be careful not to strain your neck too much or to choose exercise activities that may expose you to neck injury. For example, you have to avoid contact sports such as volleyball where slips and falls could happen.
High-impact exercises that would require you to stretch your neck and shoulders would be counterproductive. As an alternative, you can do walking or yoga, which has minimal movements yet enables you to exercise your muscles. There are also specific exercises you can do to improve the range of motion of your neck after a whiplash, such as:
- Chin tuck. Using your index and middle finger, press your chin downward, and you will feel the back of your neck stretching. Release and repeat.
- Neck flexion and extension. Raise your chin slowly while moving your head backward. Then, bend your head forward. Repeat this for eight times.
- Lateral flexion. Bend your head leftward and then rightward slowly. Do for eight counts.
- Squats. Keep your head, neck, and trunk steady as you squat. Lower your buttocks using your legs and raise them.
When doing all these exercises, be aware of what your body feels. Don’t push yourself too far to avoid injury.
How a chiropractor can help you in your whiplash
Your upper spine would also be affected during and after a whiplash. Pain from this area may persist even after your neck ligaments and muscles have healed. Thus, you need a chiropractor to manually adjust your misaligned upper spine to relieve the nerves that have been pinched during the car accident. For best results, you will have to go to the chiropractor for follow-up sessions. These healthcare professionals can also assist you in your pain-relieving exercises. Launchfit provides chiropractic services in NYC – get in touch today to see how we can help.