While it may be painful at first, one of the most often prescribed therapies for whiplash is exercise.
Exercise promotes good blood flow which accelerates the healing process.
For minor to moderate cases of whiplash, a chiropractor or physiotherapist may be included in your treatment plan to help with an exercise regimen. These exercises should only be done at a physician’s discretion and never to the point where they cause more pain.
The image of a patient in the neck brace following a whiplash injury is a hard one to replace. Most people still believe that keeping the area stationary promotes faster healing. Modern medicine has realized that in order to regain mobility, the neck often needs to be exercised lightly after the injury.
After a complete evaluation of your pain, a physiotherapist can work with you to develop some easy exercises to help alleviate it and get you back a full range of motion. More severe cases of whiplash might also include the upper and lower back as well as the shoulders and arms.
These exercises are all designed to encourage normal neck movement and make sure that the neck is getting the right amount of muscular support. Extended non-movement in the area could cause the muscle to weaken making it useless for support of the head.
Types of Exercises
These are some of the more common neck exercises you could be prescribed while recovering from whiplash. This is for informational purposes only, and should not be used without the approval and supervision of a trained medical professional.
Neck Rotation: Neck rotation is as simple as turning your head from side to side as far as you can without causing pain. The key is in keeping the rest of your body rigid and holding the neck in position for a period of approximately 5 seconds.
Shoulder Stretch: Your entire back may be affected by the pain caused by whiplash. Shoulder stretches by clasping your hands behind your back and raising them slowly will help to relieve that pain and restore mobility.
Clavicle Stretch: This exercise focuses on the muscles over your clavicle, or collar, bone. With your hand on your shoulder tilt your head back and then away from your hand. You will feel some stretching, but hold that for at least 5 seconds.
Upper Back Stretch: With your hands on your lower back and elbows pointed out, roll your shoulders up and down to stretch the layer of muscle over the spinal cord.
All of these exercises are designed to prevent further tension in the muscles. Non-movement of stretched ligament, muscle and tendon can cause them to tighten further and worsen your whiplash symptoms.
What to Do if You Suspect You Have Whiplash
Before embarking on any of these exercises if you are experiencing neck pain, it is important that you first seek medical care. There are various stages of whiplash, and not all will benefit from these types of whiplash exercises. If there is reason to believe that the negligent actions of another, such as a rear end car collision, was the underlying cause of the condition, an attorney can help you recover the cost of the medical care as well as missed time off from work.