Did you know that 3 million Americans are injured by a Cervical Acceleration Deceleration (CAD) every year?
CAD is when a car is hit from behind and it forces your body to suddenly move forward at a fast speed but is then abruptly stopped. CAD can cause many problems such as whiplash.
Keep reading to learn more about how you can help minimize the pain of whiplash by performing whiplash treatment exercises.
What Is Whiplash?
Neck strains or whiplash can happen to anyone who experiences impact to the head that causes them to jerk forward and then back again quickly. Neck strains can happen to people involved in car accidents, but it can also happen to people who fall over. Sportspeople and athletes, such as footballers, commonly experience whiplash symptoms too.
The sudden force of the impact can stretch and tear at the muscles and tendons in your neck. Neck strains sometimes get confused with neck sprains, however, sprains such as a sprained jaw, are caused by the tearing of ligaments.
If you’ve experienced a neck injury from a fall, or from a car accident, then you may have some of these symptoms:
- Pain and tightness in the neck. Your muscles might feel hard or knotted.
- Tenderness when you or someone else touches your neck.
- Headaches are common, usually, you’ll feel these at the base of the skull.
- Pain or stiffness when you try to move your head and look over your shoulder.
- Pain when lulling your head from side to side, or when you tilt it backward and forwards.
Sometimes after a fall or accident, you might experience these symptoms straight away, or they might take a few hours or even days to develop.
How Is Whiplash Diagnosed?
You need to go to your doctor to get this diagnosed. During your appointment, your doctor will thoroughly examine your neck and any injuries that you sustained. Your doctor will also ask you several questions about how it happened and what symptoms you’ve experienced.
You might even need to have an X-ray, a CT scan, and other tests, this is so that your doctor can rule out any other problems that you might have developed because of your accident or injury.
How Is Whiplash Treated?
Your doctor will advise you with the best possible treatment for your injuries. Often doctors advise patients who experience whiplash to control their pain using painkillers and to ice their neck to reduce swelling.
Your doctor will advise you on which painkillers to take, usually, these will be non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, or naproxen. The painkillers will help to reduce your pain and help to reduce any swelling. If the pain doesn’t go away with these, then your doctor might prescribe you with prescription painkillers or muscle relaxants.
Make sure that you are icing your neck regularly. It is advisable to do this for 15 minutes every 3 hours for two to three days after the incident. Remember not to put ice directly on your skin, ensure you wrap it up in a towel or cloth first and then rest the ice on your neck.
Once the two to three days are up, if you are still experiencing pain then you might choose to apply a heat pack to your neck. Alternatively, you can a warm and wet towel or take a bath, to try to help with pain management and to reduce the swelling.
In some instances, your doctor might give you a neck brace or collar. These are designed to provide additional support for your neck while it heals. However, make sure you follow your doctor’s advice on this because wearing a neck brace for too long can weaken your muscles.
Learn more about whiplash including more about the symptoms are and how you can treat it now.
Exercises for Whiplash
Implementing daily exercises that can help to strengthen your neck muscles is advised after you’ve recovered from the initial pain of whiplash. The main areas you need to focus on include:
- Improving your posture
- Exercises that help your range of motions
- Exercises that help to strengthen your neck muscles
- Aerobic exercises.
Your doctor will give you information on the kinds of exercises that you need to do. These are usually easy to do and rely on repetition to help build up the muscles again.
The types of exercises that you might be expected to do include sitting down with a straight back and keeping your head straight. From this position, you then need to try touching your ear with your shoulder. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then repeat with the other side.
Try doing some chin tucking exercises, as this helps to stretch your muscles in the cervical spine and improve your posture. To do these, lie on your back and look up toward the ceiling, then move your chin toward your chest. Hold this position for five seconds and then look back up. Repeat this stretch for 5-10 reps.
Whiplash patients can also try side-bending exercises. Side-bending exercises help to increase your neck’s flexibility and mobility. To do this, lie on your back and move your head to the right, bringing your right ear close to your shoulder. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds and then do the same on your left side. Repeat these stretches between three and five times.
Another exercise that is common for whiplash patients is straightening up and slowly moving your head from left to right. And then trying to move your head forward and backward.
It is also important that you try to improve your posture after a neck injury. Try sitting up straight and walking with a better posture. You might even consider joining a yoga or pilates class once your neck feels better, as these can help to improve your posture.
Try Some of These Whiplash Treatment Exercises Today
The first thing you want to do after experiencing neck pains or problems is going to your doctor. Follow their advice carefully, to make sure that you treat your neck as soon as possible.
Remember to ask your doctor about whether doing whiplash treatment exercises will benefit you or not. If your doctor thinks it’s a good idea to do some exercises, then why not try out some of the above exercises to try and strengthen your neck.
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