Whiplash is a common enough injury that can happen to you either in an accident or during sports, especially contact sports. It can also be caused by direct contact or if you fall on your head. It is caused when your neck is rapidly and forcibly moved in a forward and backward motion.
What happens is that your muscles are strained or the ligaments in your neck are sprained due to the sudden movement. In more severe cases of whiplash, your nerves can also get damaged and your vertebrae can get fractured.
If you have suffered whiplash injury, you may not feel the symptoms right away. It can take up to 48 hours for someone to feel the full brunt of the injury. It can include limitations to the movement of the neck, mild to severe headaches, dizziness and blurred vision. Depending on the severity of the accident, it can last for a few days to a few weeks.
If you have recently suffered a whiplash injury, make sure that you don’t do anything for the next 24 to 48 hours. Get lots of rest and take the medication that your doctor has prescribed for you. Exercise at the initial stage is prohibited by most doctors. As your neck begins to heal and you start getting a little movement in your neck muscles, you can start adding exercise or different everyday routines to your daily activities. These routines could include anything that involves rotating and twisting of your neck.
As time passes and you gain more control over your neck, you can increase the exercise regimen according to the amount of movement that you have gained. Do not do any exercise that might put a lot of strain on your neck as that can complicate your injury and you can get worse instead of getting better. That means no dancing, contact sports, and similar activities. You can start off with walking if your doctors agree to it. Or, you can do the following simple and effective exercises to help with the healing.
There are a variety of exercises that can help your healing process or speed it up depending on your condition. What you have to remember, though is to only go as far as you can physically go. No need to overdo it. Always ask your doctor before starting any exercises. According to AICA, if you feel any pain or tension during or after the exercise, immediately call your whiplash doctor.
Chin-tucks are great to stretch the muscles along your neck and upper back. The exercise is very simple and you can do it easily enough without any help.
Make sure that you are sitting up straight for this exercise. Squeeze your shoulder blades together all through this exercise. Now, gradually pull your head back and tuck your chin into your chest. Make sure that you are looking forward all through this exercise. Keep at it until you can feel your neck stretching. Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds and then relax. Repeat this process 10 times and try to do at least two sets at a time.
In this exercise, we bend our necks forward as much as we can. For this exercise to work, you need to do a chin-tuck and hold it for the entirety of the exercise. Once you have done a chin-tuck, bring your chin down towards your chest as much as you can without causing yourself any pain or discomfort. Once you have achieved the maximum position, hold the position for 3 to 5 seconds and then relax your neck. Repeat this exercise at least 10 times and do two sets.
In this exercise, we will extend our necks and look up. Make sure that you have a straight and proper posture during the entire exercise. Otherwise, it may cause pinching of the nerves at the back of your neck. Do a chin-tuck and maintain that position. Now, very slowly, tilt your head backwards and look up straight at the roof. When you feel the front of your neck stretching, stop the stretching. Now hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds and then relax your neck. Hold the position for 3 to 5 seconds and then relax your neck. Repeat this exercise at least 10 times and do two sets.
This exercise is great for your neck and upper back muscles. It strengthens them without allowing for any movement. Just like the exercises mentioned above, you need to maintain a good posture throughout this exercise for it to be effective.
Put one hand on your forehead. Now try to push your hand with your head as if you are trying to crane your neck and look down. The important thing is to not let that happen. All you need to do is to put pressure on your hand by trying to move your head. Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds and then let go. Repeat this step 10 times.
Now put your hand on the back of your head. Push your head back against your hand using a chin-tuck movement. Same as above, do not let your hand give way and do not let your head move. Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds and then relax your neck. Repeat this step 10 times.
Put your hand on the side of your head, just above the ear. Now press your head to the side and try to move it towards your shoulder. Make sure that your hand stops you from doing that. All you want is to put pressure against your hand. Now hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds. Repeat this step 10 times and then switch sides. Repeat the process as before.
These are simple yet effective activities that anyone can do after suffering whiplash injury in a road accident or a contact sports or any other way. Just make sure that you stay away from the heavy stuff like weight lifting or any other exercise. This way your whiplash injury will heal quickly and you can get back to your life easily.