Having whiplash after an auto accident is painful and worrisome. You may have concern about whether the whiplash will turn into neck pain that lasts forever, but with the right treatment and care, the condition should resolve in some days or weeks. Help yourself with these pain and recovery suggestions:
Use a Brace
Even if your doctor has not required you use one, a neck brace could be beneficial. For one thing, it will keep your neck in a straight, neutral position. More than that, it will keep you aware of the movements you're making so that you are gentle with your neck and shoulders during this time.
Use Foam Pillows
If you're not a "pillow person" or have old, limp pillows, you might want to reconsider and use foam pillows. Foam pillows hold their shape, and that can be soothing to someone with whiplash.
Avoid Stomach Sleeping
Stomach sleeping can put additional pressure on neck muscles and cause your neck to twist in a way that causes pain as you turn your head to the right and left. Try back sleeping or use pillows to position yourself in such a way that you sleep on your side and are unable to move to your stomach.
Do Gentle Neck Exercises
Neck exercises, like other types of physical therapy exercises, can be useful and soothing when you've got whiplash. Gentle rotations of your neck and slow movements up and down are best. You may consult an auto injury expert like a chiropractor who has experience with these injuries for specific exercise suggestions.
Your neck and shoulders may be rather tense and stiff after your accident. You might have to remember to consciously relax them throughout the day. Massage sessions can help you start to loosen those muscle groups, and in the process, you could find that your neck slowly feels better.
You can probably still work and go through your life in much the same way as you did before the whiplash. However, to encourage healing, take it easy and take care you don't cause further damage. For example, avoid carrying around a hefty handbag that weighs down on your shoulders, which could also affect how your neck feels. Be mindful of time spent looking down at laptop or computer screens; stretch out frequently. Consider rolling up a small towel for extra support at work or when you're driving.
With time and help, your whiplash should go away. For personalized treatment, an auto injury expert should be consulted.