Getting Back to Life After Whiplash: What You Need to Know

It can be tough to recover after whiplash – damage done to the soft tissue in the neck after experiencing a harsh jerking motion. Although most symptoms subside within a few days, it can take weeks or even months to feel like yourself again. At Posture Works in San Francisco, CA, and Denver, CO, we work with patients who are experiencing pain from a whiplash incident that happened long ago.

In order to allow your body to heal fully from a whiplash injury, there are a few things you should do and not do in the days and weeks following your accident. Here’s what you should know about getting back to life after whiplash.

The dos and don’ts of whiplash recovery

Although you might be ready to jump back into your normal routine just a few days after a whiplash injury, the tissues in your neck might not be healed completely. Engaging in some activities too soon might lead to further complications. These could have much longer-term consequences on the health of your neck and back. To allow yourself to heal completely, follow these guidelines.

Don’t

  • Avoid rest: For the first 24 to 48 hours after a whiplash injury, the most important thing you can do is rest. This is when symptoms will be the most pronounced and tissues will be the most sensitive. Even if you’re feeling okay, take just two days to stay off your feet and heal before getting back into the swing of things.
  • Engage in strenuous activity: High-impact exercises, contact sports, and extreme activities like bungee jumping all have a high potential for re-injury following whiplash. Immediately after an injury, it is crucial that you avoid all kinds of strenuous activity. After a few weeks, you can assess the presence and severity of your symptoms with your doctor. If your pain has subsided, you can slowly begin participating in these activities again.
  • Push yourself too hard: Common whiplash symptoms include dizziness, fatigue, and pain in the neck and head. These symptoms could come on suddenly in the days following your injury. You should exercise precaution and avoid doing anything too strenuous or potentially dangerous to prevent accidents as a result of your symptoms.

Do

  • Engage in low-impact exercise: It’s important for you to move a little while healing from an injury. Resting for a week and hardly moving your neck or back could cause muscles to tense, further limiting your mobility. Rest your neck for around 48 hours. Then, work on implementing small amounts of gentle exercise like walking and yoga into your day to help loosen your muscles.
  • Treat symptoms at home: Use a combination of rest, heat, and ice to help reduce the swelling in your neck, promote circulation, and allow the tissues to heal. Doing at-home neck stretches and exercises may also help strengthen your neck and improve flexibility.
  • Seek professional help: If whiplash pain persists after a few days, you may benefit from professional treatment. Physical therapy and chiropractic manipulations may help improve your range of motion, strengthen the muscles in your neck, and promote faster healing.

If you’ve experienced a whiplash injury recently, don’t fret – you should be back to your normal routine in just a few weeks. Remember to take it slow and focus on resting and healing.

Seek chiropractic help after an accident

Should you need extra assistance to manage pain and mobility, the professionals at Posture Works in San Francisco, CA, and Denver, CO, are here to help! Using our holistic Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach, we may be able to help your neck heal even faster, so you can get back to doing what you love.

Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.