What You Can Do After Experiencing Whiplash

Anyone who has suffered from whiplash can attest to how painful the injury can be. The injury itself happens when a force causes the head and neck to suddenly jerk backward and forward, with a movement similar to the movement a cracking whip makes – hence the name. That force causes the spine to suffer rapid movements, putting severe stresses on the ligaments and tendons to cause stretching and tearing.

Many cases of whiplash occur from motor vehicle accidents, especially rear-end collisions. Whiplash can also result from a sports injury, an amusement park ride, or any other activity or incident that causes a snapping motion.

In the majority of whiplash cases, the injury will heal on its own as long as the patient practices some simple treatment methods and self-care. Healing can take weeks or months, but it is also not uncommon for patients to suffer from symptoms for a longer period of time. The following are what someone should do after experiencing whiplash.

Neck Should Stay Mobile

After suffering from whiplash, an individual must keep their neck mobile. Many patients are afraid that if they move the neck it may cause more damage, but that is not the case at all. Although it may be painful to move, keeping it moving will help speed up the recovery time. An individual should also avoid wearing a collar or neck brace. Do not sit or lay down for long periods of time and avoid staying in the same position.

Ice Packs and Heat

In the first few days following the injury, placing an ice pack on the neck for 10 minutes, several times a day can help reduce the swelling and pain whiplash injuries cause. After a few days, replace the ice with heat. A hot water bottle or warm compress on the neck for 15 minutes, several times per day may help alleviate pain.

Supportive Pillows

What someone does after experiencing whiplash regarding sleeping habits can also make a difference in their recovery. Someone recovering from whiplash should not sleep on their front and avoid using more than one pillow. Many whiplash patients get relief using a supportive pillow. In addition, individuals should always maintain good posture by keeping their back straight, whether sitting, standing or walking. This is especially important to the healing process if a patient is recovering from whiplash.


It is best to use over-the-counter painkillers to treat discomfort caused by whiplash injury. In most cases, these medications will be strong enough to help with pain. An experienced back doctor can recommend which painkiller is best and what dosage an individual should follow. In some cases, if the pain is severe, a doctor may prescribe a painkiller.


If whiplash symptoms last more than a few weeks, a doctor may send a patient for physical therapy to help with the healing process. Some of the techniques used for whiplash include massage, neck exercises, and very gentle adjustments or manipulations of the neck.

Chronic Whiplash

If a whiplash injury lasts six months or longer, it is referred to as chronic whiplash. In these situations, a doctor may suggest other types of treatments for recovery. If you are experiencing chronic whiplash, consider reaching out to a professional whiplash injury doctor today for your initial consultation.