After suffering from whiplash during a car accident, you may find that the pain and tight muscles make it difficult for you to get a decent night's rest. If so, use the following tips to help you cope with your whiplash symptoms while trying to sleep.
Ice Your Neck Before Bedtime
One way you can help ease the inflammation and pain after suffering from whiplash is to ice your neck. The cold helps reduce the amount of blood flow to the injured area, helping to keep the throbbing down to a minimum. The ice also helps desensitize your nerve endings, reducing their perception of pain.
As part of your bedtime routine, apply ice on your neck for several minutes. However, do not fall asleep with the ice still on, as this could damage your skin.
Perform Stretches Before and After Sleeping
Another way to relieve your whiplash pain is to perform stretching exercises. When you keep your neck immobilized, the muscles will tighten up and increase your discomfort. Stretching the muscles helps keep them moving, while also lengthening the muscles fibers and alleviating the cramps.
To help you get to sleep, stretch your neck to relieve any cramping and spasms caused during the day. Then, repeat the stretches when you first wake up in morning to loosen up your muscles in preparation for the day.
Use One Firm Pillow
If you normally sleep on a soft pillow or stack several pillows on which to lay your head, you may be making your pain worse. If you sleep on a soft pillow, your head will fall down while you are sleeping. If you use several pillows, your neck will extend upward.
Either way, you will be sleeping with your cervical spine out of alignment. Because the curvature caused by your choice of pillows is unnatural, your muscles will try to compensate by tightening up, contributing to the pain and stiffness you feel all night and the next morning.
To help alleviate this problem, try sleeping on one firm pillow. Select one that comfortably supports your head and keeps your neck straight.
Using the above tips can help you cope with your whiplash symptoms so you can get a better night's sleep. If your pain and stiffness from your motor vehicle accident injury persists at all hours of the day, make an appointment with a chiropractor so they can assess you to see if you may benefit from spinal adjustments.