How To Sleep With Whiplash?

5 min read

How do you relax the muscles in your shoulders and neck after a whiplash injury?

After sustaining a whiplash injury, you must take pain medication and anti-inflammatories. Before jumping into bed, take a warm shower and relax while the warm water is showering over your neck and shoulders. If possible, massage your neck and shoulders before sleeping and use a hot water bottle.

Does whiplash get worse at night?


Yes, for many reasons. At night your body is winding down for sleep which sees a reduced level of hormones that help alleviate pain symptoms. Hormones such as cortisol are less at night.

The mechanism of the injury will affect the pain level. A whiplash can affect more than your cervical spine, with pain radiating through your shoulders, upper back, and even into your chest.

Pain generally worsens the same day as the whiplash accident has occurred, with pain being more early in the morning and at bedtime.

How do I rest my neck after whiplash?

With a cervical collar. Assuming you have had an x-ray to eliminate any bone damage from the whiplash injury, you will likely be issued a cervical collar to wear during the day.

Cervical collars are perfect for relieving pain in the initial days after the whiplash injury but do not promote fast healing.

At frequent intervals during the day-use an ice pack on your neck to relieve the symptoms of the injury.

How long should you rest after whiplash?

Neck injuries can take a long time to recover from, and it’s normal to have some residual stiffness and slight pain weeks after the injury.

The problem is by keeping your neck immobile for a long period, you are causing your neck muscles to become weaker, and you need your neck muscles to be stronger.

The amount of rest you need will depend on the extent of your injury but for most ordinary people. You should start introducing some neck movement after 48 hours unless otherwise instructed by your doctor.

You can also introduce light exercises such as walking and stretching. This will help relax your head muscles.

If otherwise instructed by your medical professional, remove the supporting collar for 20 mins every couple of hours. This will help strengthen your neck muscles.

Can you sleep on your side with whiplash?

It can be difficult. Neck injuries are difficult to sleep with, and you need to take great care when getting into and out of bed.

You may find it easier to sleep on your back while the mussels are in spasm or inflamed from an injury.

If you sleep on your side, it is advised that you have a supportive pillow that can support both your head and neck at the same time.

In all cases, you should follow the instructions from your doctor regarding sleeping positions and medications.

What position should you sleep in with whiplash?

Sleep on your back in an elevated position. It may be easier to sleep in a slightly elevated position while sleeping on your back, it makes getting in and out of bed easier.

Don’t use pillows to prop yourself up. Instead, prop up the mattress and use a supportive pillow for your neck and head, something like memory foam or a purpose-designed orthopaedic pillow.

If you can achieve alignment of your cervical spine, the healing process will be shorter.

How to sleep sleeping comfortably with whiplash tips

Here are a few tips for sleeping comfortably with whiplash:

  1. Use a supportive pillow: A pillow that is too high or too low can cause strain on your neck. Try using a pillow that is thick enough to support your neck in a neutral position.
  2. Sleep in a comfortable position: Try sleeping in a position that puts the least amount of strain on your neck, such as on your back with a pillow to support your neck.
  3. Try using a neck brace: A neck brace can help to stabilize your neck and reduce movement while you sleep.
  4. Avoid sleeping on your stomach: Sleeping on your stomach can cause your neck to be in an awkward position and can increase strain on your neck muscles.
  5. Take breaks from electronic devices: Using electronic devices before bed can lead to poor sleep quality. Try to avoid using them for at least an hour before bed to improve your sleep quality.
  6. Use relaxation techniques: Try using relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or visualization to help you relax and sleep more comfortably.

It’s also important to talk to a healthcare professional about your whiplash and any treatment options that may be appropriate for your specific situation.

Can you sleep on your stomach with a whiplash injury?

It’s not recommended. Just getting into the prone position with whiplash will be painful, and you are not providing support to your neck where it is needed.

How do you align your spine in bed?

Use pillows as props. The best way is to use the correct pillow under your head and neck, this will give the best solution if you sleep on your back or side.

If you sleep on your side, use the correct pillow for support and try sleeping in the foetal position for extra comfort.

When should I go to the hospital for whiplash?

Suppose your arms are weak or tingling. If you experience numbness or tingling in the arms, this could indicate something more serious and you need an x-ray.

Don’t delay your emergency room visit; it could worsen things.

What is the fastest way to cure whiplash?

You can sleep with an ice pack when you have whiplash. Use ice packs and prescribed medications. Ice packs will help your neck and shoulder muscles to become less inflamed.

Use ice packs for 20 minutes every hour, may ice 4 -5 times a day for the first few days until the pain and stiffness settle.

In conjunction with your ice pack therapy, take the prescribed medications, you should feel relieved soon after.

How long should you wear a cervical collar for whiplash?

Take advice from your doctor. Wearing a cervical collar will give you pain relief, but the truth is you need to strengthen your neck as soon as possible, and the collar removes the weight of your head, so your muscles are becoming weaker if you wear it for too long.

Most of you find it heavenly to remove a cervical collar after a few days, they are hot and restrictive, plus you shouldn’t be wearing the cervical collar in bed.

Can you make whiplash worse?

Yes, by not being active. It’s ok to rest while you are in pain, and you should follow your doctor’s instructions regarding rest.

In the first few days after a whiplash incident, it can be hard and painful to move around, but you should know that the longer your neck muscles are inactive, the longer it will take to recover.

If you can try to do some head rotations while your neck is sore, it will help.

What exercises can you do to speed up the recovery process?

Simple exercises start gently. There is no need to head to the gym or physiotherapist. Simply interlock the fingers of your hands and palace against your forehead.

Gently push forward with your head (it’s using your neck muscles) while resisting the force with your hands. Do this for sets of 30 seconds, 10m second intervals. The same for the back of your head and both sides.

This will allow your neck muscles to strengthen rapidly, and you should see the neck pain diminish quickly.

How can I realign my neck at home?

You can’t, but you can try stretching. Try what’s termed a cervical flexion stretch moving your head to the front and back can help realign your neck. Sit in a straight chair looking forward. Bend your chin down to your chest and hold for 15 seconds. Lift your head back to the starting position, then repeat ten times.

It may be challenging in the first week or two but it is something you can keep in your armoury for decreasing the recovery time from whiplash.

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