How To Treat Whiplash At Home?

How To Treat Whiplash At Home
What Are Whiplash Treatments? – The medical treatment for whiplash depends on the severity of the injury. Severe neck injuries associated with bone or spinal cord damage may require surgical intervention. Less severe injuries are often limited to soft tissue injuries (muscles, ligaments, tendons) and treatment is directed at symptom relief. Your doctor may prescribe a treatment plan including:

Pain medications (over-the-counter or prescription)

Narcotic pain medication may be necessary with severe whiplash

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) should be part of the treatment if the patient is able to take them Muscle relaxers Benzodiazepines medications such as diazepam ( Valium ) may help muscle tightness and spasm Other muscle relaxer drugs may also be used

A cervical collar may be used for the first few days, but use should be limited to the time period prescribed Cold packs or ice can be applied to the neck to minimize swelling and pain. Apply ice/cold to the neck area for 15-20 minutes. Repeat every hour, as needed, for the first 48-72 hours after the injury. Limit motion of the head and neck until pain and muscle tightness are gone. Limit strenuous activities such as sports or heavy lifting. Physical therapy with a range of motion exercises, muscle strengthening, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation may be prescribed. Non-traditional medical treatments such as chiropractic, massage, or acupuncture may be helpful for some patients in the treatment of whiplash. Consult your doctor.

Pain management – Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments to lessen pain:

Rest. Rest may be helpful for a day or two after your injury, but too much bed rest may delay recovery. Heat or cold. Either heat or cold applied to the neck for 15 minutes every three hours or so can help you feel better. Over-the-counter pain medications. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), often can control mild to moderate whiplash pain. Prescription medications. People with more-severe pain may be given certain antidepressant drugs that have been shown to relieve nerve pain. Muscle relaxants. Short-term use of these drugs may be recommended to loosen tight muscles and soothe pain. The medicine also can make you feel sleepy. It may be used to help restore normal sleep if pain prevents you from getting a good night’s rest. Injections. An injection of lidocaine (Xylocaine) — a numbing medicine — into painful muscle areas may be used to decrease pain so that you can do physical therapy.

What is whiplash and how is it treated?

Whiplash can feel like a scary condition, but it’s common and usually easy to treat. It’s usually caused when your body is forced to stop suddenly, which causes your head to “whip” forward without control, injuring your neck and spine. Whiplash is an injury that frequently results from car accidents.

  1. 1 Take it easy so that the injured tissues can rest. For the first 24 hours after your injury, you should remain on bedrest. After that, you can slowly resume activity. However, you should still take it easy by doing less and spreading out activities. Listen to your body and only increase your activity level as the pain subsides.
    • Spread out your necessary activities so that you can rest between them.
    • Avoid lifting heavy items.
    • Don’t exercise or do any strenuous activity.
    • Ask family, friends, and coworkers to help you.
  2. 2 Avoid staying in the same position for long periods of time. Keeping your neck still can actually make your whiplash worse and lengthen the time it takes you to recover. While you’re lying down, you may feel more comfortable. However, the pain and stiffness in your neck will be much worse when you do start to move around again.
    • Gently move your neck within your range of motion. For example, nod your head slightly forward as far as you can go without feeling pain, then return to your starting position. You can also try moving your head side to side.
    • When resting, set a timer for every 30 minutes to remind you to shift a bit and change positions.
    • It’s okay to walk around, but avoid exercise and lifting objects until you’ve recovered.
  3. 3 Apply an ice pack to your neck and shoulders for up to 15 minutes at a time. Ice will help relieve swelling and pain. Wrap the ice pack in a towel or shirt. Then apply it to your neck several times a day for 15-minute periods.
    • Do not place ice directly against your skin, as this can cause an ice burn.
    • Continue to apply every few hours for the first 24 hours after the injury.
  4. 4 Begin applying heat to the injury for 15 minutes at a time after 24 hours. Heat can help soothe your injury, lowering pain and helping you feel more flexible. You can apply heat several times a day for short periods of time, lasting up to 15 minutes. This lowers the risk of burning your skin, which can happen if you leave the heat against your skin for too long.
    • The best option is moist heat. You can purchase a microwaveable heat pack that contains rice, or you can make one yourself by adding white rice to a sock and tying off the end. Microwave in 30-second intervals until it is warm, without going over 90 seconds.
    • You could also try a heating pad or water bottle filled with warm water.
    • If the heat source is too hot, place a towel between the heat and your skin.
  5. 5 Take over-the-counter NSAIDs if you have pain. NSAIDs are the best OTC pain reliever for injuries because they also reduce inflammation. NSAIDs like ibuprofen, Aspirin, and Aleve (naproxen) will help with the swelling and pain. These pain relievers are often enough to relieve mild to moderate pain.
    • If your pain is more severe, you may need to talk to your doctor about getting prescription painkillers.
    • Talk to your doctor before taking any OTC medicine. NSAIDs may interact with certain prescriptions and conditions.
    • Follow the dosage directions listed on the bottle unless your doctor advises you to take a different dosage. You should always listen to your doctor.
  6. 6 Use a firm, supportive pillow to stabilize your neck while you sleep. Soft pillows like down are not a good option for those with whiplash because you need your neck to be supported and stabilized. Choose a pillow that is labeled as “firm” or that feels firm to your touch.
  1. 1 Take prescription pain medication if your pain is severe. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication if over-the-counter medications don’t work. These can include muscle relaxants to help relieve the muscle spasms caused by the trauma. You may also be prescribed narcotics. It’s important when using these medications that you follow your doctor’s instructions.
    • Ask someone you trust to help monitor how much you take. If you’re in a lot of pain, it can be hard to manage your dosages, which can cause problems down the line.
    • These prescriptions can be very addictive, so use them only when necessary.
  2. 2 Get an injection of lidocaine to help relieve pain if your case is severe. The numbing agent lidocaine may be injected to relieve pain. This is especially useful when you start to do stretches and exercises to regain function in your neck, shoulders, and arms. For example, you could get an injection before you undergo physical therapy.
    • Ask your doctor if this option will work for you. Not everyone will need lidocaine.
  3. 3 See a physical therapist to regain your strength and range of motion. A physical therapist can help you through stretches and exercises that will help your neck, back, and arms regain some function. They will also teach you how to do them at home.
    • Physical therapy may cause discomfort, but it shouldn’t cause pain. Talk to your physical therapist if you experience pain during your exercises.
    • Common physical therapy exercises for whiplash include rotating your neck left to right, tilting your head side to side, moving it up and down, and rolling your shoulders.
  4. 4 Wear a foam neck brace if your doctor prescribes one. Once a standard of whiplash treatment, foam neck braces are now rarely prescribed. For most people, whiplash heals better if your neck is not immobilized. However, your doctor knows your case the best. If they recommend a neck brace, you should wear it.
    • Ask your doctor for how long you should wear the brace, and if it’s okay to sleep without it.
  1. 1 Identify symptoms of whiplash. Pain and tenderness in your neck may be telling you something is wrong after an accident or injury. However, it might not mean whiplash, so look for other symptoms. Usually, symptoms of whiplash show up a day or 2 after you experience a trauma that forces your neck forward and back.
    • Neck pain that worsens when you move.
    • Stiffness in your neck.
    • Loss of range of neck motion.
    • Headaches, usually starting at the base of your skull.
    • Tenderness or pain in your shoulder, back, or upper arms.
    • Tingling or numbness in your arms.
    • Dizziness and fatigue.
    • Blurred vision.
    • Ringing in your ears.
    • Issues with your memory or concentration.
    • Sleeplessness and irritability.
  2. 2 Visit your doctor or an urgent care center on the day of the accident. If you have any pain in your neck after an accident, you need to get immediate medical care. Whiplash is not your only concern. You could have a fracture or other damage. Symptoms of whiplash may be delayed for a day or more, so it’s important that you start treatment soon.
    • If the injury results from an accident, getting timely medical care may be necessary to get insurance coverage for your medical bills.
    • Even if the doctor does not diagnose whiplash, you should go back if your symptoms worsen or you develop new symptoms.
  3. 3 Allow the doctor to conduct a non-invasive physical examination. The doctor needs to touch and move your head, neck, and arms to see if there is pain or discomfort. They will also ask you to do certain basic movements to see if you can and if they’re painful. The doctor needs to determine the following:
    • Your current range of motion.
    • The point at which you experience pain.
    • Places where your neck, shoulders, and back are tender.
    • How your reflexes are performing.
    • How much strength you have in your limbs.
    • If you’re having any sensation issues in your limbs.
  4. 4 Expect the doctor to perform imaging tests to look for damage. The doctor will likely want to perform an X-ray, CT-scan, or MRI to look for other underlying issues that could be causing your whiplash symptoms. While they sound scary, these tests are relatively easy, non-invasive, and painless. You may experience minor discomfort from remaining still during your tests.
    • The X-rays can identify if you have a fracture, dislocation, or arthritis.
    • CT-scans can show if you have bone damage.
    • MRIs can detect bone damage and tissue damage, such as spinal cord issues, disk problems, or ligament issues.
  1. 1 Get a chiropractor to adjust your spine after the tissues have healed. Chiropractors adjust your spine to help with your alignment. Spinal adjustments may relieve residual pain that may remain in your neck. They can also help restore normal movement to your neck and back. After whiplash, it’s best to wait until your soft tissues have healed before getting an adjustment.
    • Tell the chiropractor that you’ve suffered whiplash.
    • Ask your primary care physician for a recommendation.
  2. 2 Consider massage therapy for pain relief. Massage therapy is a great way to help relieve some of your pain and help you feel more flexible. You can even do it to yourself! Like seeing a chiropractor, you should wait until your whiplash has started to heal before using massage.
    • If you go to a professional massage therapist, tell them that you’ve suffered whiplash and are in recovery. Ask them about their professional experience working with clients who’ve been injured to make sure they’re prepared to work with your injury.
    • Don’t ask friends and family who aren’t professionally trained to massage you, as this could aggravate the injury.
  3. 3 Try acupuncture to help relieve your pain and regain balance. An ancient form of Chinese medicine, acupuncture remains popular because many find it helps relieve their symptoms. When you get acupuncture, a trained professional inserts tiny needles into your skin.
    • Before getting acupuncture, ask about the credentials and professional experience of the acupuncturist. Let them know that you’ve suffered whiplash and want acupuncture to help with your recovery.

Add New Question

  • Question What does whiplash feel like? Jonathan Frank, MD Sports Orthopedic Surgeon & Joint Preservation Specialist Dr. Jonathan Frank is an Orthopedic Surgeon based in Beverly Hills, California, specializing in sports medicine and joint preservation. Dr. Frank’s practice focuses on minimally invasive, arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, hip, and elbow.

    Dr. Frank holds an MD from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. He completed an orthopedic residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a fellowship in Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Hip Preservation at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado. He is a staff team physician for the US Ski and Snowboard Team.

    Dr. Frank is currently a scientific reviewer for top peer-reviewed scientific journals, and his research has been presented at regional, national, and international orthopedic conferences, winning several awards including the prestigious Mark Coventry and William A Grana awards. Sports Orthopedic Surgeon & Joint Preservation Specialist Expert Answer Patients will typically feel like their neck or lower back is extremely stiff. They’ll have limited movement with their neck or their lower back. Essentially, it feels like they had some tremendous workout for back day and they just can’t really move without a lot of pain.

  • Question Are there any medications for treating whiplash? Jonathan Frank, MD Sports Orthopedic Surgeon & Joint Preservation Specialist Dr. Jonathan Frank is an Orthopedic Surgeon based in Beverly Hills, California, specializing in sports medicine and joint preservation. Dr. Frank’s practice focuses on minimally invasive, arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, hip, and elbow.

    Dr. Frank holds an MD from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. He completed an orthopedic residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a fellowship in Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Hip Preservation at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado. He is a staff team physician for the US Ski and Snowboard Team.

    Dr. Frank is currently a scientific reviewer for top peer-reviewed scientific journals, and his research has been presented at regional, national, and international orthopedic conferences, winning several awards including the prestigious Mark Coventry and William A Grana awards. Sports Orthopedic Surgeon & Joint Preservation Specialist Expert Answer Starting on over-the-counter anti-inflammatories as quickly as possible will help decrease inflammation of the muscles. If you are having a lot of spasms, which can be associated with whiplash, then you might want to see a physician so they can give you a muscle relaxant to help with those spasms as well.

  • Question What are the main symptoms of whiplash? Jonathan Frank, MD Sports Orthopedic Surgeon & Joint Preservation Specialist Dr. Jonathan Frank is an Orthopedic Surgeon based in Beverly Hills, California, specializing in sports medicine and joint preservation. Dr. Frank’s practice focuses on minimally invasive, arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, hip, and elbow.

    Dr. Frank holds an MD from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. He completed an orthopedic residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a fellowship in Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Hip Preservation at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado. He is a staff team physician for the US Ski and Snowboard Team.

    Dr. Frank is currently a scientific reviewer for top peer-reviewed scientific journals, and his research has been presented at regional, national, and international orthopedic conferences, winning several awards including the prestigious Mark Coventry and William A Grana awards. Sports Orthopedic Surgeon & Joint Preservation Specialist Expert Answer Typically if you get a whiplash injury, your back or lower back will feel very stiff after a day or two, and you may have limited movement in these areas.

See more answers Ask a Question 200 characters left Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Submit

  • Though whiplash is usually associated with car accidents, it can also result from sports, physical abuse, and other traumatic events. As a small thank you, we’d like to offer you a $30 gift card (valid at GoNift.com). Use it to try out great new products and services nationwide without paying full price—wine, food delivery, clothing and more. Enjoy!
  • Avoid lifting anything heavy for at least 6 weeks after your injury. In some cases, you may have to wait 6 months. As a small thank you, we’d like to offer you a $30 gift card (valid at GoNift.com). Use it to try out great new products and services nationwide without paying full price—wine, food delivery, clothing and more. Enjoy!
  • Although many people begin to feel better after a few days, some people suffer from the effects of whiplash for several months. Treatment may be an ongoing process. As a small thank you, we’d like to offer you a $30 gift card (valid at GoNift.com). Use it to try out great new products and services nationwide without paying full price—wine, food delivery, clothing and more. Enjoy!
  • Although most people view whiplash as a physical injury, psychological symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression can also occur. These symptoms usually appear later. If you begin to notice any stress or anxiety, see your doctor right away. As a small thank you, we’d like to offer you a $30 gift card (valid at GoNift.com). Use it to try out great new products and services nationwide without paying full price—wine, food delivery, clothing and more. Enjoy!

Article Summary X Although whiplash is common and usually easy to treat, in cases of extreme pain, consider asking your doctor for a prescription pain reliever or injection of lidocaine. If your whiplash isn’t too painful, however, begin treating it at home with 24 hours of bed rest.

Since keeping your neck still can actually make your whiplash worse, you should also try to move your head side to side or forward and back every 30 minutes. To alleviate pain in the first 24 hours of your injury, apply ice for 15 minutes at a time, then switch to heat after 24 hours have passed. For more advice from our Medical co-author, like how to use acupuncture to relieve your pain, scroll down.

Did this summary help you? Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 186,715 times.

How do you get rid of whiplash in the morning?

Pain management – Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments to lessen pain:

Rest. Rest may be helpful for a day or two after your injury, but too much bed rest may delay recovery. Heat or cold. Either heat or cold applied to the neck for 15 minutes every three hours or so can help you feel better. Over-the-counter pain medications. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), often can control mild to moderate whiplash pain. Prescription medications. People with more-severe pain may be given certain antidepressant drugs that have been shown to relieve nerve pain. Muscle relaxants. Short-term use of these drugs may be recommended to loosen tight muscles and soothe pain. The medicine also can make you feel sleepy. It may be used to help restore normal sleep if pain prevents you from getting a good night’s rest. Injections. An injection of lidocaine (Xylocaine) — a numbing medicine — into painful muscle areas may be used to decrease pain so that you can do physical therapy.

Should I go to the doctor for whiplash?

Whiplash can feel like a scary condition, but it’s common and usually easy to treat. It’s usually caused when your body is forced to stop suddenly, which causes your head to “whip” forward without control, injuring your neck and spine. Whiplash is an injury that frequently results from car accidents.

  1. 1 Take it easy so that the injured tissues can rest. For the first 24 hours after your injury, you should remain on bedrest. After that, you can slowly resume activity. However, you should still take it easy by doing less and spreading out activities. Listen to your body and only increase your activity level as the pain subsides.
    • Spread out your necessary activities so that you can rest between them.
    • Avoid lifting heavy items.
    • Don’t exercise or do any strenuous activity.
    • Ask family, friends, and coworkers to help you.
  2. 2 Avoid staying in the same position for long periods of time. Keeping your neck still can actually make your whiplash worse and lengthen the time it takes you to recover. While you’re lying down, you may feel more comfortable. However, the pain and stiffness in your neck will be much worse when you do start to move around again.
    • Gently move your neck within your range of motion. For example, nod your head slightly forward as far as you can go without feeling pain, then return to your starting position. You can also try moving your head side to side.
    • When resting, set a timer for every 30 minutes to remind you to shift a bit and change positions.
    • It’s okay to walk around, but avoid exercise and lifting objects until you’ve recovered.
  3. 3 Apply an ice pack to your neck and shoulders for up to 15 minutes at a time. Ice will help relieve swelling and pain. Wrap the ice pack in a towel or shirt. Then apply it to your neck several times a day for 15-minute periods.
    • Do not place ice directly against your skin, as this can cause an ice burn.
    • Continue to apply every few hours for the first 24 hours after the injury.
  4. 4 Begin applying heat to the injury for 15 minutes at a time after 24 hours. Heat can help soothe your injury, lowering pain and helping you feel more flexible. You can apply heat several times a day for short periods of time, lasting up to 15 minutes. This lowers the risk of burning your skin, which can happen if you leave the heat against your skin for too long.
    • The best option is moist heat. You can purchase a microwaveable heat pack that contains rice, or you can make one yourself by adding white rice to a sock and tying off the end. Microwave in 30-second intervals until it is warm, without going over 90 seconds.
    • You could also try a heating pad or water bottle filled with warm water.
    • If the heat source is too hot, place a towel between the heat and your skin.
  5. 5 Take over-the-counter NSAIDs if you have pain. NSAIDs are the best OTC pain reliever for injuries because they also reduce inflammation. NSAIDs like ibuprofen, Aspirin, and Aleve (naproxen) will help with the swelling and pain. These pain relievers are often enough to relieve mild to moderate pain.
    • If your pain is more severe, you may need to talk to your doctor about getting prescription painkillers.
    • Talk to your doctor before taking any OTC medicine. NSAIDs may interact with certain prescriptions and conditions.
    • Follow the dosage directions listed on the bottle unless your doctor advises you to take a different dosage. You should always listen to your doctor.
  6. 6 Use a firm, supportive pillow to stabilize your neck while you sleep. Soft pillows like down are not a good option for those with whiplash because you need your neck to be supported and stabilized. Choose a pillow that is labeled as “firm” or that feels firm to your touch.
  1. 1 Take prescription pain medication if your pain is severe. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication if over-the-counter medications don’t work. These can include muscle relaxants to help relieve the muscle spasms caused by the trauma. You may also be prescribed narcotics. It’s important when using these medications that you follow your doctor’s instructions.
    • Ask someone you trust to help monitor how much you take. If you’re in a lot of pain, it can be hard to manage your dosages, which can cause problems down the line.
    • These prescriptions can be very addictive, so use them only when necessary.
  2. 2 Get an injection of lidocaine to help relieve pain if your case is severe. The numbing agent lidocaine may be injected to relieve pain. This is especially useful when you start to do stretches and exercises to regain function in your neck, shoulders, and arms. For example, you could get an injection before you undergo physical therapy.
    • Ask your doctor if this option will work for you. Not everyone will need lidocaine.
  3. 3 See a physical therapist to regain your strength and range of motion. A physical therapist can help you through stretches and exercises that will help your neck, back, and arms regain some function. They will also teach you how to do them at home.
    • Physical therapy may cause discomfort, but it shouldn’t cause pain. Talk to your physical therapist if you experience pain during your exercises.
    • Common physical therapy exercises for whiplash include rotating your neck left to right, tilting your head side to side, moving it up and down, and rolling your shoulders.
  4. 4 Wear a foam neck brace if your doctor prescribes one. Once a standard of whiplash treatment, foam neck braces are now rarely prescribed. For most people, whiplash heals better if your neck is not immobilized. However, your doctor knows your case the best. If they recommend a neck brace, you should wear it.
    • Ask your doctor for how long you should wear the brace, and if it’s okay to sleep without it.
  1. 1 Identify symptoms of whiplash. Pain and tenderness in your neck may be telling you something is wrong after an accident or injury. However, it might not mean whiplash, so look for other symptoms. Usually, symptoms of whiplash show up a day or 2 after you experience a trauma that forces your neck forward and back.
    • Neck pain that worsens when you move.
    • Stiffness in your neck.
    • Loss of range of neck motion.
    • Headaches, usually starting at the base of your skull.
    • Tenderness or pain in your shoulder, back, or upper arms.
    • Tingling or numbness in your arms.
    • Dizziness and fatigue.
    • Blurred vision.
    • Ringing in your ears.
    • Issues with your memory or concentration.
    • Sleeplessness and irritability.
  2. 2 Visit your doctor or an urgent care center on the day of the accident. If you have any pain in your neck after an accident, you need to get immediate medical care. Whiplash is not your only concern. You could have a fracture or other damage. Symptoms of whiplash may be delayed for a day or more, so it’s important that you start treatment soon.
    • If the injury results from an accident, getting timely medical care may be necessary to get insurance coverage for your medical bills.
    • Even if the doctor does not diagnose whiplash, you should go back if your symptoms worsen or you develop new symptoms.
  3. 3 Allow the doctor to conduct a non-invasive physical examination. The doctor needs to touch and move your head, neck, and arms to see if there is pain or discomfort. They will also ask you to do certain basic movements to see if you can and if they’re painful. The doctor needs to determine the following:
    • Your current range of motion.
    • The point at which you experience pain.
    • Places where your neck, shoulders, and back are tender.
    • How your reflexes are performing.
    • How much strength you have in your limbs.
    • If you’re having any sensation issues in your limbs.
  4. 4 Expect the doctor to perform imaging tests to look for damage. The doctor will likely want to perform an X-ray, CT-scan, or MRI to look for other underlying issues that could be causing your whiplash symptoms. While they sound scary, these tests are relatively easy, non-invasive, and painless. You may experience minor discomfort from remaining still during your tests.
    • The X-rays can identify if you have a fracture, dislocation, or arthritis.
    • CT-scans can show if you have bone damage.
    • MRIs can detect bone damage and tissue damage, such as spinal cord issues, disk problems, or ligament issues.
  1. 1 Get a chiropractor to adjust your spine after the tissues have healed. Chiropractors adjust your spine to help with your alignment. Spinal adjustments may relieve residual pain that may remain in your neck. They can also help restore normal movement to your neck and back. After whiplash, it’s best to wait until your soft tissues have healed before getting an adjustment.
    • Tell the chiropractor that you’ve suffered whiplash.
    • Ask your primary care physician for a recommendation.
  2. 2 Consider massage therapy for pain relief. Massage therapy is a great way to help relieve some of your pain and help you feel more flexible. You can even do it to yourself! Like seeing a chiropractor, you should wait until your whiplash has started to heal before using massage.
    • If you go to a professional massage therapist, tell them that you’ve suffered whiplash and are in recovery. Ask them about their professional experience working with clients who’ve been injured to make sure they’re prepared to work with your injury.
    • Don’t ask friends and family who aren’t professionally trained to massage you, as this could aggravate the injury.
  3. 3 Try acupuncture to help relieve your pain and regain balance. An ancient form of Chinese medicine, acupuncture remains popular because many find it helps relieve their symptoms. When you get acupuncture, a trained professional inserts tiny needles into your skin.
    • Before getting acupuncture, ask about the credentials and professional experience of the acupuncturist. Let them know that you’ve suffered whiplash and want acupuncture to help with your recovery.

Add New Question

  • Question What does whiplash feel like? Jonathan Frank, MD Sports Orthopedic Surgeon & Joint Preservation Specialist Dr. Jonathan Frank is an Orthopedic Surgeon based in Beverly Hills, California, specializing in sports medicine and joint preservation. Dr. Frank’s practice focuses on minimally invasive, arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, hip, and elbow.

    Dr. Frank holds an MD from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. He completed an orthopedic residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a fellowship in Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Hip Preservation at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado. He is a staff team physician for the US Ski and Snowboard Team.

    Dr. Frank is currently a scientific reviewer for top peer-reviewed scientific journals, and his research has been presented at regional, national, and international orthopedic conferences, winning several awards including the prestigious Mark Coventry and William A Grana awards. Sports Orthopedic Surgeon & Joint Preservation Specialist Expert Answer Patients will typically feel like their neck or lower back is extremely stiff. They’ll have limited movement with their neck or their lower back. Essentially, it feels like they had some tremendous workout for back day and they just can’t really move without a lot of pain.

  • Question Are there any medications for treating whiplash? Jonathan Frank, MD Sports Orthopedic Surgeon & Joint Preservation Specialist Dr. Jonathan Frank is an Orthopedic Surgeon based in Beverly Hills, California, specializing in sports medicine and joint preservation. Dr. Frank’s practice focuses on minimally invasive, arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, hip, and elbow.

    Dr. Frank holds an MD from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine. He completed an orthopedic residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a fellowship in Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Hip Preservation at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado. He is a staff team physician for the US Ski and Snowboard Team.

    Dr. Frank is currently a scientific reviewer for top peer-reviewed scientific journals, and his research has been presented at regional, national, and international orthopedic conferences, winning several awards including the prestigious Mark Coventry and William A Grana awards. Sports Orthopedic Surgeon & Joint Preservation Specialist Expert Answer Starting on over-the-counter anti-inflammatories as quickly as possible will help decrease inflammation of the muscles. If you are having a lot of spasms, which can be associated with whiplash, then you might want to see a physician so they can give you a muscle relaxant to help with those spasms as well.

  • Question What are the main symptoms of whiplash? Jonathan Frank, MD Sports Orthopedic Surgeon & Joint Preservation Specialist Dr. Jonathan Frank is an Orthopedic Surgeon based in Beverly Hills, California, specializing in sports medicine and joint preservation. Dr. Frank’s practice focuses on minimally invasive, arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, hip, and elbow.
    • Dr. Frank holds an MD from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine.
    • He completed an orthopedic residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a fellowship in Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Hip Preservation at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado.
    • He is a staff team physician for the US Ski and Snowboard Team.

    Dr. Frank is currently a scientific reviewer for top peer-reviewed scientific journals, and his research has been presented at regional, national, and international orthopedic conferences, winning several awards including the prestigious Mark Coventry and William A Grana awards. Sports Orthopedic Surgeon & Joint Preservation Specialist Expert Answer Typically if you get a whiplash injury, your back or lower back will feel very stiff after a day or two, and you may have limited movement in these areas.

See more answers Ask a Question 200 characters left Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Submit

  • Though whiplash is usually associated with car accidents, it can also result from sports, physical abuse, and other traumatic events. As a small thank you, we’d like to offer you a $30 gift card (valid at GoNift.com). Use it to try out great new products and services nationwide without paying full price—wine, food delivery, clothing and more. Enjoy!
  • Avoid lifting anything heavy for at least 6 weeks after your injury. In some cases, you may have to wait 6 months. As a small thank you, we’d like to offer you a $30 gift card (valid at GoNift.com). Use it to try out great new products and services nationwide without paying full price—wine, food delivery, clothing and more. Enjoy!
  • Although many people begin to feel better after a few days, some people suffer from the effects of whiplash for several months. Treatment may be an ongoing process. As a small thank you, we’d like to offer you a $30 gift card (valid at GoNift.com). Use it to try out great new products and services nationwide without paying full price—wine, food delivery, clothing and more. Enjoy!
  • Although most people view whiplash as a physical injury, psychological symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression can also occur. These symptoms usually appear later. If you begin to notice any stress or anxiety, see your doctor right away. As a small thank you, we’d like to offer you a $30 gift card (valid at GoNift.com). Use it to try out great new products and services nationwide without paying full price—wine, food delivery, clothing and more. Enjoy!

Article Summary X Although whiplash is common and usually easy to treat, in cases of extreme pain, consider asking your doctor for a prescription pain reliever or injection of lidocaine. If your whiplash isn’t too painful, however, begin treating it at home with 24 hours of bed rest.

Since keeping your neck still can actually make your whiplash worse, you should also try to move your head side to side or forward and back every 30 minutes. To alleviate pain in the first 24 hours of your injury, apply ice for 15 minutes at a time, then switch to heat after 24 hours have passed. For more advice from our Medical co-author, like how to use acupuncture to relieve your pain, scroll down.

Did this summary help you? Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 186,715 times.

How do you get rid of whiplash after a car accident?

Pain management – Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments to lessen pain:

Rest. Rest may be helpful for a day or two after your injury, but too much bed rest may delay recovery. Heat or cold. Either heat or cold applied to the neck for 15 minutes every three hours or so can help you feel better. Over-the-counter pain medications. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), often can control mild to moderate whiplash pain. Prescription medications. People with more-severe pain may be given certain antidepressant drugs that have been shown to relieve nerve pain. Muscle relaxants. Short-term use of these drugs may be recommended to loosen tight muscles and soothe pain. The medicine also can make you feel sleepy. It may be used to help restore normal sleep if pain prevents you from getting a good night’s rest. Injections. An injection of lidocaine (Xylocaine) — a numbing medicine — into painful muscle areas may be used to decrease pain so that you can do physical therapy.

What is the best treatment for whiplash?

  • Seek Medical Care. See a doctor.
  • Relieve Muscle Tension. Immediately after an injury,it’s helpful to apply ice to the site of the pain.
  • Treat Pain. Give pain medication,such as acetaminophen ( Tylenol) or ibuprofen ( Advil,Motrin ).
  • Prevent Unnecessary Neck Strain.

How to treat severe neck pain at home?

Download Article Download Article Pain in the neck is common and can be triggered by various issues, including muscle strain, ligament sprain, jammed spinal (facet) joints, disc herniations, “pinched” nerves and diseases such as osteoarthritis. The most frequent root cause of neck pain is poor posture or positioning, whether it be at your work desk, driving your car, working out at the gym or sleeping in your bed at night.

  1. 1 Be patient and rest. Your cervical spine (neck) is a complex collection of bones, joints, ligaments, nerves, muscles and blood vessels. As such, there are many structures that can generate pain if you move your neck the wrong way or experience some trauma, such as whiplash.
    • Neck injury symptoms that indicate you should immediately seek medical attention include: severe neck pain that gets progressively worse, muscle weakness and/or loss of sensation in your arms, throbbing headache, blurry vision, loss of balance and/or nausea.
    • Resting your stiff or painful neck is a good idea, but completely immobilizing it in a neck collar or brace is not recommended for most injuries — it promotes weak muscles and less mobile joints. At least some gentle neck movement is needed to encourage blood flow and stimulate healing.
    • If your neck pain is exercise-related, you may be working out too aggressively or with bad form — talk to a personal trainer.
  2. 2 Apply cold therapy for acute pain. The application of cold therapy is an effective treatment for essentially all acute (recent) musculoskeletal injuries, including neck pain. Cold therapy (whether it be ice, a frozen gel pack or a bag of veggies from the freezer) should be applied to the most painful part of your neck in order to reduce inflammation and pain.
    • Compressing the ice (heat aswell)against your neck with a stretchy bandage or elastic wrap will also help combat inflammation, but be careful not to completely cut off circulation.
    • Wrap frozen items in a thin towel in order to prevent skin irritation or frostbite on your neck.
    • Acute pain typically lasts for less than a few weeks, but can transition into chronic pain if it lingers for a few months or longer.
    • Keep in mind that cold therapy may not be appropriate for chronic (long-term) neck pain that doesn’t involve much inflammation — applying moist heat may provide more relief.

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  3. 3 Apply moist heat for chronic pain. If your neck pain has become chronic (lasting for a few months or longer) and feels more stiff and achy instead of inflamed and painful, then avoid cold therapy and apply moist heat. Microwavable herbal bags are tailor made for neck pain and work well for relaxing the tension in muscles and reducing achiness in spinal joints, especially those products that are infused with aromatherapy (such as lavender or rosemary).
    • As an alternative, soak your chronically sore neck and shoulders in a hot Epsom salt bath for 20 minutes. The hot water improves circulation and the magnesium-rich salt works well to reduce ligament and tendon tension, joint stiffness and pain.
    • Applying some form of moist heat to your neck just prior to performing stretches (see below) is a good idea in most instances because it will make the muscles more pliable and less likely to become more strained.
  4. 4 Take pain medication short-term. Consider taking over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin for acute neck issues, but keep in mind they are best used as short-term solutions to help you deal with inflammation and pain.
    • Alternatively, if your neck is more stiff then inflamed, you can try over-the-counter analgesics such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), which is much easier on your stomach, but can negatively impact your liver.
    • If muscle spasm or guarding is a major element of your neck pain (common with whiplash injuries), then consider taking muscle relaxants such as cyclobenzaprine, but never take them concurrently with NSAIDs. Check whether muscle relaxants are available over-the-counter where you live.
    • As a general guideline, achy pain is usually indicative of a muscle pull or tightness, whereas sharp pain with movement is often caused by joint / ligament injuries.
  5. 5 Do some light stretches. Whatever is triggering your neck pain, chances are that the surrounding muscles are reacting to it by getting tight and restricting movement. Therefore, as long as you don’t feel sharp, electric or stabbing pain with neck movements (which may indicate a disc herniation or a bone fracture), then light neck stretches are likely of benefit.
    • Good mobilizations to start with include shoulder rolls and circular movements with your head. Then progress to neck rotations (looking side to side) and flexion / extensions (looking up and down). Spend a few minutes on each set of movements.
    • Once your neck is warmed up, start stretching by laterally flexing your neck and head, — trying to bring your ear closer to your shoulder. Do both sides. Then flex your neck forward (chin to chest) and slightly rotate it to the side until you’re staring down at your foot. Switch and do the other side.
    • Hold all neck stretches for about 30 seconds per side while deeply breathing and do them three to five times daily until the pain diminishes.
    • Always stretch or move your neck within pain tolerance. If you stretch your neck and feel pain, gradually bring your neck back to where you don’t feel any pain. Do not stretch beyond that point.
    • Over time, your range of pain-free motion will gradually increase.
  6. 6 Don’t sleep on your stomach. Stomach sleeping is a common cause of neck and shoulder pain because the neck gets twisted to the side for long periods of time to allow for breathing. Excessive neck twisting irritates the small spinal facet joints, ligaments, tendons and nerves of the neck.
    • While on your back, don’t prop your head up with more than one pillow as the increased neck flexion can lead to pain.
    • While on your side, choose a pillow that isn’t much thicker than the distance from the tip of your shoulder to your ear. Pillows that are too thick cause too much lateral flexion in the neck.
    • Consider buying a special orthopedic pillow for your neck — they are designed to support the normal curves of your neck and prevent any irritation or strain / sprain while you sleep.
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  1. 1 Get a neck massage. As noted above, virtually all neck injuries involve the muscles to some extent, so addressing the tight or spasming muscles is a sensible strategy for relieving neck pain. A deep tissue massage is helpful for mild-to-moderate strains because it reduces muscle spasm, combats inflammation and promotes relaxation.
    • Always drink lots of water right after a deep tissue massage in order to flush out inflammatory by-products and lactic acid from your body. Not doing so might trigger a headache or mild nausea.
    • A single massage may greatly relieve acute neck pain, depending on its cause and degree of seriousness, but sometimes a few more sessions are required. For chronic neck pain, longer-duration (one hour) and more frequent massages (three times per week) may be needed to “break the cycle of chronicity” and trigger healing.
  2. 2 See a chiropractor or osteopath. Chiropractors and osteopaths are spine specialists who focus on establishing normal movement and function within the small spinal facet joints that connect the vertebrae of the spinal column together. They will examine your neck and try to determine the cause of your pain, whether it’s more muscle related or more joint related.
    • Chiropractors and osteopaths often take neck x-rays to better understand your condition and to make sure a spinal adjustment is appropriate and safe.
    • Although a single adjustment can sometimes completely relieve neck pain, more than likely it will take three to five treatments to notice significant results. Your health insurance may not cover chiropractic care, so check your policy.
    • Chiropractors and osteopaths use a variety of other therapies tailored more towards muscle strains, which may be more appropriate for your neck issue.
  3. 3 Get referred for physical therapy. If your neck pain is recurring (chronic) and caused by weak spinal muscles, poor posture or degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis, then you need to consider undertaking some spinal rehabilitation. A physiotherapist can show you specific and tailored stretches and strengthening exercises for your neck, which is especially important when recovering from serious injuries such as severe whiplash from car accidents.
    • In addition to strengthening exercises and stretches, physiotherapists can also use devices to treat your neck pain, such as electronic muscle stimulation (EMS), therapeutic ultrasound and/or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
    • Good strengthening exercises for your neck include swimming, rowing and abdominal crunches, but make sure your pain is under control first.
  4. 4 Try trigger point therapy. Your muscle pain might be caused by a tight knot of muscle you can’t relax, or a “trigger point.” This is especially true of more chronic neck conditions. The trigger point will feel dense and tight to the touch, like a rope or a knot.
    • A trigger point therapist may be a massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor and even a physician.
    • To treat a trigger point yourself, try laying down on your back on a mat on the floor. Take a tennis ball and place it under your back, positioning it beneath the trigger point. Use your own weight to apply pressure to the trigger point. If this is too painful, you are using too much pressure. The feeling as you work out the knot should be strong and satisfying ; you might describe it as “hurting so good.”
  5. 5 Consider acupuncture. Acupuncture involves inserting very thin needles into specific energy points within your skin in efforts to reduce pain and inflammation. Acupuncture for neck pain can be very effective, especially if it’s done when your acute symptoms first occur.
    • There is mixed scientific evidence that acupuncture is helpful in relieving chronic neck and back pain, but there’s numerous anecdotal reports that suggest it can be a viable treatment option.
    • Keep in mind that the acupuncture points used to reduce your neck pain may not be located in or near the neck — some points can be in distant areas of the body.
    • Acupuncture is now practiced by a variety of healthcare professionals including some physicians, chiropractors, physiotherapists and massage therapists — but whoever you choose should be certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
  6. 6 Talk to a physician about more invasive options. If your neck pain does not respond to home remedies or other more conservative (alternative) therapies, then consult with your family doctor about more invasive treatments, such as corticosteroid injections and/or surgical options.

    A corticosteroid injection into an inflamed neck joint, muscle or tendon can quickly reduce inflammation and pain, and allow for greater range of motion and function. However, steroidal injections should not be given more than a few times per year due to side effects, such as muscle / tendon weakening and compromised immune function.

    Neck surgery should be considered only as a last resort, although it’s obviously indicated for fractures and dislocations caused from either trauma or osteoporosis (brittle bones from lack of minerals). Other conditions of the neck that often warrant surgery include intervertebral disc herniations (“slipped” disc), severe inflammatory arthritis and bone infection (osteomyelitis).

    • Your doctor may take x-rays, CT scans, MRI, diagnostic ultrasound or a nerve conductance study to better understand the cause and seriousness of your neck pain.
    • If surgery is indicated, your family doctor will refer your to an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in spinal pathology.
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  • When standing and sitting, make sure your head is directly over shoulders and your upper back is straight. As a small thank you, we’d like to offer you a $30 gift card (valid at GoNift.com). Use it to try out great new products and services nationwide without paying full price—wine, food delivery, clothing and more. Enjoy!
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If your neck pain is severe and comes on quickly without any obvious trauma and also involves a severe headache, high fever, confusion and nausea, then seek medical care immediately because you may have a spinal infection such as meningitis.

Article Summary X If you need to relieve neck pain, spend as much time as possible resting in a recliner or propped on pillows. If the pain is sharp, apply an ice pack for about 15 minutes to the area where the pain is the most severe. Repeat this about once an hour for the first 3-4 hours after the injury, then decrease as the pain subsides.

If your neck is stiff and achy, apply a heating pad or soak in a hot Epsom salt bath for about 20 minutes, up to 3 times a day. Light stretches may also help alleviate the pain. Keep reading to learn when you should see a doctor for neck pain, such as if the pain gets progressively worse or is accompanied by muscle weakness.

Did this summary help you? Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 113,156 times.

How to get relief from whiplash?

  • Acupuncture. Acupuncture involves inserting ultrafine needles through specific areas on your skin.
  • Chiropractic care. A chiropractor performs joint manipulation techniques.
  • Massage. Neck massage may provide short-term relief of neck pain from whiplash injury.
  • Mind-body therapies.

Which muscles are affected most by Whiplash?

  • Pain that is presenting itself in the neck and shoulders,
  • Stiffness and tenderness that are presenting themselves in the neck and shoulders,
  • Use special techniques such as sports massage to help to relax the muscles in your back and neck,
  • Dizziness and feelings of nausea,