Recovering from a whiplash injury? Don’t let the pain and discomfort keep you still on the couch. It’s important that you take care of yourself, remain active, and proactively manage your recovery process to help improve your results.
While everyone’s experience is different, here are a few things to get you started.
How to take an active role in your whiplash recovery
Whiplash is an injury to the muscles, tendons and other soft tissues of the neck commonly caused by motor vehicle accidents involving rear-end or side impacts. Symptoms can take time to develop after the incident and can occasionally take a long time to heal.
You can take an active role in your recovery in these four ways:
1. See your doctor
It’s important that you see a doctor if you’ve been in a motor vehicle accident and you’re experiencing pain and stiffness in your neck, so your doctor can examine, diagnose, and treat your injury. In addition to receiving the right treatment to aid your recovery, your whiplash injury and associated expenses can be included in your injury claim.
2. Keep moving
General health guidance is to keep doing as many normal activities as possible. Obviously, anything vigorous or strenuous may need to be adapted or avoided initially, then gradually reintroduced. If you can continue working (even in a modified capacity), then try to do so, but talk openly with your employer and do it safely.
An example of modified activities could be lifting the handlebars on your bike to change your posture or increasing the number of trips from the car to the kitchen carrying grocery bags, so you aren’t overloaded.
3. Take care of your neck muscles
Maintain a correct posture to help care for your neck and prevent stiffness and pain developing. This includes even when you’re sitting for long periods at a desk watching a screen. Take more breaks during your workday; stand up and move around every hour, for example. And be mindful of your neck and back posture when using laptops and mobile devices. Most people hunch over with their head bent forcing your neck muscles to work harder.
Additionally, you could consult a physiotherapist for a series of gentle exercises and massages you can do yourself at home, or check out this Whiplash Injury Recovery self-help guide from the University of Queensland.
4. Manage your stress
Suffering any sort of injury, especially one that affects our way of life, can be stressful, and potentially lead to anxiety. It’s important that while you are consulting with professionals, staying active, and regularly exercising your muscles, you are also actively managing your stress levels (a great habit for the everyday!). Download a meditation app and/or take five-minute breaks on the hour for deep breath work to lengthen your breaths and reduce the stress and pain you may be feeling.
Whiplash injuries can vary in severity and duration for each affected person. Research presently shows that it is better to try to keep doing your normal daily activities as much as you can to aid your recovery.
If you’ve experienced a whiplash injury as a direct result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Talk to our expert personal injury lawyers for clarity and arrange your free case review.