Anyone who has ever experienced whiplash knows that it can be more of the most surprising kinds of physical discomfort. By this we mean that you could find yourself in a car accident and feeling fine, only to discover a few days later that you’re in extreme pain or your neck is stiff accompanied by dizziness and fatigue. When you go to the doctor to find out why, he may tell you that it’s whiplash and your body will need some time (along with some ice packs and over-the-counter medication) in order to heal itself.
Although there is no real standard time for how long it takes for whiplash to go away, one thing that you can be certain of is that your body will definitely let you know. One day (usually about 72 hours later), your neck will feel much better and you’ll be ready to get back into your daily routine, including working out.
Just remember that as you’re on the mend, you still need to use precautions. We’ve enclosed five tips on how you can exercise in a safe and productive manor as you are going through whiplash recovery:
Start by stretching your neck
Being that whiplash is damage that is done to your neck, in easing back into your workout routine, start with doing some neck stretches. Think along the lines of the stretches that you have seen before a full aerobics workout. Gently roll the head in circles and move it from side-to-side, holding it for a count of 10. Repeat 3-4 times.
Another great exercise for whiplash recovery consists of sitting in an erect position and slowly rolling your chin down to your chest. Hold it in place for a count of 5 and then roll your head backwards until you are looking straight up at the ceiling for another count of 5. Repeat 3-4 times.
Sometimes we forget that our neck is connected to our spine and our spine is connected to our legs. So, when you want to heal a body part that has to do with your spine, it’s best to strengthen it as well. By stretching your legs, you accomplish this feat. You can do this by doing smooth and slow lunges or squats. Just make sure to look straight ahead as you do it so that you can keep your neck firmly in place.
Rock it out
One particular kind of exercise that many physical therapists recommend involves lying on your back and gently rocking your head from one side and then to the other side. In order to loosen up your neck a bit further, it’s recommended that you repeat this anywhere from 30 to 100 times.
Don’t overdo it
If you were in some kind of accident where there is a whiplash claims service involved, you definitely want to make sure that you don’t do anything that will do more damage than what initially took place. So, until you are confident that you are full healed, it really is best to refrain from contact sports, heavy cardio or strength training. It may be hard to wait for nature to run its course, but when your doctor gives you the “OK”, that’s when you’ll know that it’s smart to resume your regular routine…safely.