A large percentage of our patients who complain of on-going neck pain have a history of whiplash. Since from a medical standpoint, any pain that lasts longer than 3 months is considered chronic, most of these patients suffer from what can be described as chronic whiplash pain. At my San Diego Chiropractic clinic, chronic whiplash pain is always treated with a combination of in office therapy and at home therapies that you, the patient, completes on their own. Many of the at home therapies that we give to our patients will be used by them on and off for years into the future because chronic pain tends to recur with or without provocation.
Three Effective at Home Therapies for Easing Chronic Whiplash Pain
Of all the at home instructions that benefit my chronic whiplash pain patients, using ice packs on their area(s) of pain is among the most effective. Since pain is a byproduct of inflammation, ice packs are usually effective because they help reduce local inflammation and the associated pain. In most cases, patients should apply the ice in 30 minute long sessions and always through a t-shirt or other thin clothing to help prevent frostbite. During acute episodes of pain, ice should be applied 2 to 3 times daily allowing at least 30 minutes between sessions.
Ice packs will only take your management of chronic whiplash pain so far by itself, however. Chronic whiplash pain often has roots in tight, imbalanced muscle groups that require both stretching and strengthening. There are plenty of studies that support the notion that strong, flexible muscles are extremely important in helping insure that joint motion is pain free. The region of your spine that was injured in your car accident will determine which stretches and exercises will benefit your chronic whiplash pain the most. Even if you don’t have specific instructions from a chiropractor or MD that outlines beneficial exercises, you will be safe in doing light stretches for the front of your body and light resistance exercises for the back and neck. Make sure that any stretches and exercises that you perform are pain free.