Sleeping With A Whiplash Injury: 3 Tips To Help You Rest Comfortably At Night
Whiplash injuries occur when your neck extends too far forward, causing small tears in the ligaments and muscles supporting it. Whiplash is a very common car accident injury, even during low-speed collisions. It typically causes pain and stiffness in the neck, particularly when you turn your head.
One of the worst times to suffer from whiplash, however, is when you're trying to sleep at night. If your neck is not adequately supported, you'll experience moderate pain throughout the night, and this can interfere with your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. To help you get a comfortable night's rest, read on for three tips that help prevent whiplash from negatively affecting your sleep.
1. Avoid Sleeping on Your Stomach—Switch to Your Back or Your Side
If you're a stomach sleeper, it's best to switch to sleeping on your back or on your side until your whiplash injury heals. When you sleep on your stomach, you're required to turn your head so that your nose isn't buried in the pillow. Sleeping all night long with your head turned places considerable stress on your cervical spine along with the attached muscles and ligaments—this not only causes pain, but the added strain may interfere with the wound healing process. Sleep on your back or your side to minimize pain.
2. Sleep on a Cervical Support Pillow to Reduce Neck Strain
One of the best ways you can reduce pain from whiplash injury is to sleep with a cervical support pillow. A cervical pillow replaces the pillow that you normally use for sleep, and it provides a firm, raised area that you place directly underneath of your neck. The raised area provides extra cushioning and support for your cervical spine, preventing it from dipping too low while you sleep. This reduces the stress placed on your ligaments and gives them a chance to heal after your whiplash injury.
3. Take a Warm Bath or Shower Before Bed to Relax Your Ligaments and Muscles
When you have a whiplash injury, tight muscles and ligaments will contribute to pain and stiffness. Taking a warm bath or shower before great is a great way to relax your mind, your muscles and your ligaments. Warm water helps to increase blood flow, which reduces tension in your muscles and ligaments—it can also help to increase the rate at which you heal from your whiplash injury.
Finally, adhering to your overall whiplash treatment plan will reduce the amount of pain you experience during the night. These include gentle movements that slowly strengthen the muscles in your neck, enabling them to better support your cervical spine. If you're not yet receiving whiplash treatment, you may want to schedule an appointment with a local chiropractor—they see numerous whiplash cases and are experienced in helping patients reduce the pain they feel from their whiplash injuries, both during the day and while sleeping at night.