Whiplash injury causes pain and disability. Fortunately, a recent analysis of 4,103 articles revealed that exercise provided short-term pain relief and intermediate-term disability reduction for whiplash-affected necks. The following seven exercises will maximize your pain relief and help your neck begin to recover flexibility, stability, and strength.

Exercises Done in Bed

Whether you’ve just emerged from the wreckage or are feeling a bit under the weather sometime after your accident, there’s no place like in bed. Another benefit of bed exercise is that you don’t need to worry about losing your balance since dizziness is a common symptom of whiplash. The following three exercises were designed to be completed in bed.

Saying Yes

The exercise looks like motioning your head to say “yes.” It strengthens your neck and makes it more flexible. To perform this exercise, you need to place a pillow where your head will go and then lie down with your knees bent and feet flat on the bed.

  • Begin with your head on the pillow, feet flat on the bed, and knees bent.
  • Nod your head forward like you’re nodding “yes,” bringing your chin toward your chest.
  • Stop nodding before you lift your shoulders off of the bed.
  • Hold this position for five seconds.
  • Lower your head back onto your pillow.

Repeat this exercise no more than 10 times each session. Focus on slow, controlled movement to build your neck’s flexibility and strength.

Saying No

This exercise resembles moving your head to say “no.” The purpose of this movement is to reduce muscular stiffness in the back and sides of the neck. The starting position is the same as the position used for the chin tuck.

  • Turn your head to one side.
  • Hold this position for five seconds.
  • Repeat the exercises on the other side.
  • Perform 10 repetitions of the above process.

As you perform this exercise, actively work to increase your range of motion progressively. The Maximum safe range of motion is to align your chin with your shoulder as you keep your shoulders on the bed.

Shoulder Blade Roll

The shoulder blade roll involves lying on your side and rolling your shoulder toward the center of your back. The purpose of this exercise is to release the muscles that sit atop the shoulders and relieve pain. You’ll need two pillows for this exercise and will need to lie on your side.

  • Place your head on two pillows and begin on your left side with your right arm resting on both pillows
  • Roll your right shoulder back and toward the center of your back.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise five times on this side.
  • Perform this exercise lying on the other side.

Exercises Performed While Seated

Seated exercises are convenient since you can perform them at the office, in the car, or at home. They’re also a helpful bridge between exercising in bed and getting up for a walk or other gentle activity. The following three exercises will help boost your whiplash recovery wherever you can sit down.

Posture Correction

This exercise is designed to restore optimal posture. As a result, it can reduce muscular pain in the neck and shoulder muscles.

  • Sit tall to align your lower back and pelvis.
  • Pull your shoulder blades down and back.
  • Repeat this exercise every 30 minutes during the day.

Draw Back The Neck

This exercise looks like a turtle bringing its head back into its shell. This movement is designed to counteract the infamous “text neck” that stems from an excessively stooped neck during long hours of viewing the smartphone.

  • Sit in the posture correction position described above.
  • Slide your chin straight backward while looking ahead. A good way to ensure your sliding your chin straight backward is to focus on keeping your nose pointed straight in front of you.
  • Repeat this movement as many as 10 times per hour.

Sideways Stretching

Sideways stretching is a familiar exercise to most of us. It involves stretching the neck to each side and is designed to reduce muscular tension on the sides of the neck.

  • Assume the posture correction position.
  • Gently lower one ear toward the shoulder below it. For an additional stretch, place your hand on the side of your head to push your ear down a bit more.
  • Hold this stretch for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise five times.
  • Repeat this sequence on the other side.

Walking and Other General Conditioning Exercises

While exercises that focus on the upper body are important for whiplash, there is no reason to neglect physical conditioning. In fact, while you recover from a car accident, maintaining and improving your overall health becomes even more important.

Walking is one of our top picks for exercise. It is gentle, completely customizable, and can be a welcome change after spending time indoors following an auto accident. Research also shows that walking has numerous mental health benefits, which are essential when you’ve been through a difficult situation.

Whether you want to incorporate walking or another similar conditioning activity, such as tai chi or yoga, into your routine, it’s essential to start slowly. Begin with a short session, and be prepared to stop if you need to rest. Gradually increase your activity to build strength and stamina.

Get Expert Exercise Guidance For Whiplash

While these are some of our favorite exercises, nothing beats an individualized wellness program. Our staff is waiting to help you recover from whiplash and go on to live a healthier life. Call us at (303) 455-2225 or contact us through our online portal for an appointment or answers to your questions.