Whether you are injured or not, sleep is important for the body to function properly. The body’s overall health and stability are improved by getting enough sleep, including mental health in addition to physical. The time the body spends recuperating is important for healing, but certain conditions can impact our ability to rest, including injuries like whiplash. After a car accident, your whiplash chiropractor may be able to help you sleep better despite your discomfort. Adequate sleep can help the body to heal and will be an important component of your recovery process.
Struggling to Sleep After an Accident
Any injury to the neck and shoulders can make it difficult to sleep comfortably, and whiplash is no exception. The symptoms of whiplash can impact an accident victim for days, weeks, or even months at a time, though they may improve with the help of a skilled whiplash chiropractor. An important component of the recovery process is proper stretching of the neck and shoulders, and while rest is important, it is good to continue careful movement as you heal.
Depending on how much damage is done to the nerves and tissues, the rate and speed of whiplash recovery can vary. It is important in that time to not worsen the car accident injury by sleeping in an odd position and causing damage.
Tips to Sleep Well with Whiplash
In addition to causing damage, it can also be uncomfortable to sleep when you are suffering from whiplash. Some people may be tempted to stay awake to tend to the pain or sleep in a chair to avoid the pressure of lying in bed, but those may not be the best option for everyone. It is not always possible to achieve painless sleep during whiplash, there are ways you can ease the discomfort and help you sleep well.
Hot or Cold Compresses
Before bed, applying an ice pack or hot compress to the affected area for no more than 20 minutes can ease tension and pain, allowing you to relax and become more comfortable as you fall asleep. Ice can also provide a temporary numbing effect for some pain.
To prevent stiffening in the neck throughout the night, using a foam roller before bed can release tension, enabling you to sleep more comfortably and with less neck pain. Foam rollers can be found easily online and used to ease any pain you are experiencing after your accident.
There are specific neck pillows made for those who require neck support while they sleep. This support can keep the neck stable, preventing more pain and a misaligned neck throughout the night. Alignment of the neck is an important way to help relieve pain caused by whiplash, making it important to keep the neck in line with the spine. Combined with seeing a whiplash chiropractor, a neck pillow can improve alignment and prevent further issues from occurring due to instability in the neck.
Recommended Sleeping Positions
The position you fall asleep in can make pain worse, leading to the morning being even more uncomfortable. There are certain sleeping positions that can help the back and neck to be supported throughout the night and feel less tense in the morning.
Sleeping on your back helps to release extra tension from building up in the neck and other parts of the body like the bag. Proper support and alignment are still important when lying on your back, it can help alleviate pain in the neck. Your pillows can be adjusted to accommodate better alignment. This position also prevents arching of the back, which places strain on the spine and causes back muscles to work harder.
To keep your spine in a neutral position, sleeping on your side can also be beneficial and improve alignment. Placing a pillow between the legs and knees is a great way to stay aligned in this position as well. If you notice stiffness, you can continue stretching and slightly adjusting to get more comfortable.
It is not recommended that you sleep on your stomach during recovery, as the position causes the back to arch and places strain on the neck.
Easing Whiplash Pain
While your whiplash chiropractor can’t be there during your sleep, they will help you create a treatment plan that complements these habits. At AICA Orthopedics, our chiropractors and orthopedists work specifically with accident victims and are able to tailor recovery plans to your exact needs. A good sleeping routine is supported by these personalized plans. If you have recently suffered from whiplash and are struggling to sleep comfortably, or experiencing other symptoms, call AICA Orthopedics today.