Apr 28 2017

Four Home Remedies for Whiplash

Whiplash is commonly referred to as a neck strain, but what you don’t know though is that a whiplash is more than just a muscle strain. There may be accompanying neck injuries like bulging discs that can worsen the symptoms and prolong your recovery period.


How can you get whiplash injury?

Whiplash injuries are commonly caused by car accidents, contact sports injuries, or a blow to the head. It is the sudden and forceful flexion, extension, or rotational movements of the neck, causing pain and other neck injuries. The abrupt and jerky movement causes the neck muscles to elongate to an abnormal length and, in the process, also cause small tearing of the muscle fibers, tendons, and ligaments.

Whiplash injuries also cause disc herniation and bulging discs. If the intervertebral discs bulge out of their normal space and compress the nerve roots as well as the nerves, cervical radiculopathy could develop. This is a radiating type of pain that originates from the neck region and shoots down the arms to the fingertips. Weakness and numbness of the extremity may also accompany this injury.


What are the symptoms of whiplash?

The major symptom of whiplash is pain upon neck movement and tenderness upon palpation. There may also be limitation of range of motion caused by pain, neck stiffness, and muscle spasms.


How is whiplash treated?

Whiplash is commonly treated with rest, pain medications, and muscle relaxants. Your doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to control inflammation and reduce swelling. However, these medications may have some side effects that you want to avoid like allergic reactions, headaches, hypertension, and dizziness.


What are safe treatment methods you can do at home for your whiplash?

If you want to avoid the side effects of medications, you can try some of these home remedies for whiplash.

Cold and Hot Compress: These work to reduce inflammation and promote faster tissue healing. For the first 48 hours, you should do the cold compress though since it can help control pain and, at the same time, reduce swelling. If you don’t have a cold compress at home, you can wrap ice cubes in a towel and press it to the painful area for about 20 minutes. Do the cold compress every three hours. After 48 hours, switch to hot compress. The hot compress promotes vasodilation and increased blood flow. This will flush away the toxins produced by the damaged cells and transport oxygenated, nutrient-filled blood for faster tissue healing.

Neck Massage: Massaging the neck muscles can release muscle tension, relax the tight muscles, and promote vasodilation. It can also relieve pain and help improve neck movement. For self-neck massage, get three scarves and twist them into a braid. You can also twist a towel. Place the braided scarves behind your neck and gently but firmly roll it up and down your neck. Do this for about ten minutes or as long as you can tolerate. Another way to do self-neck massage is to sit with your back against a wall or a straight-back chair. Place a tennis ball or a rolled hand towel behind your neck and gently roll your neck against it. You can also place it between your left shoulder blade and the wall and gently but firmly press against it. Move your upper back against the ball, rolling it over the painful areas. Switch to the other side after about ten minutes or as tolerated. Of note, make sure that the ball doesn’t press against your spine. Self-neck massage is best done after a warm bath, and once you’re done with the massage, do gentle neck muscle stretching and range of motion exercises.

Gentle Neck Stretching and Range of Motion Exercises: One of the mistakes many people do when they have whiplash injury is to protect the neck from pain caused by any neck movement. While it’s good that you give your neck muscles some time to rest and heal, you should know that prolonged neck immobility can worsen neck stiffness and cause muscle weakness. For this reason, it’s important that you do gentle neck stretching exercises to increase range of motion and prevent neck muscle stiffness:

  • Neck Flexion:

    Sitting straight on a chair, bring your shoulder blades closer together to stretch upper chest muscles and then gently tuck your chin till the pain allows. Hold the position for about five seconds, release, go back to the original position, and repeat for about 10 times.

  • Neck Extension:

    With your back straight and shoulders squared, gently extend your neck till pain allows. Hold this for about five seconds, relax, and then back to starting position. Repeat 10 times.

  • Neck Side Bending:

    With your back straight and shoulder blades squeezed together, slowly and gently bend your neck to the right till you can feel a stretch in your left neck muscles. Maintain the stretch for about five seconds before slowly relaxing and bringing your head back to center. Do this 10 times. Repeat same process for neck side bending to the left.

  • Neck Rotation:

    Sitting up straight with your shoulder blades squeezed close together, slowly and gently rotate your head to the right till you can feel the stretch on your left neck muscles. Hold the position for five seconds, release, and bring your head back to the center position. Do this exercise 10 times. Repeat the process for neck rotation to the left.

Adopt a Proper Sleeping Habit: Nothing speeds up the healing process faster than a good night’s rest, so you need adopt a proper sleeping habit. This means sleeping early and avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime. You can also drink a glass of warm milk with honey before going to bed, or have a cup of chamomile tea since chamomile is known to reduce pain and induce sleep. Because your neck muscles are still tender, you should use a soft pillow that can properly support your neck’s natural curvature.


When do you need to see a specialist for your whiplash?

Whiplash injury typically resolves on its own after a few days. However, you need to see a neck and back specialist if:

  • The pain worsens and doesn’t improve.
  • The pain becomes bothersome that it’s starting to keep you up at night and affect your quality of life.
  • You develop more symptoms like radiating pain, muscle numbness, muscle weakness, and tingling and prickling sensations in your arms.

All these could mean additional neck injuries. It may also be a symptom of a more serious neck problem like disc herniation, bulging discs, neck fractures, nerve impingement, etc. For more information, visit or

Be the first to comment! Read 3825 times
Douglas Won, M.D.

Douglas Won, M.D. Blog image

The Spine Dr. Blog is not only an opportunity to read interesting articles that might also help with pain or a condition, its also an opportunity to interact with us and maybe suggest something you’d like to read about.


You can also connect with Dr. Won through his social media networks:

Spine Dr Won Facebook
Spine Dr Won Twitter
Douglas Won, M.D. Linkedin

Spine Dr won YouTube

Leave a comment

More in this category:

Search This Blog

About Us

The first in Texas to perform micro-endoscopic laser spine surgery with an incision as small as 3 mm, Dr. Won advises multiple international spine technology companies and has helped design many groundbreaking tools for the minimally invasive spine surgery industry.

Dr. Won also innovated the Pain Mapping procedures, this diagnostic study helps to pin point the pain generator so that we can provide the least invasive spine procedures, LuMINI.

Recent Tweets

Get in Touch

4090 Mapleshade Lane, Suite 100, Plano, TX 75093

4301 N. MacArthur Blvd. Suite #101 Irving, TX 75038

+1 (972) 255-5588

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

© 2018 The Spine Doctor. All Rights Reserved.