People who are involved in car accidents or other types of accidents that force the neck and head to whip violently forward may experience whiplash, which is a non-medical term used to describe a variety of different pains in the neck, head, and shoulders. Whiplash may be a result of torn or strained muscles, torn or sprained ligaments, or a lengthening or compression of the spine. To alleviate the pain associated with whiplash, medications may be prescribed, but whiplash exercises will also be necessary. Most whiplash exercises focus on improving one's range of motion, though in some cases, strengthening of the muscles may be necessary as well.
Many people who experience whiplash choose to visit a chiropractor or massage therapist in lieu of performing whiplash exercises, which may or may not completely cure the condition. Immobilizing the neck for several hours after the accident can help relax the muscles and ligaments in the neck, but the neck should not remained immobilized for more than a day or two. Whiplash exercises that focus on improving range of motion should be done shortly after the accident, assuming other injuries or conditions do not prevent the injured person from performing physical activities. Range of motion exercises include both passive and active stretches; passive stretches occur when the head and neck are moved by the hand and not under their own power; active exercises occur when the head and neck are moved under their own power.
Whiplash exercises should start with passive stretching. Using one's hand, he or she should press against the chin and push the head to the left until slight pain is felt, then release. Then repeat the motion to the right side. The head can then be tilted backward in the same fashion. Once those three directions have been stretched, place the hand on the top of the head and push downward. If pain is felt in any direction, stop the stretch immediately and allow the neck and head to relax.
Chiropractic care or massage therapy can also be used to recover from a whiplash injury. Manipulation of the neck and spine can help stretch out the spine if it has been compressed, and it can help stretch muscles that may have been tensed or strained as a result of the shocking movement.