Updated: Oct 20, 2020
It's important for us to start with a huge DISCLAIMER here. Please see a physician before starting any kind of exercise regimen. What I am listing below is a very general outline of what usually works for patients after a thorough evaluation to confirm the cause of their symptoms. It may not work for everyone or every case and you should seek a formal evaluation and assessment of your concerns. In general, any time you feel numbness and/or tingling in your face, head or jaw, down your arms, or have an upset stomach, abnormal bowel/bladder movements, please discontinue the exercise and seek professional advice.
We've written about whiplash before but now we are going to reveal some of our trade secrets for getting our patients out of pain from their whiplash. We are going to show you some of our favorite exercises for treating whiplash and be as transparent as possible on ways to ease that pain!
So where does whiplash come from?
Often, whiplash happens when you have some type of traumatic event such as a car accident, concussion, blow to the head or even a roller coaster taking off or stopping too quickly.
What are the common symptoms of whiplash?
What would we do about it in office?
SUPPORT SUPPORT SUPPORT the neck with intrinsic muscles to free up nerves! After whiplash, the neck is extremely unstable. By supporting the neck, you allow the nerves to calm down and reduce inflammation. We also do craniosacral work that is very similar to what we do for concussions.
If you are unable to see a physical therapist for formal treatment, these exercises may help ease some of the symptoms in the meantime. Remember, it is always best to consult a physician before introducing an exercise program to your routine. These exercises may not work for everyone. Be sure to listen to your body and check with a professional!
Below are three of my favorite whiplash related exercises!
The diaphragm is supposed to be a trampoline or shock absorber for an already shocked neck. So wavy gravy helps strengthen that diaphragm to stabilize your neck. It is also a great breathing exercise that can help with the brain fog you might be experiencing post whiplash and help improve circulatory health.
Even if you struggle with this exercise or don't do it exactly as it's done in the video, you shouldn't have any problems. Who doesn't need to relax and take a few good deep breaths every now and again?
All of these exercises are going to help stabilize your neck in some way, shape or form and this exercise is no different. Cervical impact with axial elongation combines two neck stabilization exercises to create one super exercise. Make sure you perform this exercise with your tongue pressed to the roof of your mouth. This is important because you want to engage those deep "core" muscles in your neck. Pressing your tongue to the roof of your mouth is an easy way to achieve this muscle activation. It's an easy developmental trigger for babies and infants to stabilize their neck while they feed!
Strengthening should always follow stabilization. This exercise combines stabilization and strengthening and helps regain movement. We chose this exercise specifically because after stability, reintegrating is the name of the game. This exercise only requires a yoga belt or a hand towel!
These three different positions are key in rehab because they biomechanically perform different functions. The upper section tends to help with rotation like when you shake your head no.
The middle section tends to allow for flexion and extension like when you are nodding yes. This section has a tendency of getting abused because of its flexibility.
The lower cervical vertebrae which transition to your thoracic spine and ribs help prop your head up and assist with side bending.
If you think you have whiplash, we recommend getting it checked out by your local physical therapist so that they can formally evaluate your symptoms and prescribe exercises that are right for you!
Remember, we can and we will get better together!
Dr. Justin C. Lin