How to Sleep with Whiplash Pain

Aug 5, 2021

how-to-sleep-with-whiplash-painA whiplash injury can affect your daily life as well as your sleep schedule. As you recover from a neck injury like whiplash, you may find certain sleeping positions can make your pain and discomfort worse and keep you up at night. When you see your car accident doctor about treatment for whiplash, they may also talk to you about recommendations for how to sleep with whiplash pain. Getting a good night’s sleep and making time to rest are an important part of the healing process from any kind of injury. If you were diagnosed with whiplash, read on to learn more about how car accident injuries can disturb your sleep and what you can do about it.

Sleep Disturbance after a Car Accident

A physical injury with aches and pains can certainly affect your ability to sleep well at night. After a stressful and even traumatic event like a car accident, you may also experience some difficulty sleeping due to worry and anxiety as well. It is not uncommon for people to experience sleep disturbance after a car accident due to a number of physical and emotional reasons. However, getting enough sleep is vital to the healing process both mentally and physically. When you are asleep, your body has a chance to jumpstart the healing process and help your body to function healthier. Car accident injuries like whiplash can end up disturbing your sleep and keeping you from getting that valuable rest you need to heal and recover.

When you have a whiplash injury, it can cause pain and discomfort in your neck, upper back, and shoulders. This can make certain sleep positions uncomfortable while you recover. Whiplash symptoms don’t go away overnight, so it may take time for you to learn how to manage your pain symptoms and still get a good night’s sleep. It is important to pay attention to how your sleep positions may make pain worse and try to avoid odd or uncomfortable sleep positions that may aggravate your injury.

Tips for Better Sleep with Whiplash Pain

Here are four tips for how to get better sleep while you are dealing with whiplash pain after a car accident:

Use Cold and Hot Compresses

Applying ice and heat to an injured area can help in a number of ways. Cold compresses help to soothe aches and pains with a numbing effect while also reducing any inflammation in the area. When you apply a hot compress, it helps the muscles to relax and you may be able to find a more comfortable position. Use cold and hot compresses on your neck, upper back, and shoulders before you go to sleep to help soothe any lingering pain and relax your muscles.

Stretch with Foam Rollers

Stretching your neck and upper back before you go to sleep can help prevent stiffness from developing throughout the night. Much of the pain associated with a whiplash injury is associated with how your muscles become sore and stiff after the initial injury. Gentle, therapeutic stretches with foam rollers can help you to prepare for a good night’s sleep by easing tension in your aching muscles.

Support with Neck Pillows

There are certain types of pillows specifically designed to address certain sleep positions. If you find that sleeping on your side or stomach may make your pain worse, then consider investing in a neck pillow that provides more support. Neck pillows with built-in support have a concave structure to them that helps keep the neck stable whether you are sleeping on your back or side. A neck pillow also provides more support by keeping the spine in your neck and back in a more neutral alignment.

Change Sleeping Positions

Certain sleeping positions can actually make your whiplash pain worse, so you may want to consider trying something different to see if it helps. Many doctors recommend sleeping on your back with a neck pillow. This neutral position helps your spine to stay in a more natural alignment. You may also sleep on your side if you can keep your spine in a neutral position. Use a pillow between your legs and knees to help keep your lower back and hips in alignment as well.

If you are having difficulty sleeping after a car accident, then talk to your doctor about this. Your doctor may want to incorporate stretches and exercises or other techniques into your treatment for whiplash so you can experience lasting pain relief and a full recovery.


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