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How to sleep with whiplash: 5 helpful tips

2 minutes, 20 seconds

Whiplash is a tough injury to recover from because you have to keep your neck as still as possible to avoid reinjuring it. This makes life more difficult ” it's harder to work, buy groceries, clean your house.

Sleeping is one of the toughest parts about whiplash recovery. Not only is it harder to fall asleep, but it's easier to move the wrong way and send a pain shooting up your spine.

Luckily, there are some steps you can take to rest easier while your neck heals. Let's talk about how to sleep with whiplash.

How to sleep with whiplash

Here are some ways to fall asleep easier and protect your neck while you sleep:

  1. Use a foam roller before bed ” Foam rollers help to relieve tension in the neck, reducing pain and making it easier to sleep. Look up some foam roller neck exercises and do them before bed.
  2. Apply ice or heat Ice reduces swelling and numbs your neck, which can help with pain relief. Heat increases blood flow to your injury site, which can promote healing.
  3. Get a neck pillow Some neck pillows are specifically designed to provide neck support for patients with injuries. It will keep your head stable while you're sleeping so your neck stays in alignment with your spine and has time to heal. Do yourself a favor and pick one up.
  4. Sleep on your back or side ” Don't sleep on your stomach while recovering from whiplash, as it creates an arch in your spine and places pressure on your neck. Sleeping on your back or side keeps your neck and spine aligned and supports your head.
  5. Seek physical therapy during your waking hours ” Physical therapy may be able to help you recover from whiplash faster. Your physical therapist will use manual therapy techniques to relieve pain and teach you how to move in a way that protects your neck. They may also have more tips on how to sleep with whiplash.

How long does it take to recover from whiplash?

According to the National Institutes of Health, most people recover from whiplash within three months. Residual headaches and neck pain can last for several months afterward.

Following a strict treatment regimen may help to speed up recovery time. Getting plenty of rest, applying heat or ice, and supporting your neck ” especially during sleep ” are all important aspects of a whiplash treatment plan.

Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for whiplash

At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we're proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that's close to you and that can help you address whiplash.

Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform.

Contact our team today so we can help you find the most effective physical therapy services for your injury or condition.

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