NECK INJURY: 3 Home Therapies To Try
Many people each year suffer a whiplash neck injury. The pain from this type of injury can range from mild to very severe and disabling. While professional evaluation of an injury by a qualified chiropractic physician is always recommended, there are three home therapies you can do to help ease your pain. They include: ice, heat and using a neck roll.
1. Ice Therapy
If it is within 72 hours of your injury, ice is the best therapy you can use at home. The initial injury can damage the joints and surrounding muscles and ligaments, causing alot of swelling and inflammation. Ice works to reduce this inflammation and helps in relieving the pain.
CAUTION: Do not use ice therapy on you neck if you have the following conditions:
- Impaired sensation
- Impaired circulation
- Hypersensitivity to cold, such as Raynaud’s phenomenon, cold urticaria, cryoglobulinemia, and paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria.
How To Use Ice
CAUTION: you do not want to place ice or gel packs directly on your skin!
If you are using ice cubes, place them in a plastic bag and wrap them in a towel.
If you are using a gel pack you should also wrap it in a towel.
Place the ice pack on the painful part of your neck.
Leave in place for no longer than 15 minutes.
Waite at least 60 minutes before re-applying the ice pack.
When using ice therapy, there are four stages of sensation you may progress thru.
Stage 1 – the cold sensation
Stage 2 – a burning or picking sensation
Stage 3 – a deep aching sensation
Stage 4 – numbness
Depending upon the severity of your injury and pain, it is recommended to use ice therapy 2-3 times in an 8-hour period.
2. HEAT THERAPY
72 hours after your injury, is a good time to begin using heat therapy. Properly applied, heat therapy can relax muscle spasms, increase blood flow to the damage tissue and joint and increase tissue stretchiness.
CAUTION: Do not use heat therapy on your neck if it a fresh or acute injury or if you have localized at the area of injury any of the following:
- impaired circulation or sensation
- damaged or at-risk skin
- infection or tuberculosis
- recently radiated tissue
- skin disease
How To Use Heat Therapy
CAUTION: you do not want to place heat or pads directly on your skin!
There are many different ways to apply heat to your injury. Some basic methods include: hot tub, electric heating pad, moist heat pack or a towel draped around your neck as you stand in the shower. They key is to make sure you do not burn yourself and choose what is easiest for you.
In general, heat should be applied for about 15 minutes at a time with about 60 minutes between applications.
3. Neck Roll
Another home therapy that is beneficial is using a neck roll to help maintain the normal neck alignment and relax the injured neck muscles.
How To Use A Neck Roll
- You can create your own neck roll by using a bath towel, rolling it up lengthwise.
- Lie on your back on the floor or your bed, without a pillow, placing the neck roll under your neck.
- Simply lie still and relax for about 15 minutes.
- Use the neck roll for 15 minutes in the morning when you wake up and 15 minutes just before you drift off to sleep at night.
While these home therapies can do wonders in helping to relieve your pain, they do fall short of complete healing of your whiplash neck injury. Specific treatment to improve the alignment and motion of the neck vertebra is essential if you want to help prevent long-term chronic issues.
If you are suffering from a whiplash neck injury, by all means, use the home therapy for the pain, but call our office at (314) 731-4383 to schedule an examination to determine the extent of your injury.