Most people experience some degree of whiplash after a car accident. Usually, this presents as mild to moderate neck stiffness that lasts a few days, or maybe a week. However, whiplash can linger longer than this. If your neck pain is severe, or if it is still around a week after your crash, then you should consider seeing a physical therapist for treatment. There are a few different therapies they may implement and prescribe.
Deep Tissue Massage
Some physical therapists perform massage themselves. Others may refer you to a massage therapist if they believe you can benefit from this therapy. Deep tissue massage is a lot more than the classic Swedish massage you might receive at a typical massage office. It involves deep pressure being applied to the tendons and ligaments in your neck, which should help them release and relax so they can heal. Deep tissue massage can be a bit painful, but you should feel a lot of relief afterward.
When your neck is sore after an accident, you tend to adjust your posture to compensate. But your natural tendency to hang your head or rest your neck on a pillow could actually be making matters worse by straining other ligaments and tendons. Your physical therapist can work with you to improve your posture and help you sit and stand in ways that truly take tension off your neck. They will probably give you a neck brace to wear during certain activities and advice for slowly weaning yourself off of using it as your symptoms dissipate.
Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy involves shining a cool red light on the sore part of your neck for a few minutes at a time. The vibrations of the light penetrate your skin and help soothe your sore tissues. They increase circulation to the area to help reduce inflammation, which should help your neck feel less stiff and painful.
Cold and Heat Therapy
You may already be icing your neck or using heating pads to temporarily alleviate your discomfort. A physical therapist can help you better utilize heat and cold therapy in a way that's most effective. For example, they can tell you how long to apply the hot or cold pack, and help you settle on the best times of day to do so.
Whiplash can be notoriously stubborn and hard to treat. If you see a physical therapist, they can help.
For more information about physical therapy, reach out to a local provider.