Whiplash Symptoms: How to Ease Them at Home

man with headache

If you have recently been in a car accident or some other sort of accident which whipped you cervical spine like a whip, you are probably suffering from whiplash. Though you are likely under a doctor’s care for treatment, there are a lot of common whiplash symptoms which can and must be treated at home.

We will provide 15 home treatments for whiplash in this article, but want to remind you that these are not all-inclusive cures and you need to continue following the course of treatment and advice of a health care professional.

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash occurs when someone’s head moves backward and then forward suddenly with great force. This injury is most common following a car collision. It can also be the result of a sports injury, physical abuse, or amusement park rides.

Whiplash happens when the soft tissues (the ligaments and muscles) of your neck extend beyond their usual range of motion. The symptoms of whiplash may not appear for a while, so it is important to pay attention to any physical changes for a good few days after any accidents.

Whiplash is considered to be a relatively mild condition, however, it can cause some long-term pain and discomfort.

What Does Whiplash Feel Like?

Symptoms of whiplash usually occur within 24 hours after the incident or accident that caused it. Occasionally, symptoms will take a few days to appear and they can last for several weeks.

Some common symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Dizziness
  • Constant weariness
  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches, usually at the base of the skull

A few less common symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Chronic neck pain, shoulder pain, or head pain
  • Inability to sleep well
  • Problems with concentration and memory

You should check in with your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Moving your head is painful
  • You have numbness or weakness in your arms
  • Your symptoms spread to your arms or shoulders

15 Natural and Healthy Ways to Get Rid of Whiplash Symptoms

1. Sleeping and Pillows

One of the first directives for treating whiplash symptoms is to get plenty of rest. Getting rest and sleeping well is a critical factor in the healing process of any illness or injury. Being able to relax and get comfortable by using the right type of pillows and proper sleeping posture is essential.

What to do:

  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach or back as these postures can cause additional damage and slow recovery.
  • Sleep on either side to support your body weight apart from your neck.
  • Use a firm, supportive pillow or pillows which will assist in proper alignment of your neck. Cervical pillows and memory foam pillows are best for achieving this.

2. Posture

Maintaining good, upright posture is also important for treating whiplash symptoms. Not only will better posture reduce pain and stiffness, but will also help soft tissues to heal more rapidly.

What to do:

  • Work at keeping your back straight and shoulder blades pressed backward while walking, standing or sitting.
  • A thoracic support cushion on your chair or car seat can help with sitting posture.
  • Adjust computer or other necessary items on your desk to be easily reached and used with any unnecessary neck strain.

3. Stretching

Stretching and range of motion exercises will also help reduce whiplash symptoms, promote healing and get you back to normal activities sooner. These exercises reduce stiffness and promote circulation and healing to the injured area.

What to do:

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4. Thermotherapy

Thermotherapy utilizes both heat and cold to produce different reactions and aid in the relief of whiplash symptoms as well as promoting healing. Cold therapy reduces inflammation and warm therapy increases circulation and healing. Make sure to follow these guidelines along with those of your health care professional.

What to do:

  • Apply ice packs to the injured area for the first 48 to 72 hours.
  • Wrap a package of frozen peas or ice in a towel (putting ice on bare skin can cause frost bite) and place it on the affected areas.
  • Leave in place at each location for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat this every 3 hours.
  • After using ice for 2 to 3 days, you can start using moist heat.
  • Place a warm, wet towel or hot water bottle wrapped in a towel on the affected areas.
  • Leave it in place for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat every 3 hours.

5. Massage

Another great benefit for whiplash symptoms is massage. Massage helps to loosen stiff muscles and get rid of muscle spasms while also stimulating circulation and healing.

What to do:

  • You, a family member or friend can massage the affected areas using olive or coconut oil alone or mixed with one of the essential oils listed below.
  • Apply gentle pressure and work in a circular motion for 5 to 10 minutes in each affected area.
  • Repeat this a couple of times a day.

6. Lemongrass Essential Oil

Whiplash symptoms can also be helped through the use of essential oils. One of the best for addressing ligament pain is lemongrass. It is anti-inflammatory and tends to encourage the production of collagen to promote healing.

What to do:

  • Add 3 to 4 drops of lemongrass oil to 1 Tbsp of coconut or olive oil.
  • Use this as a massage oil according to the directions above.
  • 2 drops of lemongrass oil can also be added to 2 drops of marjoram oil in the same 1 Tbsp of coconut or olive oil in order to take advantage of their combined effect.

7. Marjoram Essential Oil

Where lemongrass had an infinity for healing ligament damage, marjoram oil helps to reduce muscle pain, which is common among whiplash symptoms. Marjoram has a slight analgesic effect and is an antispasmodic, which helps break up muscle spasms.

What to do:

  • Add 3 to 4 drops of marjoram oil to 1 Tbsp of coconut or olive oil.
  • Use this as a massage oil according to the directions above.
  • 2 drops of lemongrass oil can also be added to 2 drops of marjoram oil in the same 1 Tbsp of coconut or olive oil in order to take advantage of their combined effect.

8. Turmeric

One of the major contributors to pain among whiplash symptoms is inflammation. One of the best treatments for inflammation and pain is turmeric. Turmeric contains curcuma, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound, and rivals the best prescription or OTC pain relievers in effectiveness.

What to do:

  • Warm 1 cup of milk just slightly (no need to boil it).
  • Mix in 1 tsp of powdered turmeric, a pinch of black pepper and 1 Tbsp of honey.
  • Drink the mixture, stirring between each drink to make sure that you get all of the turmeric.
  • Repeat this every 3 to 4 hours for the first several days.
Natural Spa Treatment, whiplash symptoms
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9. Chamomile

Relaxation is a major factor in helping heal whiplash symptoms. Chamomile is not only great at helping to reduce stress, but can also help you sleep better at night.

What to do:

  • Boil 8 to 10 oz. of water and remove from heat.
  • Add 1 Tbsp or 1 tea bag of chamomile flowers to a ceramic mug.
  • Pour hot water over the flowers, cover and allow them to steep for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Strain, add a little honey and drink.
  • Drink this any time for relaxation, especially 20 to 30 minutes before bedtime.

10. Alkalize

Alkalizing your body is another way of fighting whiplash symptoms. Blood that is slightly alkaline helps to reduce inflammation. Consequently, consuming alkaline foods can help with inflammation and pain from whiplash and encourage healing.

Drink a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water daily to fight inflammation. Also take lemon juice in water several times a day. Follow an alkaline diet.

What to do:

  • Add 1 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water each morning.
  • Consume more alkaline foods on a daily basis.

11. Drink Lots of Water

Muscle pain from whiplash symptoms are multiplied through dehydration. Drinking lots of water and maintaining the proper levels of electrolytes in your body will help reduce pain and encourage healing as well.

What to do:

  • Drink a dozen 10 to 12 oz. glasses of water every day.
  • Add herbal tea, fresh juices and other liquids which have plenty of electrolytes as well.

12. Blackstrap Molasses

Whiplash symptoms can be helped by blackstrap molasses as well. Blackstrap molasses is rich in vitamin B6 and more than six minerals which support enzymes that are essential for healing muscle and tendon trauma.

What to do:

  • Mix 1 Tbsp of blackstrap molasses in a glass of warm water in the evening.
  • Repeat this daily until your symptoms are gone.

whiplash symptoms

13. Magnesium

One of the important minerals necessary for reducing whiplash symptoms is magnesium. Magnesium not only helps relax muscles, but it also promotes healing.

What to do:

  • Consume more dark, leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale.
  • Wild meats, nuts and seeds should also be added to your diet.
  • Blackstrap molasses has a lot of magnesium as well.
  • Soaking in Epsom salt, which is magnesium sulfate, can also help.

14. Potassium

Another mineral which is valuable in the process of muscle relaxation and reduction of whiplash symptoms is potassium. Potassium helps get rid of muscle cramps and muscle spasms and is one of the major components of maintaining electrolyte balance.

What to do:

  • Rich sources of potassium in foods include avocados, melons, tomatoes, bananas and coconut water.
  • Increase your consumption of these foods in your diet.

15. Calcium

The third mineral in the trifecta of muscle relaxation minerals is calcium. Increased calcium is another means of relieving whiplash symptoms and promoting recovery of damaged muscles and tendons.

What to do:

  • Increase amounts of dairy foods like unsweetened yogurt or kefir in your diet.
  • Eat more collard green, kale and spinach as well.

Final Thoughts

Your whiplash symptoms will slow you down and take you out of your regular routine for several days. But you can get back into the regular swing of things a lot faster if you follow some basic home care tips. Make use of several of our 15 tips if you or someone you know is suffering from whiplash and be certain to keep these ingredients and remedies on hand just in case you ever need them.

Be sure to add your questions, comments and remedies to the section below as well.

The images are from depositphotos.com.