Physical therapy for neck after car accident

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The neck is a commonly affected area after a car accident. As the most flexible part of the spine, the neck has a remarkable ability to bend and twist. In addition, the weight of the head acts like a pendulum, exerting significant pressure on the neck. Unfortunately, these factors create an ideal environment for head and neck injuries to occur during an accident.

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Neck Pain

What to do if you have neck pain after a car accident

If you experience pain in the neck, you should seek immediate medical attention, especially if you have severe pain, tingling, difficulty walking or sitting upright, a sensation of electric shock in your neck and back, or weakness in your arms or legs.

Here are some other tips that may help.

  • Rest your neck. You should rest your neck for 1-2 days after the injury, but avoid excessive bed rest or immobility.
  • Use a neck brace or collar. This can help support your neck and limit its movement while it heals. However, do not use a collar or brace longer than necessary.
  • Consider other treatments. You may also benefit from other treatments that can help reduce pain, such as muscle relaxants, ultrasound, physical therapy for neck pain after a car accident, massage, chiropractic care, etc.

These treatments may be offered by your doctor or by other healthcare professionals.

Physical therapy for neck pain after a car accident

Common causes of neck pain after a car crash

Whiplash. It occurs when the head is suddenly moved back and forth by a force, such as in a collision. It can damage the muscles, nerves, ligaments, and discs in the neck, causing pain, headaches, stiffness, dizziness, and other symptoms.

Herniated disc. This is a condition in which the soft inner material of a disc in the spine bulges out through a tear in the outer layer. It can compress or irritate nearby nerves, causing pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness in the neck, arm, shoulder, or hand.

Pinched nerve. This is a condition in which a nerve in the neck is compressed or inflamed by a bone spur, herniated disc, muscle spasm, or injury. It can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the neck, shoulder, arm, or hand.

Neck fracture. This is a break or crack in one or more of the bones in the neck (cervical vertebrae). It can result from a high-impact trauma, such as a car accident. It can cause severe pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty moving the neck.

Facet joint injury. This is an injury to the small joints that connect the vertebrae in the spine. It can occur when the neck is twisted or bent beyond its normal range of motion.

However, there may be other factors contributing to your pain. That is why it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible to properly diagnose and treat your neck injury.

Neck pain

Methods to relieve neck pain after a car crash

Some of the common treatments include:

Pain relievers

These are medications that can help reduce pain and inflammation in the neck. They may include over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or prescription medications, such as codeine or muscle relaxants.

Neck massage

This is gentle manipulation of the soft tissues of the neck to improve circulation and relax tight muscles. It may provide short-term relief from neck pain caused by whiplash.

Physical therapy

This is a form of manipulation designed to improve the strength, flexibility, and posture of the neck. Physical therapy for neck pain after a car accident may include active exercises, such as stretching and strengthening, or passive exercises, such as ultrasound or electrical stimulation. It can help prevent chronic pain and disability from neck injuries.

Chiropractic care

This is a form of spinal manipulation in which controlled force is applied to the joints of the spine to restore normal alignment and function. It can help with spinal cord and nerve problems that cause neck pain, such as a herniated disc or pinched nerve.


This is a last resort for people with severe neck injuries that have not responded to other treatments.
Physical therapy for neck pain after a car accident

Three physical therapy approaches to relieve neck pain after a car accident

1. Therapeutic stretching techniques

After a car accident, it is common for the neck muscles to become tight, causing difficulty in neck mobility and increased pain. To address this problem, therapeutic stretching is often recommended. Some of these stretches are easy to do at home or at work, such as the side tilt stretch.

2. Strengthening exercises

After a few days of rest and gentle stretching, people can move on to strengthening exercises. These exercises are designed to strengthen the neck muscles and provide better support for the neck and head. Some examples of these exercises are: head lifts, chin tucks, neck retractions, shoulder blade squeezes.

3. Soft tissue mobilization

This type of physical therapy for neck pain after a car accident is performed by trained physical therapists who use their hands to massage and manipulate the muscles. In the case of neck pain, the focus is usually on the neck, shoulders, and upper back. These manual movements are designed to reduce muscle tension, relieve pain, and stimulate the release of endorphins, which naturally help relieve pain.
Physical therapy for neck pain after a car accident

Specialized neck pain rehabilitation services at Colorado Health Clinic

A reputable clinic prioritizes comprehensive and non-invasive treatments rather than relying solely on medication or surgery. If you are experiencing neck pain after a recent car accident, Colorado Health Clinic is ready to help. We offer comprehensive evaluations to determine the underlying cause of your pain and can create a personalized treatment plan tailored to address the root cause of your neck pain.

Contact our dedicated team today for more information or to schedule your initial appointment.

Freedom from pain

Warning: don't rely on self-treatment

Relying solely on self-treatment for neck pain can lead to misdiagnosis, inadequate treatment, increased risk of complications, limited understanding of underlying conditions, and potential psychological effects. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan of physical therapy for neck pain after a car accident.

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