How to sleep with Whiplash

For the body to function properly, one needs to have a better sleep. The body’s overall health and stability are improved by getting enough sleep. However Sleeping with an injured neck is one of the most uncomfortable situations anyone can experience.  One of the injured neck related disorders is whiplash where it’s characterized by a collection of symptoms that occur following damage to the neck.


This article will discuss whiplash, its causes symptoms, treatments, preventions and how to sleep with whiplash 

What is Whiplash?

Whiplash occurs when a person’s head moves backward and then forward suddenly with great force. This injury is most common following a rear-end auto collision. It can also result from physical abuse, sports injuries, or even amusement park rides.


Whiplash happens when the soft tissues (the muscles and ligaments) of your neck extend beyond their typical range of motion. Your symptoms might not appear for a while, so it’s important to pay attention to any physical changes for a few days following any crash or other injury event.

Whiplash is thought of as a relatively mild condition, but it can cause long-term pain and discomfort.

Causes of Whiplash

The following can be traced to cause whiplash

  • car collisions
  • physical abuse, such as being struck or shaken
  • contact sports, such as football, boxing, and some martial arts
  • horseback riding
  • cycling collisions or falls
  • falls in which the head violently jerks backward
  • blows to the head with a heavy object

Symptoms of Whiplash 

Some of the symptoms a person with whiplash may experience are : 

  • a loss (or reduction) of movement in the neck
  • headaches
  • neck pain
  • neck stiffness
  • the back of the neck feels tender

Other possible signs and symptoms are

  • lower back pain
  • pain in the arms and hands
  • numbness or pins and needles in the arms and hands
  • muscle spasms
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • swallowing difficulties
  • vision problems (vision may be blurred)
  • a feeling that you are moving or spinning (vertigo)
  • ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • sleep disturbances

less common signs and symptoms are also possible:

  • irritability
  • memory loss
  • poor concentration

How Is Whiplash Treated?

No single treatment has been scientifically proven as effective for whiplash, but pain relief medications such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), along with gentle exercises, physical therapy, traction, massage, heat, ice, injections and ultrasound, all have been helpful for certain patients.

In the past, whiplash injuries were often treated with immobilization in a cervical collar. However, the current trend is to encourage early movement instead of immobilization. Ice is often recommended for the first 24 hours, followed by gentle, active movement.

How to Sleep With Whiplash

Sleeping while dealing with whiplash can be very difficult. Here are tips to helping one better sleep in spite of the pain.


Hot or Cold Compress

An ice pack or heat compress before bed and even throughout the day for no more than 20 minutes can help cut down on extra tension and pain.

Neck Pillows

How to sleep with whiplash
Neck pillow for whiplash

There are special neck pillows meant for those who need more support for their necks while sleeping. Better support for the neck specifically especially in the case of whiplash, keeps the neck stable. This do not only keeps the neck stable but it also prevents further pain due to an uncomfortable or misaligned neck throughout the night.

Foam rollers

How to sleep with whiplash
Using foam roller for neck and head injury

Rolling the neck out before bed can help further prevent more stiffening throughout the night. It plays a part in releasing any tension built up throughout the day, and enables you to go to bed without any added tension. That will result in better sleep and less pain. 



Make sure the headrest in your car is adjusted correctly so that your head is prevented from moving backwards. However, there is nothing you can do to prevent your head from moving forward or sideways if the collision comes from in front or from the sides

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