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Whiplash is the name given to the pain that often occurs after a road traffic accident or any other sudden jolt to the neck. This pain can come on immediately, a few hours later or even the next day. The severity of the pain and the recovery time will vary from person to person. It usually lasts a few days but could take several months to completely disappear.
Recent medical evidence has shown that people recover much quicker if they continue to act as usual, returning to work and other activities as soon as possible. It is vital that you keep your neck moving after your accident or it will stiffen up and delay your recovery.
It is very important that you do the exercises that your physiotherapist has taught you. They may be a little sore at first but if done slowly, smoothly and regularly you will soon improve. It is better to do the exercises little and often through the day rather than lots just once a day.
It is also important that you maintain a good posture at all times. To help you maintain good posture when sitting, put a rolled up towel or a small, firm cushion in the small of your back and sit on a firm seat with your bottom well back against the backrest. Do the same when sitting in the car.
Think about your sleeping position; don't lie on your stomach as this twists your neck too much. Try a small rolled up towel in the bottom of your pillowcase so that when you are lying on your back or side, your neck has some support.
If you have been given a soft collar, try not to use it for too long or this will encourage stiffness and muscle weakness. Make sure you take it off every hour and do a few stretches for your neck.