One thing many of our patients at our Ealing chiropractor clinic – The Spine & Joint Centre, have in common is the challenge of getting a good night’s sleep. When you have an injury like whiplash, however, it can be extremely difficult to get comfortable and find the rest you need to recover properly.
Some sleeping positions might actually put more stress on the affected area and make things worse. Here we take a closer look at what you need to do to promote a decent night’s sleep when you are in pain and discomfort.
What is Whiplash?
Neck pain is one of the most common issues that we see at our Ealing chiropractic clinic.
Normally the joints at the back of the neck glide over each other and are self lubricated but a whiplash type injury forces them together damaging the surrounding area which includes nerves, muscles, ligaments and discs. There are tiny receptors in the ligaments in the neck called proprioceptors. During a whiplash injury the ligaments can be damaged affecting the functioning of these proprioceptors.
This can often occur as a result of some kind of traumatic effect: during a road traffic accident; however, it’s often seen in contact sports where the head is snapped back during a collision; however, this type of injury can even happen if you have a slip or a fall and your head is suddenly jolted.
Most whiplash injuries get better on their own but some do persist. Severe pain that lasts for many months may be unusual but it can mean you can’t live your daily life to the full. That includes being able to sleep properly.
What is the Best Way to Get a Good Night’s Sleep?
Sleeping is a pretty individual thing. Some of us sleep on one side or the other, some sleep on their back, a few even sleep on their front. The trouble with a whiplash injury is that it generally makes our preferred way of sleeping at night difficult, whichever we choose.
The two best positions are generally accepted as sleeping on our side or on our back. You should avoid sleeping on your front.
What’s important is to ensure that your head and neck are supported properly. If you are sleeping on your side, use a soft pillow and a rolled-up towel to support the area of the neck between the pillow and the mattress. If you are sleeping on your back, again use a soft pillow but make sure that it supports your neck properly. If it doesn’t, again you can use a small folded towel to provide that support to the neck region.
While you can sleep face down, it’s not recommended by health care professionals simply because it will put too much stress on your neck.
You can get specialist orthopaedic pillows that are suitable for supporting the head and neck properly but it’s always important to discuss your choice with your chiropractor or GP before buying one. These have a thicker ridge at the lower edge, a design which helps maintain a good neck alignment.
Another option you may like to investigate, especially if you have a chronic condition, is to look at your mattress and whether you need to replace it. Ideally, you want one that is going to support you properly and reduce the amount of stress your head and neck is subjected to. You should avoid any mattress that is too soft or one that is far too firm.
How Your Ealing Chiropractor Can Help Treat Whiplash
Whiplash can develop into a chronic condition for some people and it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and find out what treatment options are available. Gentle manipulation and management with select exercises should help improve issues with pain and move you more quickly towards recovery.
As with any injury, all people are different which is why it is important to get a full consultation that investigates all aspects of your injury. If chiropractic manipulation is suitable, you should expect your pain to ease and your condition to improve, that includes hopefully getting a better night’s sleep.
If you have a whiplash injury and live in Ealing or the surrounding area, contact our chiropractor clinic today to book an appointment.