After a car accident muscles progressively shorten and tighten in the days that follow. It is a protection mechanism that the body uses to guard against the next possible unexpected impact. Most patients mistakenly take that sensation of “tightness” as sign that prolonged stretching is needed. In reality, those tissues were likely injured by excessive stretching and the last thing that will help them is more stretching. What is needed is a medical examination, a diagnosis and a comprehensive treatment plan including massage and progressive active range of motion and exercise.
If you google searched “neck stretches” the following three stretches were in the top post listed:
These 3 stretches would aggravate the typical auto accident whiplash by compressing the spine and pulling injured tissues that are trying to heal.
To initiate self-care, instead of stretching, mobilize. Work your spine through the range of full, pain-free active range of motion. Also, begin to reintegrate spinal stabilizing musculature. Begin with Cat-Camel, Quadruped and Dead bug.
Even what appears to be a minor injury from a car accident can result in permanent changes to the spine so be sure to have an experienced staff perform a full medical exam as one of your first steps of action following a car crash.