Many patients who experience whiplash after a car accident or other traumatic event recover within a few weeks. However, some have symptoms that linger a bit longer. If it has been a month or longer since your accident and you're still experiencing whiplash symptoms such as headaches, tenderness in the neck, and pain when you turn your head, here are three suggestions for ways to rid yourself of the pain.

Visit the Chiropractor

Whiplash is essentially caused by dysfunction in a joint (or several joints) in your neck. Sometimes, patients do not recover property from whiplash because their vertebrae are still out of alignment, placing excess strain on the muscles in the neck. By gently adjusting the affected joint, your chiropractor can help relieve your whiplash symptoms. This therapy may feel a bit uncomfortable, but it should not hurt. Many patients' necks feel immediately more relaxed following the adjustment.

Your chiropractor may also recommend some exercises you can do at home to help relieve your lingering whiplash symptoms. These exercises will help re-strengthen the muscles in your neck so that they don't become so strained when asked to perform the basic task of supporting and turning your head.

Apply ice to your neck.

You might be tempted to apply heat to your neck, and doing so may help alleviate the pain temporarily. However, lingering whiplash symptoms are often caused by residual inflammation in your neck, and in the long run, heat will just make the inflammation worse. Applying an ice pack (covered in a thin towel so it does not freeze-burn your skin) to your neck will help alleviate this inflammation.

You can safely apply ice to your neck for periods of up to 20 minutes, every 2 - 4 hours. Stick to this routine for a few days in a row; it may help alleviate that lingering inflammation and the soreness it's causing.

Visit an acupuncturist.

Sometimes, after suffering from whiplash symptoms for a while, you simply get into the bad habit of carrying your stress in your neck. An acupuncture treatment might help relax your muscles and your mind so your symptoms can finally subside.

There are a number of studies that show acupuncture to be effective in treating neck pain; it has more merit than mainstream doctors wanted to think in the past. Ensure you visit an acupuncturist who is experienced with treating patients with whiplash and other musculoskeletal ailments for best results.

For more information about whiplash treatment, contact a practice like the Contino Chiropractic Center.