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  • Writer's pictureDr Josh Bonine DC

Bracing for Impact Influences Body Movements

Bracing for Impact Influences Body Movements

It is often wondered whether being aware of an impact affects how the occupant’s body responds to the forces of an automobile crash. In a recent article by Beeman, Kemper, Madigan, and Duma (2011), the authors looked at how human subjects responded to low-speed tests designed to simulate a front end collision at two different speeds.

The authors stated, “Overall, it has been shown that tensed muscles can change the initial posture, kinematics, and subsequently the kinetics during an automotive collision. Consequently, the resulting injury patterns may be altered based on muscle activation” (Beeman et al., 2011, p. 2999).

This study showed, “Increasing the severity of the sled impulse [acceleration] resulted in an increase in peak forward excursions...Bracing was found to elicit a reduction in peak forward excursion for each selected anatomical region” (Beeman et al., 2011, p. 3006). It was further reported “the percent decrease in foreword excursion due to bracing decreased with increasing impulse severity” (Beeman et al., 2011, p. 3008).

This study focused on the response of the body to low-speed collisions. The body will respond differently whether it is braced or relaxed at the time of impact. This can influence the injury pattern of the trauma patient. Injuries can range from obvious injuries such as striking the interior of the vehicle to injuries that may require more investigation such as traumatic brain injury, disc injuries or fracture.

Knowing whether the patient was braced at the time of impact will assist the doctor in formulating an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for the traumatically injured.


Spine & Injury Centers of San Antonio is a local network of 5 chiropractic offices. As a group, we are raising the standard of care for injured patients and their families.

If you have recently been in a car accident, or had a personal injury, sports injury, or exercise injury, and are experiencing back pain, neck pain, knee pain, whiplash, headaches, leg pain, etc, our San Antonio injury chiropractors can help!

Our goal is to get you back to living a pain-free life as quickly as possible.

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Beeman, S. M., Kemper, A. R., Madigan, M. L., & Duma, S. M. (2011). Effects of bracing on human kinematics in low-speed frontal sled tests. Annals of Biomedical Engineering, 39(12), 2998-3010.



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