Ligament Strength Lowered by Whiplash
Ligament Strength Decreased by Whiplash
In an article by Tominaga et al. (2006), the authors looked at the mechanical properties of cervical spinal ligaments previously exposed to whiplash. They looked at cervical spine ligament specimens and tested them against forces to determine if the properties of the ligaments were altered as a result of whiplash.
The authors stated, “Significant differences in the average failure force, elongation, and energy absorbed were observed among the whiplash-exposed ligaments” (Tominaga et al., 2006, http://www.biomedcentral.com/ 1471-2474/7/103). “Our results indicated that whiplash caused significant decreases in neck ligament strength, as compared to the control data” (Tominaga et al., 2006, http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2474/7/103). “Significant decreases in ligament strength were observed following whiplash, supporting the ligament-injury hypothesis of whiplash syndrome” (Tominaga et al., 2006, http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2474/7/103).
This study provides support that the forces involved in the whiplash mechanism can result in damage to ligaments, disc and facets. The altered mechanical properties of the ligaments following whiplash will affect the stability of the spine which in turn can lead to chronic symptoms. Understanding the mechanisms behind whiplash and the effects it has on the supporting spinal structures is important in determining permanency and persistent functional loss.
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Tominaga, Y., Ndu, A. B., Coe, M. P., Valenson, A. J., Ivancic, P. C., Ito, S.,...Panjabi, M. M. (2006). Neck ligament strength is decreased following whiplash trauma. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2474/7/103