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  • Writer's pictureDr Josh Bonine DC

Low Speed-Rear End Injuries

Low Speed-Rear End Injuries



A recent study by Omerovic et al, 2016 reviewed the mechanics associated with injuries to the cervical spine after rear end motor vehicle collisions.



They stated, “Human neck presents a complex anatomical structure comprising of hard tissues (cervical vertebrates from C1 to C7) and soft tissues (ligaments, cartilages, intervertebral discs (IVDs), muscles, nerves, the spinal cord, etc.). During low speed rear end traffic accidents, these soft tissues are usually subjected to the loads and movements above their physiological range, causing them to be injured.” [pg 145]


The authors continued, “Low severity injuries are more frequent than traumatic injuries. They are often attributed to muscle strain, ligament sprain, intervertebral disc injury and neural injury.” [pg 145]


In relation to the nervous system, they reported, “Neural injuries can occur in dorsal root ganglia during the whiplash. They are associated with the increased pressure of blood and cerebrospinal fluid in the spinal canal, causing the spinal ganglion nerve cell body membrane dysfunctions, which can lead to neck pain, cervicogenic headache, vertigo, vision disturbance and neurological symptoms in the upper extremities.” [146]


“The understanding of WAD [Whiplash Associated Disorders] requires detailed knowledge on the cervical spine dynamics and the process of injury occurrence in soft and hard tissues.” [pg 147] This type understanding of the patient’s pain and its cause must come from a competent clinician doing a detailed evaluation which included body positioning and pre-existing conditions.


In conclusion, the authors indicated, “This study demonstrated that the occupant seated position has a significant influence on potential whiplash injuries.” [pg 145]. That is why it is critically important to work with a provider that has expertise in the biomechanics of the human spine and their responses to traumatic injury. The complexity of the human spine and its assessment requires evaluation far beyond a simple clinical examination.



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Reference:

1. Omerovic, S., Tomasch, E. R. N. S. T., Gutsche, A. J., & Prebil, I. (2016). Comparative study of potential whiplash injuries for different occupant seated positioning during rear end accidents. Acta of Bioengineering and Biomechanics, 18(4), 145-158.


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