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  • Writer's pictureDr Josh Bonine DC

NECK INJURY INCREASED WITH HEAD TURNED

NECK INJURY INCREASED WITH HEAD TURNED


Few factors in spinal injury following a motor vehicle collision become as important as head position when the crash occurs.


In a previous post, we discussed injury to the joint capsules in the cervical spine (facet joints) being a source of pain and cervical instability in the Whiplash victim. Siegmund et al. (2008), in an important UPDATE, not only confirmed whiplash trauma tears the ligaments in the cervical spine, but showed if the head is turned, the injury is actually worse. The authors stated, “Thus a head-turned posture increases facet capsular ligament strain compared to a neutral head posture—a finding consistent with the greater symptom severity and duration observed in whiplash patients who have their head turned at impact” (Siegmund et al. 2008, p. 1643). They actually determined “…the maximum principal strain in the facet capsule doubles on the side toward which the head is turned” (Siegmund et al. 2008, p. 1649). This injury scenario demonstrates why mechanism of injury is of major importance and why some victims of whiplash trauma experience life-long debilitating pain after whiplash injury.



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Reference:


Siegmund, G. P., Davis, M. B., Quinn, K. P., Hines, E., Myers, B. S., Ejima, S.,...Winkelstein, B. A. (2008). Head-turned postures increase the risk of cervical facet capsule injury during whiplash. Spine, 33(15), 1643-1649.

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