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  • Writer's pictureDr Josh Bonine DC

Neck Muscles Injured in Whiplash

Neck Muscles Injured in Whiplash

There are many structures in the neck that can be injured as a result of a whiplash trauma. The medical research overwhelmingly supports injury to soft tissue, nerves and the intervertebral discs found in the neck.




Image Compliments of Medical Legal Art via The Doe Report (www.doereport.com). Copyright © 2010 Medical Legal Art, All rights reserved. Injury to soft tissue has been one of the more difficult injuries to objectify until a paper published by Vasavada, A.N, Brault, J.R., and Siegmund, G.P. (2007) demonstrated how neck muscles respond to whiplash trauma. The authors’ purpose of the study was, “To calculate the musculotendon and fascicle strains during whiplash and to compare these strains to published muscle injury thresholds” (p. 756).


The results of the research conducted revealed, “The cervical muscle strains induced during a rear-end impact exceed the previously-reported injury threshold for a single stretch of active muscle” (Vasavada et al., 2007, p. 756). The authors have demonstrated how the forces produced by a rear-end collision can cause injury to the neck muscles and how the pain associated with these injuries can complicate diagnosis, treatment and recovery.


Lastly, the authors reported, “…the larger strains experienced by extensor muscles are consistent with clinical reports of pain primarily in the posterior cervical region following rear-end impacts (Vasavada et al., 2007, p. 756). When working with a clinician that understands whiplash forces, it is important to realize that the medical research supports whiplash injury as a cause of bodily injury and persistent functional loss.




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Reference:

Vasavada, A. N., Brault, J. R., & Siegmund, G. P. (2007). Musculotendon and fascicle strains in anterior and posterior neck muscles during whiplash injury. Spine, 32(7), 756-765.

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