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  • Writer's pictureDr Josh Bonine DC

Whiplash Can Occur with “Slight Damage” to the Bumper

Whiplash Can Occur with “Slight Damage” to the Bumper

Ever seen a "bumper" car? What's the bumper made out of? Rubber, lots of rubber! Some times it seems like we need to wrap our kids in bubble wrap and our cars in rubber and springs and everything would be ok, right? The truth is spinal and joint injury can happen at any speed with any change in g-force.

We have already established in a previous post that bumpers can sustain crash impacts greater than 5 mph and deform, on the average, between 8-12 mph. What is apparent, is in a rear end collision where there is no gross deformity of the bumper, there is usually slight damage in the form of paint chipping or a small dent. This is demonstrative evidence that cars collided and energy was transferred from the striking car to the car in front. Biomechanical engineers have concluded that in rear-end collisions, pent up energy in contracted bumpers and seat backs spring, being released simultaneously, as the driver in the front car reapplies the brakes and causes the occupant to be exposed to more destructive force than the car. This is the cause for whiplash in these “slight” damage crashes. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety concurred when Farmer, Wells and Lund researched for them in 1999 and wrote that when property damage was slight…neck injuries could occur.


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.

Click here to find a San Antonio chiropractor near me.


Farmer, C. M., Wells, J. K., & Werner, J. V. (1999). Relationship of head restraint positioning to driver neck injury in rear-end crashes. Accident Analysis and Prevention,31(6), 719-728.


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