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  • Writer's pictureDr Josh Bonine DC

Whiplash Injuries Cause Cervical Ligamentous Instability

Whiplash Injuries Cause Cervical Ligamentous Instability



Medical-legal professionals that care for the traumatically injured are often faced with patients/clients that are injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident. These whiplash presentations are commonly evaluated. However, there is often little discussion as to the exact tissues that are involved in creating the bodily injury. Even less is correlated to persistent functional loss.


A recent study (Stemper, Yoganandan, Pintar, Rao, 2005) took a closer look at the ligaments of the cervical spine after whiplash injury. The authors state, “Present results demonstrated that anterior structures in the lower cervical spine may be susceptible to injury through excess distraction during the retraction phase of whiplash, which likely occurs prior to head restraint contact. Susceptibility of these structures is likely due to non-physiologic loading placed on the cervical spinal column as the head translates posteriorly relative to the thorax” (Stemper, et al., 2005, p. 515). Whiplash injury to anterior spinal structures can result in cervical instability in extension, axial rotation, and lateral bending modes. Diagnostic studies such as MRI, range of motion, digital motion x-rays and/or x-rays can be critical to determining causality, bodily injury and persistent functional loss. In addition, this requires clinical correlation by a doctor expert in caring for the traumatically injured.




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Reference:

Stemper, B. D., Yoganandan, N., Pintar, F. A., & Rao, R. D. (2006). Anterior longitudinal ligament injuries in whiplash may lead to cervical instability. Medical Engineering & Physics, 28(6), 515-524.

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