Whiplash Injury Case Study

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INTRODUCTION This work focuses on the importance of the seat design in rear end collisions and considers possible smart seat designs to decrease the risk of injuries. In case of rear-end crashes, head and neck injuries (namely whiplash injuries) are the most frequent type of injuries to occur, and are considered the main injury mechanism for that type of accidents. Whiplash injuries (soft tissue neck injuries) are one of the most frequent types of injury in car crashes. During rear-end collisions; the torso of the occupant is first pressed into the seatback, then at the second part of the collision pushed from the seatback. During the whole movement the neck is exposed to a whiplash type motion. With the effects of whiplash motion, large loads…show more content…
According to data on traffic accident analysis done in Japan, rear-end crashes cause 4% of fatalities, and about 50% of total injuries. Of these rear-end crashes, 77% result in neck injury, and most of these injuries can be categorized as whiplash injury [4]. So, even though rear-end crashes don’t constitute a high fatality risk, whiplash injuries produce a growing health problem and economic burden. Besides cost reported by insurance companies (which makes over 80% of the total cost of personal injury claims in England), with further unaccounted medical costs and the cost of lost working days because of whiplash injuries amount to a high financial loss for the economy. Additionally, they can cause painful symptoms and disablements for up to many years following the crash…show more content…
During a rear-end collision, first the pelvis is accelerated rearwards and due to a seat back structure’s delay and passenger posture, movement of the upper torso comes after. This motion variation between the pelvis and the upper torso causes a small rotation of the torso, which results in an initial flexion of the neck. As the upper torso moves backwards relative to the head, a horizontal translation occurs between the base of the cervical spine and the head. This motion induces compression, shear, and ultimately tension in the lower vertebrae of the cervical spine [6]. The term “whiplash injury” comes from the whiplash-like motion of the neck causing the injury, and is often used as a general diagnosis for injuries around the neck region. There are several different theories for the injury sites and the injury mechanisms. “Possible injury sites may be facet joint, disc, muscle, ligament, artery, Central Nervous System (CSN), or dorsal nerve root ganglion, while the injury mechanisms may be abnormal vertebra motion, excessive neck loads, local hyperextension/flexion, or pressure pulses in the spinal canal.

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