Citation
Head Acceleration and Associated Pain Felt in the Neck Region during a Simulated Automobile Low Velocity Rear-End Collision as a Function of Seat Back Angle

Material Information

Title:
Head Acceleration and Associated Pain Felt in the Neck Region during a Simulated Automobile Low Velocity Rear-End Collision as a Function of Seat Back Angle
Creator:
Hillier, Martin Charles
Place of Publication:
[Gainesville, Fla.]
Publisher:
University of Florida
Publication Date:
Language:
english
Physical Description:
1 online resource (61 p.)

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( M.S.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Applied Physiology and Kinesiology
Committee Chair:
Tillman, Mark D.
Committee Members:
Siders, Ronald A.
Ipser, James R.
Graduation Date:
5/1/2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Acceleration ( jstor )
Head ( jstor )
Headrests ( jstor )
Kinetics ( jstor )
Low speed ( jstor )
Neck ( jstor )
Pain ( jstor )
Physical trauma ( jstor )
Whiplash ( jstor )
Whiplash injuries ( jstor )
Applied Physiology and Kinesiology -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
acceleration, angle, automobile, collision, head, low, neck, pain, seat, velocity
Genre:
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
Applied Physiology and Kinesiology thesis, M.S.

Notes

Abstract:
The angle of the seat back is an important factor in head acceleration and pain felt during a low velocity rear-end collision. Ten male volunteers with a mean age of 22.40 plus or minus 2.37 years, mean height of 1.79 plus or minus 0.035 m, and mean mass of 81.92 plus or minus 11.51 kg were exposed to impacts designed to replicate this type of collision in a lab setting. The change in velocity for each impact was approximately 8 kph (5 mph). The variable during the study was the angle of the seat back. Three seat back angles consisting of 100, 115, and 130 degrees from horizontal were tested. In general, as the angle of the seat back increased, the peak horizontal, vertical, and resultant accelerations decreased. More specifically, significant differences were detected for the horizontal accelerations with increased values for 100 degrees when compared to 115 and 130 degrees. There was no significance difference observed when comparing the vertical accelerations across the three seat angles. The resultant acceleration showed significant differences when comparing 130 degrees to 100 degrees and 115 degrees, with the lower acceleration occurring in the 130 degree seat position in both cases. Conversely, pain increased significantly as the angle increased. The 130 degree seat position had significantly higher pain ratings when compared to the 100 and 115 degree seat positions. Therefore, it can be inferred that there is an inverse relationship between seat back angle and acceleration while there is a direct relationship between seat back angle and pain. Based on further analysis of the data collected during this study, it may be possible that the increase in pain is due to the larger contribution of the muscles and the decreased contribution of the headrest to stop the head during the trials at 130 degrees. To minimize risk, it is recommended to maintain a 100 degree seat back angle when in the front row of an automobile. ( en )
General Note:
In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note:
Includes vita.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description:
Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description:
This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local:
Adviser: Tillman, Mark D.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Martin Charles Hillier

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright Martin Charles Hillier. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Embargo Date:
7/11/2008
Classification:
LD1780 2008 ( lcc )

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55. Van den Kroonenberg A, Philippens M, Cappon H, Wismans J. Human head-neck response
during low-speed rear end impacts. Society of Automotive Engineers SAE No 983158 1998.

56. Cassidy J, Carroll L, Cote P, Frank J. Does multidisciplinary rehabilitation benefit whiplash
recovery? Results of a population-based incidence cohort study. Spine 2007; 32: 126-31.









Pain Scale

The participants subjectively reported pain at four different time intervals that included

one day, three days, one week, and two weeks post-test (Appendix B). All ten participants

completed the pain ratings at all time intervals for all three seat positions. There were no ratings

above a one (no pain) for the last two time intervals. Therefore, only the pain ratings given at

one day and three days post-test were used in the statistical analysis. The highest pain rating

given by any participant was a four (Participant 7, 1300, 1 day post-test) and no subject had any

long term effects from the impacts. Generally speaking, the mean pain rating increased as the

seat angle increased (Figure 4-4). In addition, when comparing pain ratings from day one to day

three, pain decreased as time passed for the 1150 and 130 seat positions while it stayed the same

for the 1000 seat position (Figure 4-5). Statistical analysis revealed significance when

comparing overall pain ratings across time (F (1,9) = 6.43, p = 0.032), with pain decreasing from

one day post-test to three days post-test. Pain ratings also varied with seat position (F (2,18) =

6.55, p = 0.0073). Tukey's HSD post hoc test revealed that there were significant increases

among the mean pain ratings when comparing the 1300 seat position to the 1000 position (p =

0.0076) and when comparing the 130 position to the 115 position (p = 0.041), with the 130

position having the higher pain rating in both cases (Figure 4-4). A time x seat position

interaction was also detected (F (2,18) = 6.28, p = 0.0085). Tukey's HSD post hoc test

demonstrated that only the 1300 seat position showed significance when comparing the pain

ratings across both time intervals (Figure 4-5), meaning that pain ratings were significantly

worse one day post test when compared to three days post test for that seat position

(p = 0.000094).









began fifteen ms before the horizontal acceleration. In addition, the vertical acceleration had two

peaks while the horizontal acceleration only had one true peak. The first, smaller peak in the

vertical acceleration represents the initial downward motion of the head after the setback has

pushed the torso forward and the cervical spine is forced into extension. The anterior neck

muscles are responsible for attempting to counteract the force of the impact. This peak is prior to

contact with the headrest. The net vertical acceleration during this time period is downward for

one primary reason. Although the anterior musculature of the neck is attempting to slow the

head down by producing an upward acceleration, the downward force created by the impact is

greater in magnitude, thus the overall acceleration is still downward. The second, larger peak

represents the net upward acceleration imparted by the combination of the headrest and the

continuing action of the anterior musculature. During this portion, the resultant upward force is

greater than the downward force remaining from the impact, thus the acceleration vector points

upward. This peak is larger because the headrest and muscles are providing resistant forces, as

opposed to just the muscles. However, although the second peak is larger, I believe the first peak

is where an injury is more likely to occur, due to the higher initial load on the muscles. Finally,

because there has been no significant difference found when comparing peak vertical

accelerations across the three seat positions, it can be concluded that vertical motion during

whiplash is not influenced by seat position. In comparison with other studies, peak vertical

accelerations in this study were slightly lower, with previous studies showing peak vertical

accelerations ranging from 2.4 to 3.0 g's.12,13

Resultant Acceleration

As shown by the data in Figure 4-1, the resultant acceleration of the head does change as

the angle of the seat back is altered. This difference may be attributed to the following. During

a rear-end collision, the head may undergo two sub-phases during the initial rearward rotation, or









CHAPTER 4
RESULTS

Participants

Nine of the ten participants completed testing at all three seat angles. The horizontal

acceleration data for the third trial at 1300 for participant five were not recorded due to

equipment errors. Mass, height, and age were recorded for all ten participants (Table 4-1).

Horizontal Acceleration

Following testing, mean peak acceleration values for all three seat angles were calculated

(Figure 4-1). A repeated measures one way ANOVA revealed a significant difference when

comparing peak horizontal acceleration across the three levels of seat angle (F (2,18) = 27.39, p

= 0.000003). Tukey's HSD post-hoc procedure indicated that horizontal acceleration was

decreased for the 130 seat position when compared to the 1000 position (p = 0.000151). In

addition, the horizontal acceleration was also decreased for the 1150 seat position when

compared to the 1000 position (p = 0.000552).

Vertical Acceleration

The same statistical methods previously mentioned were used for the vertical acceleration

data. Mean peak acceleration values can be found in Figure 4-1. No differences in vertical

acceleration across seat position were detected (F (2,18) = 3.48, p = 0.0529).

Resultant Acceleration

Resultant accelerations were calculated using the horizontal and vertical components and

applying the Pythagorean theorem. Mean peak resultant acceleration values for each seat angle

were then calculated (Figure 4-1). Statistical analyses were the same as described for the

horizontal and vertical accelerations. Resultant acceleration varied with seat position (F (2,18) =

4.51, p = 0.0258). The mean acceleration values decreased as the seat angle increased









were calculated and averaged for each seat angle. Finally, one trial was selected for time-motion

analysis. During this process, key moments were picked from the trial and the resultant

acceleration, magnitude and direction, were plotted on a graph. This graph shows the severity

and direction of acceleration throughout the trial.

Pain Scale

Participants rated their pain one day, three days, one week, and two weeks post-test. This

process was completed for each of the three test sessions. Data was written into Microsoft Excel.

Mean pain ratings were calculated for each time interval at each seat angle.

Statistical Analysis

Acceleration of the Head

A repeated measures one-way ANOVA with three levels was used to determine if there

was any significant difference in the mean peak acceleration of the head across seat angle. This

was done for the horizontal, vertical, and resultant acceleration values. A traditional level of

significance was used (a = 0.05). Tukey HSD post hoc analyses were performed when

necessary.

Pain Scale

A repeated measures two-way ANOVA (3:seat angle x 4:time interval) was used to

determine if there was a significant pain difference among the three seat angles and as time

passed post testing. A traditional level of significance was used (a = 0.05). In addition, Tukey

HSD post hoc analyses were performed when necessary.









crash and tense their neck muscles prior to impact have reported less severe pain and injuries and

state that the crash seemed less severe when comparing it to a crash with the same change in

velocity and an unaware state.15,33,38 Contraction of the muscles prior to impact creates an ability

to resist extension beyond normal physiological and anatomical limits and consequently reduces

the incidence of hyperextension injuries and symptoms.7'10'15'33-38 However, muscle tension

before impact could also contribute to muscle strain injuries if the muscles involved eccentrically

contract to resist head motion that has already begun.6'39-41 The kinematics of the whiplash

motion are also changed when the occupant is aware. Kumar et al. state that the initial

acceleration of the head in aware conditions was delayed by 25-40 ms.33 This delay is due to the

resistance of the backward rotation created by the anterior musculature of the neck. This will

create a decrease in the extension of the neck by approximately 30-40% when compared to a

relaxed state.

Conversely, if the subject is in a relaxed state prior to impact, the muscles of the neck do

not affect the head-neck-torso kinematics during a rear-end impact and the motion is as described

previously. Because of the muscle activity onset delay, much or all of the movement in the

extension phase of the whiplash motion is already completed before the anterior muscles,

specifically the SCM, are maximally activated.

Demographics of Selected Participants

Human Subjects Compared to Anthropomorphic Dummies and Cadavers

In many studies involving automobile crashes, anthropomorphic dummies, or crash test

dummies, are used for safety reasons. However, these tests are generally at much higher speeds

than five mph. In addition, anthropomorphic dummies are designed to replicate the motions

observed in a human during high-speed crashes and they do not exhibit the correct response

when subjected to a low velocity rear-end collision.4'11'16'18 More specifically, the complicated




























To all those who supported me throughout my ventures, including my wife, family, advisors, and
financial supporters.









This five phase motion is representative of all whiplash injuries, however the severity of

these injuries can change due to the characteristics and circumstances related to the individual

crash. Some of these factors include change in velocity and occupant orientation. The most

significant factor concerning occupant orientation is the angle of the head relative to the torso.7

In the current study, this angle will change based on the angle of the setback. As the angle of

the setback increases, the angle of flexion between the neck and the head must increase in order

to maintain a head position that is perpendicular to the surface of the road.

Injury Mechanism

The motion previously described is capable of causing a variety of injuries. However,

separate injuries occur during the different phases of motion of the head and neck. During

extension, compressive forces are applied to the posterior structures and tensile forces are

applied to the anterior structures. The most common anterior structures involved during

extension are the esophagus, anterior longitudinal ligament, anterior cervical muscles, the

odontoid process of the second cervical vertebrae, and the intervertebral discs. The posterior

structures at risk during extension are the facet joints and the spinous processes of the vertebrae.2

During normal extension, the structures of the vertebrae and the muscles of the anterior neck are

within their physiological and anatomical limits. In this case, no injury will occur. However,

during low velocity rear-end collisions, these structures may be subjected to forces which exceed

healthy limits. In this scenario, the facet joints between the superior articular process of the

lower vertebra and the inferior articular process of the higher vertebra are the first anatomical

structures to be stressed, thus they become the point about which the vertebrae rotate. If the

forces of rotation become too great for the facet joints to withstand, one of three things is

possible. First, the facet joints could experience a crush fracture. Second, the spinous processes

of the vertebrae could come in contact due to the forced extension and fracture as a result.









14. Minton R, Murray P, Stephenson W, Galasko CSB. Whiplash injury are current head
restraints doing theirjob?. Accident Analysis and Prevention 2000; 32: 177-185.

15. Ryan GA, Taylor GW, Moore VM, Dolinis J. Neck strain in car occupants: the influence of
crash-related factors on initial severity. Medical Journal of Australia 1993; 159: 651-656.

16. Zuby DS, Vann T, Lund AK, Morris CR. Crash test evaluation of whiplash injury risk.
Society of Automotive Engineers SAE No 99SC17 1999.

17. Anderson R, Welcher J, Szabo T, Eubanks J, Haight WR. Effect of braking on human
occupant and vehicle kinematics in low speed rear-end collisions. Society of Automotive
Engineers SAE No 980298 1998.

18. Szabo TJ, Welcher JB. Human subject kinematics and electromyographic activity during low
speed rear impacts. Society of Automotive Engineers SAE No 962432 1996.

19. Welcher JB, Szabo TJ. Relationships between seat properties and human subject kinematics
in rear impact tests. Accident Analysis and Prevention 2001; 33: 289-304.

20. Lundell B, Jakobsson L, Alfredsson B, Jernstrom, Isaksson-Hellman I. Guidelines for and the
design of a car seat concept for improved protection against neck injuries in rear end car
impacts. Society of Automotive Engineers SAE No 980301 1998.

21. Watanabe Y, Ichikawa H, Kayama O. Relationships between occupant motion and seat
characteristics in low-speed rear impacts. Society of Automotive Engineers SAE No 1999-
01-0635 1999.

22. Croft AC, Herring P, Freeman MD, Haneline MT. The neck injury criterion: future
considerations. Accident Analysis and Prevention 2002; 34: 247-255.

23. Hosea TM, Simon SR, Delatizky J, Wong MA, Hsieh CC. Myoelectric analysis of the
paraspinal musculature in relation to automobile driving. Spine 1986; 11: 928-936.

24. Farmer CM, Wells JK, Werner JV. Relationship of head restraint positioning to driver neck
injury in rear-end crashes. Accident Analysis and Prevention 1999; 31: 719-728.

25. Siegmund GP, Heinrichs BE, Wheeler JB. The influence of head restraint and occupant
factors on peak head/neck kinematics in low-speed rear-end collisions. Accident Analysis
and Prevention 1999; 31: 393-407.

26. Viano D, Gargan M. Headrest position during normal driving: implication to neck injury risk
in rear crashes. Accident Analysis and Prevention 1996; 28(6): 665-674.

27. Maher J. Report investigating the importance of head restraint positioning in reducing neck
injury in rear impact. Accident Analysis and Prevention 2000; 32: 299-305.









CHAPTER 5
DISCUSSION

Horizontal Acceleration

In comparison to other studies at similar impact speeds, the peak horizontal accelerations

during this study were slightly lower.12,19 However, because there are no comparative data

regarding the kinematics of the head and the contribution of seat back angle to the acceleration of

the head, this portion of the discussion is intended to explain these novel data.

The data collected during this study suggest that altering the angle of the seat back can

create changes in the horizontal acceleration of the head during a low velocity rear-end collision.

This is shown by the decrease in mean acceleration values as the seat angle was increased

(Figure 4-1). When studying the kinematics of the head during a selected trial, the horizontal

portion of Figure 4-2 shows only one peak. This peak coincides with the larger of the two

vertical peaks and represents the maximum forward acceleration of the head while it is in contact

with the headrest. While the head does accelerate downwards after impact, evidenced by the

first vertical peak, it does not accelerate horizontally unless the musculature of the neck is

activated to resist the rearward motion. During this study, the seat was rolling backwards at

approximately five mph until impact. Upon impact the body continues to move horizontally at

that velocity without accelerating until it hits the headrest or until the muscles fire, whichever

comes first. This can be compared to a true rear-end collision where the car moves forward until

the seat interacts with a stationary body. This phenomenon explains why the vertical

acceleration begins just before the horizontal acceleration. The main difference between the

vertical and horizontal motions is that the head was already moving horizontally, but had no

initial velocity in the vertical direction, thus producing the kinematic differences. During the

analysis of this trial it can be estimated that the muscles fired approximately fifteen ms after









LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

AIS Abbreviated injury scale

cm Centimeter

Av / At Change in velocity divided by change in time

o Degrees

ft Feet

Hz Hertz

in Inch

kg Kilogram

kph Kilometers per hour

MRI Magnetic resonance imaging

m Meter

m/s2 Meters per second squared

mph Miles per hour

mm Millimeter

ms Milliseconds

lbs Pounds

SCM Sternocleidomastoid muscle

V Volts

WAD Whiplash associated disorder









terminate the head motion before hyperextension of the neck occurs. During hyperextension the

more serious injuries such as intervertebral disc rupture, anterior longitudinal ligament rupture,

and vertebral fractures occur. Although the headrest should eliminate these types of injuries, it is

still very possible to have less severe soft tissue injuries such as muscle strains, even if the

headrest is used properly. Hyperextension is one of the leading causes of injury to the neck, thus

if the head restraint is not used properly the likelihood of injury increases.27'28

Head restraint height is the only adjustable variable in the majority of modem head

restraints. It has been reported that a minimum of 27.5 inches from the seat to the top of the

headrest should be present to reduce injury, and the top of the headrest should be at least as high

as the vertical midpoint of the head.24'26 In addition, Nygren et al. have shown that complaints

of whiplash injuries nearly doubled when occupants reported a low headrest position instead of a

high headrest position.29 Additionally, 83% of drivers and passengers do not adjust their headrest

to the proper height.9 In order to help prevent injuries during this study, the headrest will be

placed in the highest position allowed by the structure of the car seat.

The final factor related to the headrest that contributes to the forces felt by the head and

neck is the horizontal headrest distance, defined as the distance from the occipital protuberance

of the head to the front of the headrest. While the headrest height stays constant, the change in

seat back angle will also create a change in horizontal headrest distance, which in turn will cause

a larger degree of neck flexion and a greater angular displacement of the head during the

whiplash motion. Ideally, the gap between the occipital protuberance and the headrest should be

no greater than half of the anteroposterior diameter of the head.26 Many studies have shown that

the greater this distance is, the greater the demands are on the muscles of the neck. 1,14,19,22,24,26,27

However, none of these studies have related this phenomenon to the angle of the setback.






















A B C

4-










D E F

Figure 2-1. Stages of whiplash motion. Arrows indicate the direction of motion of the head and
seat back. A) Pre-impact position. B) End of phase one. C) End of phase two. D)
End of phase three. E) End of phase four. F) End of phase five.









Procedure

The experimental procedures were the same for all participants and all trials took place in

the Biomechanics Lab in the College of Health and Human Performance at the University of

Florida. Before the participant arrived, the seat back was set to the appropriate angle. The three

angles that were used in this study were 100, 115, and 1300 from horizontal, in that order. The

participants were not told which angle was being tested. Only one angle was tested per day.

After signing the informed consent form and filling out the medical health questionnaire, the

participant was weighed. The forms were only filled out prior to the first visit, however the

participant was weighed during each visit. Next, the participant was fitted with the

accelerometer that was securely fastened to a mouthpiece (Figure 3-4). In order to normalize the

weight of the platform and the test participant, weight was added to the compartment below the

seat until the combined weight of the participant, rolling platform, and added weight reached

113.6 kg (250 lbs). This constant weight helped to ensure that each trial was as close to five mph

as possible. The proper release point that produced the desired speed was determined during

pilot testing using motion analysis software.

Each participant was then instructed to sit in the seat at the top of the ramp while looking

straight ahead keeping his head parallel with the ramp's surface and his arms relaxed on his lap

throughout the trial. The participant was told to remain relaxed throughout the trial, meaning

that he would not tense his muscles before impact. The participant was also instructed to keep

his scapulas against the seat. This served to normalize the seating position for all participants.

During all trials, the headrest was in the highest position to decrease the chance of neck

hyperextension. Upon verification that the participant is ready, the rolling platform was released

from the pre-determined point and the seat began to move down the ramp. After impact with the

fixed wooden barrier, the platform came to rest. Throughout the trial, acceleration data was









recorded. Three trials were performed during each testing session. Finally, a follow-up phone

call was made at one day, three days, one week, and two weeks post-test. These calls served to

monitor the participant's health and to quantify soreness, if present, on a graded scale. The pain

scale appears in Appendix B56. In the two subsequent sessions, the data collection method was

the same, however the angle of the seat was changed. The data was analyzed after each session.

Data Analysis

Acceleration of the Head

Acceleration of the head was calculated in g's, where one g equals an acceleration of 9.81

m/s2, the acceleration on gravity. The peak acceleration in the anterior-posterior and vertical

directions was recorded and the resultant acceleration was calculated. The third direction was

ignored due to the minimal motion in the lateral direction during the whiplash motion.6'19 Initial

output from eVart 4.3 Motion Analysis Software was measured in millivolts. This raw data was

exported to Microsoft Excel 2003 and graphed. The graph was used to find peak acceleration in

volts. A sample graph has been provided (Figure 3-5). The baseline voltage was then subtracted

from the peak voltage in order to quantify the true peak acceleration. After finding this peak

acceleration in volts, a conversion factor supplied by Crossbow allowed for a conversion from

volts to g's. The conversion factors for horizontal and vertical acceleration were 0.098 and 0.101

volts per one g, respectively. Peak horizontal acceleration measured in g's (a(g)) was calculated

using Equation 3-1:

a(g) = (voltagemax(V) voltagebaseline(V)) / 0.098 (3-1)

Peak vertical acceleration was calculated using equation 3-2:

a(g) = (voltagemax(V) voltagebaseline(V)) / 0.101 (3-2)

This process was repeated for each trial completed. The peak mean horizontal and vertical

accelerations for each seat angle were calculated. In addition, the resultant peak accelerations











Mean Peak Acceleration


S2.5

0
2


< 15


1


0.5


0


Horizontal


Vertical


* 100 degrees
* 115 degrees
* 130 degrees


Resultant


Figure 4-1. Mean horizontal, vertical, and resultant acceleration for all angles. indicates a
significant difference between peak horizontal acceleration values when comparing
1000 and 1150 (p < 0.05). A indicates a significant difference between peak horizontal
acceleration values when comparing 1000 and 1300 (p < 0.05). # indicates a
significant difference between peak resultant acceleration values when comparing
1000 and 1300 (p < 0.05).









position, the muscles of the neck are already under more strain than they would be in men.

When placed in a situation such as a rear-end collision, the muscles could be fatigued and less

able to perform the demands necessary to prevent hyperextension. The final factor contributing

to the higher risk in females is muscle strength. On average, females have weaker muscles in the

neck region than men.25 When combining this with the higher relative head mass, injuries are

much more likely to happen. Because the muscles cannot resist the rearward rotation as well as

men, the horizontal acceleration of the head is also higher in women.11'55

Effect of Age on Injury Susceptibility

The effect of the whiplash motion on the body changes as an individual ages. Not only

are elderly people less physically prepared to withstand the forces created by the whiplash

motion, but the injuries suffered are generally more severe, last longer, and have increased

symptoms.2,14,51 As people age, more effort is required to maintain muscle mass. If muscle mass

is not maintained, the likelihood of severe injury increases because the muscles can no longer

protect the ligaments and vertebrae. In addition, weakening of the bones, or osteoporosis, can

occur as one ages. If the cervical vertebrae are weakened, when they are placed under the

stresses caused by whiplash, they are more likely to fracture.









(Figure 4-1). Tukey's post hoc analysis revealed that the 1000 seat position had a higher

resultant acceleration than the 1300 position (p = 0.0425). The 1150 seat position also had a

significantly higher resultant acceleration than the 1300 seat position (p = 0.0488).

Time Motion Analysis

A time motion analysis was performed on one selected trial (Participant 3, 1000, trial 1).

The horizontal and vertical acceleration graphs corresponding to this trial can be found in Figure

4-2. To create the time motion analysis, seven significant points of motion were chosen and the

magnitude and direction of the resultant acceleration were calculated and plotted (Figure 4-3).

Horizontal and vertical components of the resultant accelerations can be found in Table 4-2.

There are no data points for the first phase because there is no movement of the head during the

first phase, as defined by the previously described five phase whiplash motion. The first two

points selected were 50 and 75 ms after the initial horizontal acceleration of the head,

respectively, and were during the middle portion of the second phase of motion. Both of these

points have a forward and downward acceleration. In addition, the acceleration is increasing in

both directions across the 25 ms time span. At 100 ms, peak horizontal acceleration occurs and

phase two is complete. During phase three, the horizontal acceleration is beginning to approach

zero g's at 125 ms. 153 ms after impact, the horizontal acceleration has changed from forward to

backward. Phase three is over 180 ms after impact and the participant is at the peak horizontal

acceleration for phase three. This acceleration is directed backwards and down. Finally, at 269

ms, the peak horizontal acceleration during phase four was recorded. The direction of the

acceleration is forward and up. At this point in the motion, all relevant accelerations have been

completed. Due to this, the fifth phase, or restitution phase, was not included.









rolling surface. On the surface of the ramp, there were 1.9 cm (3/4 in) tall rails that served to

keep the platform for the seat securely in place while it traveled down the ramp. In addition,

there were 7.6 cm (3 in) tall guards attached to each rail in order to provide an extra level of

safety (Figure 3-3). The ramp was comprised of two segments. The final 2.44 m (8 ft) section of

the ramp was held in place with four steel cables attached to the floor in order to prevent

rearward movement of the ramp during impact. At the end of the flat segment was an

immovable stopping apparatus, consisting of a wooden barrier (Figure 3-2).

Seat Platform

The car seat, extracted from a 2001 Toyota Corolla, was securely bolted to a platform that

measured 0.9144 m (3 ft) wide by 0.9144 m (3 ft) long by 0.305 m (1 ft) deep. There was also

an extension on the platform so the participants could rest their feet (Figure 3-1). The extension

was the same height relative to the seat as the floor of an automobile. The platform utilized two

rows of four Rollerblade 76 mm wheels with SG5 bearings (Nordica, Treviso, Italy), placed on

the outside of the platform (Figure 3-1). In addition, there was an interior compartment that

allowed for an addition of weight to the platform. This functioned to lower the center of gravity

of the platform and prevent backward rotation upon impact. The compartment also allowed the

testers to normalize the weight of the platform across subjects.

Instrumentation

A tri-axial accelerometer (Model CXL10GP3, Crossbow, San Jose, CA) was used to

capture acceleration measurements of the head. The accelerometer was connected to EVa Real-

Time software (Motion Analysis Corporation, Santa Rosa, California). All acceleration data was

sampled at 1000 Hz. Data was exported into Microsoft Office Excel 2003 (Microsoft, Redmond,

WA) for reduction. Statistica version 5 (Statsoft Inc., Tulsa, OK) was used for statistical

analyses.









LIST OF TABLES

Table page

4-1 P participant characteristics .................................................................... .................... 4 1

4-2 Acceleration data for time motion analysis ........................................ .............. 41









fractures are more serious than flexion injuries, it is fair to conclude that low velocity rear end

collisions create a much higher probability for whiplash injuries than low velocity frontal

impacts.

Relationship Between Selected Velocity and Injury Tolerance

Most WAD injuries occur when there is a change in velocity between 6.2 mph and 12.5

mph.27 In previous studies testing human subjects at a velocity of five mph, no subject

experienced WAD symptoms lasting more than three days, and there was no recurrence of pain

at any point in the future. Primary complaints consisted of muscle pain, headache, and other

cervical symptoms.4'12,13,16 In addition, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the primary

government crash test agency, uses a velocity of five mph to test vehicles for resistance to low

speed crash damage. Therefore, in order to protect the participants as much as possible, five

mph was chosen as the test velocity. The second reason for selecting five mph as the velocity

was to ensure that the defined motion of whiplash occurred. If the change in velocity of the

vehicle were too low, the forces required for the head to undergo the five phases of motion

previously described would not be sufficient. Previously, West et al. tested at three mph or less

and reported that the rearward displacement of the head following impact was not large enough

to classify the motion as a typical whiplash movement.12

Influence of Occupant Awareness during a Crash

Occupant awareness, or the anticipation of an impending impact, not only changes the

motion of the head and neck during a rear-end collision, but it can also change the likelihood of a

whiplash injury. The main factors that create awareness during a rear-end collision are the

screeching of the tires from the vehicle behind and seeing the car behind in the mirrors of the

vehicle. The most common reaction of drivers when they anticipate a collision is to contract the

muscles in the neck. Participants in studies who were instructed to anticipate the impending








Horizotal and Vertical Acceleration


- Horizontal
- Vertical


1 301 601


901 1201 1501 1801 2101 2401


Time (ms)


Figure 4-2. Horizontal and vertical acceleration for participant three, 1000, trial one. For
horizontal acceleration, values above and below the baseline represent anterior and
posterior acceleration of the head, respectively. For vertical acceleration, values
above and below the baseline represent downward and upward acceleration,
respectively.


1250

1150

1050

950

850

750


P1~-


~"~.~Lbal



















Figure 3-4. Accelerometer and mouthpiece.






Sample Horizontal Acceleration


1300

1200

1100

1000


900


1001


2001


3001


4001


5001


6001


Time elapsed (ms)


Figure 3-5. Sample horizontal acceleration graph- the vertical axis is measured in millivolts and
the horizontal axis is measured in milliseconds.


s"









TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A CK N O W LED G M EN T S ................................................................. ........... ............. .....

L IS T O F T A B L E S ................................................................................. 7

LIST OF FIGURES .................................. .. ..... ..... ................. .8

L IST O F A B B R E V IA TIO N S ............................ .............................................. ....................... 9

A B S T R A C T ................................ ............................................................ 10

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION ............... .......................................................... 12

2 R E V IEW O F L ITER A TU R E .................................................................... ... ....................14

W h ip la sh ................... ............................................................ ................ 1 4
W hiplash Stages ........................................... ........................... 14
Injury M mechanism .......... .................................................................... .. ........ ....17
Specific Injuries Caused by Whiplash and Associated Symptoms .............................18
Prevalence of Whiplash Injuries in Society ......................................... ...............21
Automobile Characteristics Contributing to Injury ..................................... ...............22
S e at A n g le .............................................................................2 2
H eadrest F unction and P position ............................................................ .....................23
S e a t B e lt ..........................................................................................2 5
Crash Factors Affecting Injury ....................................... ... .................................25
Comparison of Body Kinematics during Rear-End Collisions and Frontal Impacts ......25
Relationship Between Selected Velocity and Injury Tolerance................. ............26
Influence of Occupant Awareness during a Crash ............................... .....................26
D em graphics of Selected Participants ........................................................... .....................27
Human Subjects Compared to Anthropomorphic Dummies and Cadavers ..................27
Likelihood of Injury in M ales and Fem ales ............................ .... ......... ......... .........28
Effect of A ge on Injury Susceptibility........................................................................... 29

3 M E T H O D S ......................................................................................................3 1

P a rtic ip a n ts ....................................................................................................................... 3 1
E xperim mental A pparatu s .............................................................................. ..................... 3 1
R a m p ................... ................... ...................1..........
S eat P latfo rm .............................................................................3 2
Instrum entation ......... ..................................... ...........................32
P ro c e d u re .............. .... ............................................................... 3 3
D ata A analysis ................................................... 34









intersegmental dynamics of the neck, including vertebral interaction and muscle responses,

cannot be reproduced in anthropomorphic dummies.1l The final reason these dummies cannot be

used for this type of research is the lack of a pain response. When studying whiplash, analysis of

pain is an extremely vital part in analyzing what has happened to the anatomical structures

affected.4 Because the dummies are unable to give verbal feedback about pain, injuries

associated with whiplash are very difficult to study when using dummies as subjects.

Another substitute for in vivo human testing has been the use of human cadavers. This

method also has very serious drawbacks when applied to low velocity impacts. As opposed to

high-speed research where cause of death is usually the desired information, low speed impacts

present much more subtle and complicated questions such as the role of muscle activity in the

neck in preventing injury.4'11 Obviously, a cadaver has no muscle response and therefore cannot

produce accurate results.

Likelihood of Injury in Males and Females

Although whiplash injuries affect both males and females, it has been widely reported

that women are more susceptible to whiplash injuries, and the associated WAD symptoms last

for a longer period of time when compared to men.7'1114,24'26'42-55 In fact, women have a 40%

higher risk than men of sustaining these injuries.26 This increased risk can be attributed to

several factors. The first factor is a greater ratio of head mass to neck circumference. This ratio,

represented by the cube of the head circumference divided by the square of the neck

circumference, places a greater demand on the muscles of the neck for female occupants.4 The

increased muscular demand causes the incidence of whiplash injuries to increase. The next

factor contributing to the higher incidence of injury in females is the difference in the alignment

of the cervical spine between male and female occupants. The female spine is more prone to

kyphosis, or a curvature of the upper spine.7 Because the spine is not aligned in a straight









APPENDIX A
MEDICAL HEALTH QUESTIONNAIRE

Subject Number:
Age: (must be between 18 and 35 to be eligible)
Height:
Weight:
Sex: M/ F

Please answer yes or no to questions #1-11. If you answer "yes" to any of the following
questions (1-7,10), you will not be eligible for this study. If you answered "no" to questions 8 or
9, you will not be eligible for this study.

1. Have you ever had a spinal injury of any kind?
2. Do you suffer from severe headaches or migraines?
3. Do you currently have any injury to your neck or back?
4. Have you ever had "whiplash" before?
5. Have you ever had a herniated disc or any other disc injury?
6. Do you suffer form dizziness?
7. Are you currently taking any pain medications?
8. Do you have a pain-free range of motion of your cervical spine?
9. Can you move your neck freely in all directions?
10. Do you suffer from any long standing neck pain?
11. Please list any other medical problems that you think would prevent you from participating.









impact with the wooden barrier. Although there was no electromyographic data collected, the

initiation of the horizontal and vertical acceleration can be approximated from the time motion

analysis (Figure 4-2). This indicates that the participant was anticipating the impending impact,

as this delay is insufficient for a reflex response.7

When discussing differences in acceleration among seat positions, the horizontal

acceleration of the head should be determined by the time it takes for the stopping forces of the

muscles and headrest to arrest all horizontal motion, assuming the same Av of five mph

(acceleration = Av / At). Because the 1000 seat back angle creates less horizontal distance from

the back of the head to the headrest, when compared to a 1300 seat back angle, it is fair to

conclude that the time it takes for the head to make contact with the headrest is shorter. Because

of this, the muscles have less time to react and all or most of the forces created by the impact

must be dissipated by the headrest in a shorter time, thus creating higher peak acceleration

values. However, a higher peak acceleration value does not necessarily mean that there will be a

higher risk of WAD injuries. A key factor that determines injury is the mechanism used to

decelerate the head. The muscles and headrest both act to stop the motion of the head, but the

contributions of each cannot be calculated from the acceleration data collected during this study.

However, the contribution of pain in conjunction with the acceleration data may provide some

insight and will be discussed later.

Vertical Acceleration

The vertical acceleration data showed no significance when comparing peak acceleration

across the three seat positions. During the trial chosen for analysis, the temporal presentation of

the vertical acceleration was very different than the horizontal acceleration and was most likely

representative of the other data collected. According to Figure 4-2, the vertical acceleration









most common, are also the shortest lasting, with a maximum healing time of two to three weeks,

while many times resolving in just a few days.2 The final major structures contributing to

whiplash injuries are the ligaments, specifically the anterior longitudinal ligament. Anatomical

studies have shown that the anterior longitudinal ligament and the annulus fibrosis of the anterior

intervertebral discs in the cervical vertebrae merge together, thus anterior longitudinal ligament

injuries and disc injuries are often associated together. Injuries to this ligament occur only

during the extension phase of the whiplash motion, and are characterized by a partial tear or

complete rupture of the ligament.2 In summary, although there are other sources of injury during

whiplash, the vast majority of whiplash injuries are directly related to the facet joints,

intervertebral discs, and anterior ligaments of the cervical vertebrae.

With these very specific injuries come various symptoms. Symptoms of WAD include

pain in the neck or shoulder region, dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, concentration and

memory disturbances, and paraesthesia, or tingling and numbness in the hands.2'14-16 Neck pain

is the most reported complaint among individuals who report whiplash injuries. This pain is

reported in the anterior and posterior portion of the neck, although posterior pain is the dominant

complaint. This pain can come in several forms. The two most common forms are dull and

aching and sharp pain. Both forms are exacerbated with movement and many times movement is

restricted due to stiffness.2 Previous studies using similar speeds to the current study have shown

that neck pain, if any is present, has resolved within four days.6'7'12'13'17-19 Due to the complexity

and multitude of possible causes of injury, the exact correlation between types of neck pain and

type of crash is not completely understood. The second most frequently reported symptom

reported is headaches. The most likely causes of these headaches are the upper three cervical

nerves originating from the first, second, and third cervical vertebrae. Afferents from these three









to better understand these injuries; however each method has its own limitations. These methods

include cadaver experiments, animal experiments, and radiographic studies. Cadaver

experiments utilize the same anatomy, but do not demonstrate the same muscular response as a

live human being. Animal experiments provide a live subject, but differences in anatomy and

body size provide limiting factors. Finally, radiographic studies show injuries in live human

beings, but they do not allow for first-hand examination of the affected structures. Even if the

patient requires surgery for the injury sustained, it is generally much later and the anatomy

during surgery may be different than it was directly after the crash.2

Generally, injuries to the musculature of the neck are short lived, while injuries to

intervertebral discs, facet joints, and cervical ligaments usually cause chronic neck pain. Injuries

to the facet joints, including fractures and tears of the joint capsules, are fairly common and can

cause chronic pain. Many times, this pain is due to a missed diagnosis resulting from an inability

or difficulty to see the injury on a typical X-ray or MRI. Disc injuries are also common, but are

easier to diagnose, as they are generally more common in the medical community and are easier

to detect from an MRI. The two most common varieties of disc injuries are a separation of the

disc from the vertebra and an anterior rupture due to compression of the posterior spine during

extension.2 Muscle injuries, specifically tears and strains, are the most common injuries suffered

by individuals with whiplash. This is due to the sequence of events of a whiplash injury. The

muscles act as a protective mechanism to the other structures that could potentially be involved.

They are the first structure that resists the motion of the head, thus they undergo the greatest

stress. Muscles will undergo mild injury in order to keep the spine aligned and free of injury. It

is only when the muscles can no longer withstand the acceleration and resultant forces of the

head that the other structures become susceptible to injury.6 Muscle injuries, while being the









impact prior to contact with the headrest, the force will be transmitted to other anatomical

structures. The muscles will no longer be able to resist the extension motion of the cervical spine

and more serious hyperextension injuries become more likely.

Limitations

This project had limitations that should be addressed while interpreting the results and for

designing future studies. Due to injury risk, only males between the ages of 18 and 35 were

approved to participate by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Florida, thus it

cannot be assumed that the results apply to the whole population. Second, there was no plausible

way to ensure that the participants were relaxed prior to impact. Because the platform was

rolling backwards into a fixed barrier, the participant could predict when the impact would occur.

This is supported by the time motion analysis of the selected trial. There are several ways to

correct this in the future. Electromyographic recording devices for the musculature of the neck

could be used to determine exactly when the muscles fired relative to impact. In addition, the

barrier could move forward into a stationary seat platform with all visual and auditory cues

removed from the environment. This technique could be combined with random dummy trials,

or trials in which there is no contact between the barrier and the platform. Third, sample size is a

concern. A larger sample size would produce more reliable results. Fourth, only one seat model

was used. For better results, seats from all major car manufacturers could have been used. Fifth,

only three angles were tested during this study. To truly determine the best combination of

comfort and safety, seat positions in increments of 50 should be tested in further studies. Sixth,

the headrest was at the maximum height for all subjects. Due to differences in height among the

participants it cannot be assumed that all participants made contact with the same part of the

headrest. Finally, the apparatus could have been substituted with real automobiles to create a

true bumper to bumper impact.









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Low velocity rear-end collisions are considered to be minor in severity, however they are

very common and they represent a financial burden to society.1 The injuries caused by these

collisions can be classified under one common disorder known as whiplash associated disorder

(WAD). These injuries include vertebral and spinal injuries and muscle strains.2 Although the

injuries related to rear-end collisions are known, the causes are still under investigation.

"Whiplash" is characterized by a sudden and forceful extension of the neck followed by a less

severe flexion of the neck. The motion associated with whiplash injuries has been broken into

five separate phases. Included are the initial response, principal forward acceleration, torso

recovery, head deceleration, and restitution phases.3 Phases that involve extension of the neck

typically cause injuries to the anterior musculature of the neck, intervertebral discs, posterior

vertebral structures, and the anterior longitudinal ligament. Extension occurs during the first two

phases. Flexion of the neck causes less severe injuries including posterior muscle strains and

herniated discs and occurs during the third and fourth phases of the whiplash motion.2

Previous research in this area has focused on factors such as change in velocity, headrest

position, occupant awareness, and gender. However, research in the area of seat orientation has

been limited. Based on the geometry of an automobile seat and the natural seated position of the

occupant, changing the angle of the seat back could create a change in body position and

occupant kinematics, specifically the acceleration that the head undergoes. It is also possible that

a change in acceleration could create a variation in the risk of injury during a low velocity rear-

end collision. The purpose of the current study is to determine whether the angle of the seat back

will contribute to the peak acceleration experienced by the head during a low velocity rear-end

collision. In addition, pain felt by the participant after the collision will be assessed and









Seat Belt

Previous studies have shown that an anthropomorphic dummy was adequately retained

by the seat in rear-end impacts up to 14.3 mph.30'31 In order for a seat belt to be required and

effective, the forward excursion of the torso must be large enough to lock the seatbelt. In the

current study, the movement of the torso would not have caused this to happen. Therefore, it

was determined that a seat belt would have little to no effect on the kinematics of the head or the

torso during the collision.

Crash Factors Affecting Injury

Comparison of Body Kinematics during Rear-End Collisions and Frontal Impacts

The motion of the body during rear end and frontal impacts has similarities, however the

motion during rear end impacts is responsible for the vast majority of recorded whiplash

injuries.16,20,21 Frontal impacts are defined as having a direction of force between eleven o'clock

and one o'clock with direct contact to the front of the car. During frontal impacts, the accepted

motion of whiplash is not present, thus the injuries are generally less severe and less frequent.

The first motion of the neck during a frontal impact is flexion, which is followed by a less severe

extension motion. Furthermore, at a velocity of five mph, the likelihood of a hyperextension

injury becomes very small. This is due to the dissipation of force from the posterior musculature

of the neck and possible contact between the sternum and chin. As the first motion is the most

severe in terms of acceleration, extension injuries during frontal impacts occur with much less

regularity and generally occur in higher velocity crashes.32 This is opposite to the motion that

takes place during a rear end collision. In this type of collision, extension of the neck is the first

motion and it is followed by flexion.3'6'7 Because the first motion is more severe than the second,

the anatomical structures involved with hyperextension injuries become much more susceptible,

and because hyperextension injuries such as ligament ruptures, herniated discs, and vertebral









The third phase of the whiplash motion, or the torso recovery and forward head

acceleration phase also lasts approximately 100 ms.3'6'7 During this phase, the head and neck

undergo flexion and the torso and the seat back begin to return to their pre-impact positions. The

torso achieves a velocity that exceeds the velocity of the vehicle, thus creating the forward

motion of the torso (Figure 2-1D).3'6 However, the velocity of the head is significantly higher

than the velocity of the vehicle and the acceleration is usually two to three times that of the

vehicle.3'7-12 This relative increase of velocity and acceleration creates a flexion motion of the

neck. During this phase, the muscle activity of the neck continues, however the posterior neck

muscles are placed under more stress due to their resistance of the forward flexion motion. The

most involved muscle is the trapezius.3'6'7

The fourth phase also lasts approximately 100 ms,3'6'7 and is called the head deceleration

phase.3 In this phase, the head finishes the forward flexion motion while the musculature

decelerates the head, and the head begins to return to the pre-impact position.3'6 During this

phase, the upper cervical vertebrae are in extension while the lower cervical vertebrae are in

flexion (Figure 2-1E).6 If the impact is severe enough, the head will be stopped by the chest

through contact with the anterior portion of the mandible, or chin. Otherwise, the posterior

musculature of the neck will be primarily responsible for the end of the forward movement. If

injuries are present in the posterior musculature of the neck, it is due to phases three and four.

Finally, the torso continues its return to its pre-impact position.3'6

The fifth and final phase, or the restitution phase,3 consists of the body and head finishing

their progression to the pre-impact position and is characterized by the ceasing of muscle activity

in the neck (Figure 2-1F). This phase is generally the longest phase lasting 150 to 200 ms.3'6'13









cause the occupant's head to rise above the headrest, assuming that the headrest is present and

raised to the appropriate height for the occupant.3

The second phase of the motion is called the principal forward acceleration.3 This phase

lasts approximately 100 ms.3'6'7 At the beginning of this phase, the seat back has reached

maximum deflection3'6 and the head and neck undergo an extension motion.3'6'7 The head moves

backward relative to the torso due to its inertia while accelerating and rotating in the rearward

direction. This rotation can be stopped by the head restraint or by the anatomical structures of

the spine and the neck, if the head restraint is ineffective. In addition, the body continues the

ramping up motion and there is an arching of the torso due to the extension of the spine. The

spine reaches maximum extension during this phase (Figure 2-1C).6 Compression injuries to the

posterior structures of the cervical spine, if present, are a result of this phase.2 The next

significant occurrence in this phase is the activation of the anterior musculature of the neck. This

musculature, specifically the SCM, is actively resisting the abrupt backward motion of the

head.6'7 Due to the time it takes for the nerve impulse to reach the muscle, this peak muscle

activation occurs approximately 70-100 ms after the rearward motion of the head begins. It is

also worth noting that the muscles may not reach peak activity before this phase ends. If the

muscles never reach peak activity, the risk for injury to the muscles goes down. Factors

including crash severity and horizontal distance between the headrest and the back of the head

can significantly alter the amount of time and the risk of injury during this phase. The angle of

the seat back is directly related to the horizontal distance between the back of the head and the

headrest. More specifically, as the angle of inclination increases so does the horizontal distance.

Therefore, as the angle of the seat increases, the time before contact with the headrest also

increases.









1.11 g's in combination with a downward acceleration of 0.35 g's (Table 4-2). The anterior

musculature of the neck, specifically the SCM, was responsible for slowing the head down.

Although the net vertical acceleration was downwards, the musculature was acting to accelerate

the head upward, against the motion of the head, however the force of the impact was larger than

the muscle force. This combination created a net downward force and acceleration. The next

point of interest is at 87 ms after initiation of horizontal acceleration and is also in phase two. It

is at this moment that the head made initial contact with the headrest. Notable occurrences

include a transition from downward to upward vertical acceleration and a continuing increase in

the horizontal acceleration. The third major point during phase two was 100 ms after initiation

of the horizontal acceleration and represented the peak horizontal acceleration throughout the

entire trial. This point also represents the end of phase two. Perhaps the most important time

span during this phase was the 13 ms in which the head was in contact with the headrest. It was

during this short time that the head experienced the most severe g forces in all dimensions.

However, the headrest is primarily responsible for these high g forces, thus WAD injuries during

contact with the headrest are unlikely. In addition, the g forces are not high enough to cause

significant intracranial injury.

Phase three was characterized by far less severe g forces. The first notable point in phase

three occurs at 153 ms. Horizontal acceleration has just crossed zero g's and is now 0.01 g's in a

backward direction, meaning that the posterior musculature has been activated and is attempting

to terminate the forward motion of the head created by the rebound off of the headrest, thus

producing a backward acceleration. Vertical acceleration at this point is 0.3861 g's downward.

The peak horizontal acceleration occurred 180 ms after the initial horizontal acceleration, or 80









Finally, the anterior structures of the vertebrae and neck could stretch beyond their elastic limit

or the vertebral body could fracture. These anterior structures include muscles, the anterior

longitudinal ligament of the cervical vertebrae, and the intervertebral discs.2

During the flexion phase the opposite occurs. Compressive forces are now applied to the

anterior anatomy and tensile forces are applied to the posterior anatomy of the cervical spine.

The main structures involved in this phase are the intervertebral discs and vertebral bodies in the

anterior portion and the facet joint capsules along with the posterior neck muscles in the

posterior portion. The most common injuries during the flexion phase are ruptured discs,

vertebral body fractures, and muscle and ligament strains.2

The final and least likely source of injury during low velocity rear-end collisions are

shear forces resulting from the horizontal motion of the body during the crash. Assuming a near-

vertical position of the spine before the collision, horizontal forces will be transmitted parallel to

the intervertebral discs. These forces can cause injury to the facet joint capsules and the anterior

portion of the intervertebral discs. Based on the anatomy of the cervical vertebrae, the facet joint

capsules experience compression from shear forces and the anterior portion of the intervertebral

discs experiences a tensile force due to the backward motion of the superior vertebra.2

Specific Injuries Caused by Whiplash and Associated Symptoms

As previously mentioned, the body parts most affected by whiplash injuries are the

musculature of the neck and cervical vertebrae and surrounding structures. Injuries involving

these structures can either be short lived or chronic, and are generally classified as WAD.14

However, because these injuries are non-fatal, no formal pathological studies can be done to

determine exact causes or locations of injury. As medical technology becomes more advanced,

accuracy of diagnosis is becoming better, but these injuries will probably never be as well

understood as more serious, fatal injuries. To date, many types of studies have been performed









HEAD ACCELERATION AND ASSOCIATED PAIN FELT IN THE NECK REGION
DURING A SIMULATED AUTOMOBILE LOW VELOCITY REAR-END COLLISION AS A
FUNCTION OF SEAT BACK ANGLE




















By

MARTIN CHARLES HILLIER


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2008









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13. McConnell WE, Howard RP, Guzman HM, Bomar JB, Raddian JH, Bendict V, Smith HL,
Hatsell CP. Analysis of human test subject kinematic responses to low velocity rear end
impacts. SAE paper No 930889 1993.









A acceleration of the H ead ..................................................................... .... ...................34
P ain S cale ................................................ ..................... .. .. .... 3 5
Statistical A analysis ............................................... 35
A acceleration of the H ead ..................................................................... .... ...................35
P ain S c a le ................................................................3 5

4 R E S U L T S .......................................................................... 3 8

Participants .........................................38
Horizontal Acceleration................... ............... 38
V vertical A acceleration ................................................................................ 38
Resultant A acceleration ............................................ 38
T im e M option A naly sis .................................................................39
Pain Scale............... ............................................ ........ 40

5 D IS C U S S IO N ........................................................................................................4 6

H orizontal Acceleration ............................................ 46
Vertical Acceleration .................. .................. ......................... ........ .. ........ 47
R esultant A acceleration ......... ............................................................................ ...... .. .. 48
Tim e M option Analysis.............. ... .............................. ........... 49
P ain ......................... .. ............. ... ...... ...... .... .. 5 1
Limitations ................................. ....... ...... .......................... .. 52
C onclu sions..... ..........................................................53

APPENDIX

A MEDICAL HEALTH QUESTIONNAIRE ....................................................................54

B SO R E N E SS SC A L E ..................................................................................... .............. .. 55

LIST OF REFERENCES .................. ..................................... ..... ................... 56

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H ...............................................................................................61


















6









nerves terminate in the cervical portion of the trigeminal nucleus, located in the caudal region.

Because the ophthalmic portion of the trigeminal nucleus is also in the caudal region, pain from

C1-C3 is usually referred to the orbital and temporal regions. This referred pain is the most

likely cause for headaches related to the whiplash motion.2 Previous studies at or near the speed

used in the current study show that headaches, if present, resolved within two days.4'19 Other

headaches that could originate would result from concussion or intracranial hemorrhage,

however during a low velocity collision these types of injuries are extremely unlikely.

Paraesthesia, another symptom reported by whiplash patients, is caused by compression of the

nerves of the brachial plexus by the surrounding anatomical structures including muscles. The

other symptoms relating to whiplash, including dizziness, blurred vision, and concentration and

memory disturbances, have not been sufficiently explained in the current research.2

Prevalence of Whiplash Injuries in Society

Whiplash injuries, although minor in severity, are a major health problem around the

world and they create a huge economic burden to insurance companies, hospitals, and the

patients affected by these injuries. In general, whiplash injuries are most likely to occur when the

vehicle is involved in a rear-end impact with speeds less than 12.5 mph.4'16'20 The injuries are

usually classified as minor on the abbreviated injury scale, otherwise known as AIS 1 injuries.

However, the frequency of permanent disability is about 10%. This is extremely high when

compared to other AIS 1 classified injuries, which have a permanent disability rate of only

0.1%.1 Thus, injuries related to whiplash are 100 times more likely to produce permanent

disability than other injuries of similar severity.

In addition to having a relatively high rate of disability, these injuries are also very

common, as neck strains and sprains associated with whiplash are the most serious injuries

reported by 40 % of automobile accident claimants in the United States.11 This percentage

















0.457 meters


0.914 meters


Figure 3-1. Automobile seat mounted on a rolling platform.


SI0.61 meters


2 44 meters -4.57 meters


Figure 3-2. Ramp and stopping apparatus.


jIL a;* 0.019 meters


I 0.076 meters
I1J 0.019 meters


Figure 3-3. Guard rails on ramp.


0.79
meters


=


l









ms after phase three began and had a value of 0.5816 g's. It is also at this time that phase three

was completed.

The final point of interest occurs 269 ms after initial horizontal acceleration and is in

phase four. The head had passed its equilibrium, or upright, point and was forced into slight

extension. Peak horizontal acceleration was 0.40 g's forward and peak vertical acceleration was

0.56 g's upward.

Overall, the results of this time motion analysis were comparable to previous work done

by McConnell, et al.13 The impact speed of both trials was very similar, and the overall motion

of the head during this study seemed to follow the previously defined five stage motion

associated with whiplash.3'6'7

Pain

Using the pain data in conjunction with the horizontal and resultant acceleration data, one

can infer that the muscles were contributing more during the trials with the seat reclined to 130.

This is because there were significant differences in overall pain ratings when comparing 1000

with 130 and when comparing 1150 with 130 (Figure 4-4), with the higher pain rating means

corresponding to the higher seat angles. Therefore, the increased time allowed the muscle to

increase its contribution and spread the force more equally among the muscles and headrest,

creating pain in some participants, while decreasing the headrest's contribution. The pain data

also show that the 1300 seat position was the only position that demonstrated a significant

difference in pain from one day post-test to three days post-test, which would suggest a more

significant muscle injury and increased muscle contribution during the testing at 1300. Other

structures, such as the vertebrae, intervertebral discs, and ligaments are also at increased risk

when the seat is more reclined. If the muscles are unable to absorb the complete force of the












Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

HEAD ACCELERATION AND ASSOCIATED PAIN FELT IN THE NECK REGION
DURING A SIMULATED AUTOMOBILE LOW VELOCITY REAR-END COLLISION AS A
FUNCTION OF SEAT BACK ANGLE

By

Martin Charles Hillier

May 2008

Chair: Mark Tillman
Major: Applied Physiology and Kinesiology

The angle of the seat back is an important factor in head acceleration and pain felt during

a low velocity rear-end collision. Ten male volunteers with a mean age of 22.40 2.37 years,

mean height of 1.79 0.035 m, and mean mass of 81.92 11.51 kg were exposed to impacts

designed to replicate this type of collision in a lab setting. The change in velocity for each

impact was approximately 8 kph (5 mph). The variable during the study was the angle of the

seat back. Three seat back angles consisting of 1000, 1150, and 130 from horizontal were

tested. In general, as the angle of the seat back increased, the peak horizontal, vertical, and

resultant accelerations decreased. More specifically, significant differences were detected for the

horizontal accelerations with increased values for 1000 when compared to 1150 and 1300. There

was no significance difference observed when comparing the vertical accelerations across the

three seat angles. The resultant acceleration showed significant differences when comparing

130 to 1000 and 1150, with the lower acceleration occurring in the 130 seat position in both

cases. Conversely, pain increased significantly as the angle increased. The 1300 seat position

had significantly higher pain ratings when compared to the 1000 and 1150 seat positions.









BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Martin Charles Hillier was born in 1981, in Abbekerk, Netherlands. He was raised by

English parents and lived in Holland until the age of five, when he moved to New Jersey. Martin

immediately became involved in soccer, a life-long love. At the age of 10 Martin moved to Boca

Raton, Florida, where he spent the next eight years of his life. While there, he attended Spanish

River High School where he excelled in athletics and academics. Martin was later accepted into

the University of Florida, where he spent his college years, without a doubt the years that defined

him as a person. While there he graduated with a B.S. in exercise and sport sciences and an M.S.

in applied physiology and kinesiology. Martin also has an older sister and a younger sister who

attends or has attended the University of Florida. His other sibling, Robert, is training to be a

law enforcement officer. Martin's years in Gainesville were most memorable because of his

wife. He met Jill Megan Binkley on July 4, 2002, and they were married on July 8, 2006.

Martin and Jill currently live in Saint Augustine, Florida. They are both teachers and they are

avid travelers. Jill teaches 4th grade and Martin teaches IB physics. Jill plans to return to

Gainesville to earn her doctorate degree and Martin plans to become involved in the accident

reconstruction field in the near future.











Table 4-1. Participant characteristics
Participant Age (years)


21
21
21
25
23
22
22
19
28
22
22.40 2.37


Mean SD


Height (m)
1.85
1.83
1.78
1.83
1.75
1.80
1.78
1.75
1.78
1.75
1.79 0.035


Mass (kg)
90.7
70.3
76.2
96.2
85.7
78.0
102.5
69.4
84.4
65.8
81.92 11.51


Table 4-2. Acceleration data for time motion analysis
Time Phase of Horizontal Vertical Resultant
(ms) motion acceleration acceleration acceleration
(6) (6) (6)


Angle (o)


50 2 -1.1122 -0.3465 1.1649 17.3 below negative x-axis
75 2 -1.2755 -0.9406 1.5848 36.4 below negative x-axis
100 End of 2 -2.4490 1.1485 2.7049 25.1 above negative x-axis
125 3 -0.5306 1.9010 1.9737 74.4 above negative x-axis
153 3 0.0102 -0.3861 0.3862 88.5 below positive x-axis
180 End of 3 0.5816 -0.3564 0.6821 31.5 below positive x-axis
269 4 -0.3980 0.5644 0.6906 54.8 above negative x-axis
Note: For horizontal data, negative was defined as forward acceleration. For vertical data,
negative was defined as downward acceleration.









LIST OF FIGURES

Figure page

2-1 Stages of whiplash m option. ......................................................................... 30

3-1 Automobile seat mounted on a rolling platform. .................................. ................36

3-2 Ram p and stopping apparatus. ............................................... ............................ 36

3-3 G uard rails on ram p. .......................................................................36

3-4 Accelerom eter and m outhpiece ......................................................... ............. 37

3-5 Sam ple horizontal acceleration graph................................................... .................... 37

4-1 Mean horizontal, vertical, and resultant acceleration for all angles.............. ..............42

4-2 Horizontal and vertical acceleration for participant three, 1000, trial one......................43

4-3 Time-motion analysis for participant three, 1000, trial one...........................................44

4-4 M ean pain ratings at each seat position. ................................................ .................... 45

4-5 Mean pain rating interaction with seat position and time..............................................45









torso may be an important factor contributing to the differences in force felt by the anatomical

structures of the neck. When the seat is reclined past 900, the neck is forced into flexion,

subsequently creating a larger angle through which the head must move, and possibly creating a

larger end velocity of the third phase of the whiplash motion. Therefore, when the muscles

activate to decelerate the head during this motion, it is also possible that the inertial forces

exerted by the muscles of the neck are greater from a flexed position when compared to an

upright position. If this increase in force exceeds the injury threshold, the increase in seat back

angle would create injury where there would be no injury from a more upright-seated position.

In addition, if the seat is more upright, the distance between the back of the head and the headrest

reduces. Therefore, the time between backward cervical rotation and contact between the head

and headrest will be reduced. This topic will be discussed further in a later section.

The final factor that is affected by the position of the setback is an aforementioned

motion referred to as ramping up. This motion is characterized by an upward movement of the

body along the setback during a rear-end collision. If the motion is significant enough, the head

will move above the headrest, thus eliminating the effectiveness of the headrest and increasing

the risk of injury due to hyperextension. However, having a more upright seat position decreases

this motion and should also decrease the risk of pain or injury. The variable manipulated in the

present study was the angle of the seat back and how it contributed to the acceleration of the

head during the whiplash motion and the pain felt in the musculature of the neck.

Headrest Function and Position

The headrest of a car seat has been proven to be effective in the reduction of injuries

during a low velocity rear-end collision when used in the correct manner.1,24-26 The primary

function of the head restraint is to limit the amount of rearward motion, or extension, that the

neck undergoes during a rear-end collision. If used properly, the head restraint is designed to






























2008 Martin Charles Hillier










Time Motion Analysis


125 (1.974)

100 (2.705)___


269 (0.691)



I50(116 I5)
50 (1.165) ^^^ ^


2.5
2

1.5


S0.5
i O0

| -0.5
-1
-1.5


153 (0.386) 180 (0.682)
I


-3 -2.5 -2 -1.5 -1


-0.5 0 0.5 1


Horizontal acceleration (g)

Figure 4-3. Time-motion analysis for participant three, 1000, trial one. The first number
represents time in milliseconds after impact. The number in parentheses is the
resultant acceleration value at that time.


75 (1.585)









phase two of the whiplash motion. The first sub-phase is prior to contact with the headrest and

the second is initiated with contact between the head and headrest and terminated when rearward

rotation ceases. What occurs during the first sub-phase may be crucial to the injury risk

encountered by the driver and the front row passenger. During this study, the overall Av was the

same for all trials. However, the final velocity before impact with the headrest, or the initial

velocity upon impact with the headrest, was most likely different across the seat positions. As

the head was moving backwards and downwards relative to the body, the 1300 seat angle could

have allowed the muscles to reach higher activity levels due to the increased horizontal distance

and time required, and thus would create a lower final velocity before impact when comparing to

the 1000 seat angle. The lower final velocity is simply due to the increased deceleration caused

by the muscle force. Because the initial velocity on impact with the headrest is lower at the 1300

seat angle, the deceleration created by the headrest will be reduced while the deceleration created

by the musculature is increased. Conversely, if the seat is in the 1000 position, the resultant peak

acceleration is higher, but the headrest contributes more retarding force and the muscles

contribute a lower retarding force. Therefore, in accordance with previous work, the headrest

should be as close to the back of the head as possible in order to avoid hyperextension injuries of

the neck. 1,14,19,22,24,26,27

Time Motion Analysis

The main function of the time motion analysis was to verify the motion of the head

throughout the whiplash motion during this study. As seen in Figure 4-3, the direction and

magnitude of acceleration was constantly changing throughout the motion. The first point

selected was 65 and 50 ms after initiation of the vertical and horizontal accelerations,

respectively, and occurred during phase two. At this time, the head had a forward acceleration of









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This project would not have been possible without my supervisory committee. In

particular, I would like to thank Dr. Mark Tillman for all of his guidance and support. His

advice and encouragement made this possible. Next, I would like to thank Dr. John Chow. Dr.

Chow was instrumental throughout my career at the University of Florida and he taught me

many of the concepts regarding biomechanics. I would also like to thank Dr. Jim Ipser for his

financial support and for sharing his wealth of knowledge in the fields of car crash safety and

physics. Next, I thank Dr. Ronald Siders and Kim Fournier for contributing their time and effort

to help make this a success. In addition, I send a sincere thank you to my family and my wife for

their support throughout this long and arduous process. Their understanding and sacrifice is

more than I could ask for. Finally, I thank the subjects who participated in my study.









CHAPTER 3
METHODS

Participants

Ten participants were tested. All participants were males between the ages of 18 and 35.

Participants were recruited from the student population of the University of Florida. Each

participant was required to read and sign an informed consent agreement approved by the

Institutional Review Board of the University of Florida prior to participation. In addition, each

participant was required to fill out a medical health questionnaire (Appendix A). Each

participant was involved in three testing sessions, spaced at least two weeks apart in order to rule

out any potential discomfort from the previous session. During each testing session, each

participant was subjected to three trials that involved one rear-end impact per trial at a velocity of

five mph. The only difference between testing sessions was the angle of the seat back.

Exclusion criteria included female gender, previous spinal injury, history of severe headaches or

migraines, current injuries to the neck or back, previous whiplash injuries, previous diagnosis of

a herniated disc or any other disc injury, and history of dizziness.

Experimental Apparatus

Ramp

In order to simulate a low velocity rear end collision each participant sat on a car seat

mounted to a rolling platform (Figure 3-1) that was released and allowed to roll backwards down

a wooden ramp until colliding with a fixed wooden barrier (Figure 3-2). The ramp was inclined

at 100 from horizontal and was 4.6 m (15 ft) long. The height of the ramp was 0.8 m (2.6 ft). In

addition, there was a flat 2.44 m (8 ft) long segment attached to the bottom of the ramp that

served as a final runway for the seat (Figure 3-2). The ramp was constructed from wooden

beams (2 in x 4 in) to create the framework and 1.9 cm (3/4 in) plywood to create the upper










Mean Pain Ratings


* 100 degrees
* 115 degrees
* 130 degrees


Seat Position


Figure 4-4. Mean pain ratings at each seat position. indicates a significant difference between
1000 and 130 (p < 0.05). # indicates a significant difference between 1150 and 130
(p < 0.05).


Mean Pain Rating vs. Seat Position and Time


100


-*- 1 day
post-test
- 3 days
post test


130


Seat Position (0)

Figure 4-5. Mean pain rating interaction with seat position and time. indicates a significant
difference between 1 day and 3 days post-test at a seat position of 1300 (p < 0.05).


2

1.5

1

0.5

0


*









CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Whiplash

Whiplash Stages

Generally, whiplash injuries occur much more frequently in rear-end collisions than in any

other crash configuration,4 with rear-end collisions accounting for 85% of all crashes reporting

whiplash injuries.5 More specifically, during a low speed, rear-end collision there are five

phases of the motion associated with whiplash injuries. These five phases begin shortly after the

collision between the two automobiles. During the first 100 ms of the collision there is no

movement of the body (Figure 2-1A). Therefore, this initial period is not included in the

sequence of events that causes the injuries associated with whiplash.2

The first phase involving movement of the body is called the initial response. This phase

can last anywhere from 50 to 100 ms.3,6,7 During this phase the seat of the vehicle moves

forward relative to the body due to the rear impact (Figure 2-1B). This applies pressure to the

pelvis and the lower back and also causes the seat back to begin deflecting backwards due to the

forces the body applies to the chair.3 This deflection can be simply explained by Newton's third

law of motion. As the inertial forces of the body accelerate the seat backwards, the seat back

applies an equal force that acts to decelerate the body. The head does not undergo any motion

during this phase nor do the muscles of the neck exhibit any response. However, towards the

end of the first phase, the thoracic vertebrae begin to move forward and slightly upward.6

Finally, the body undergoes the beginning stages of ramping up. Ramping up is defined as the

body sliding up the seat due to the forces encountered during impact. The degree of severity of

this phenomenon changes with the severity of the crash and the inclination of the seat back.7

During low speed collisions (Five mph or less) this motion is typically not severe enough to









Therefore, it can be inferred that there is an inverse relationship between seat back angle and

acceleration while there is a direct relationship between seat back angle and pain. Based on

further analysis of the data collected during this study, it may be possible that the increase in pain

is due to the larger contribution of the muscles and the decreased contribution of the headrest to

stop the head during the trials at 1300. To minimize risk, it is recommended to maintain a 1000

seat back angle when in the front row of an automobile.









28. Severy D. Engineering studies of motorist injury exposures from rear-end collisions. Trauma
1970; 12(2): 81-106.

29. Nygren A, Gustafsson H, Tingvall C. Effects of different types of head restraints in rear-end
collisions. 10th International Conference on Experimental Safety Vehicles, Oxford, England,
1985: 85-90.

30. Lawrence JM, Siegmund GP. Seat back and head restraint response during low-speed rear-
end automobile collisions. Accident Analysis and Prevention 2000; 32: 219-232.

31. Viano D. Influence of setback angle on occupant dynamics in simulated rear-end impacts.
Society of Automotive Engineers SAE No 922521 1992.

32. Thomas P, Bradford M. The nature and source of the head injuries sustained by restrained
front-seat car occupants in frontal collisions. Accident Analysis and Prevention 1995; 27(4):
561-570.

33. Kumar S, Narayan Y, Amell T. Role of awareness in head-neck acceleration in low velocity
rear-end impacts. Accident Analysis and Prevention 2000; 32: 233-241.

34. Emori R, Horiguchi J. Whiplash in low speed vehicle collisions. Society of Automotive
Engineers SAE No 900542 1990.

35. Mertz HJ, Patrick LM. Strength and response of the human neck. In: Proceedings of the 15th
Stapp Car Crash Conference. Coronado, California: Society of Automotive Engineers SAE
No 710855 1971: 207-255.

36. Ryan GA, Taylor GW, Moore VM, Dolinis J. Neck strain in car occupants: injury status after
6 months and crash-related factors. Injury 1994; 25: 533-537.

37. States J, Korn M, Masengill J. The enigma of whiplash injuries. Proceedings of the 13th
Annual Conference of the American Association for Automotive Medicine 1969: 83-108.

38. Sturzenegger M, DiStefano G, Radanov BP, Schnidrig A. Presenting symptoms and signs
after whiplash injury: the influence of accident mechanisms. Neurology 1994; 44: 688-693.

39. Brault J, Siegmund G, Wheeler J. Whiplash injury biomechanics: cervical electromyographic
response and influence on whiplash dynamics. Whiplash: Compendium of Abstracts 1998;
SP-1406: 25.

40. Elson L. The jolt syndrome muscle dysfunction following low-velocity impact. Pain
Management 1990; November/December: 317-326.

41. Szabo TJ, Welcher JB. Human subject responses to various acceleration fields. Low Speed
Collision TOPTEC (SAE), Richmond, BC, August 1996.









compared across seat angles. The findings of this study could provide valuable information to

automotive safety engineers and could assist in the design of a safer automobile seat.









APPENDIX B
SORENESS SCALE

Subject Number: Session #: Date:

Directions: Rate your level of soreness on a 1-10 scale.
1 = no pain 3 = slightly painful 5 = moderately painful
8 = very painful 10 = extremely painful

1 day post-test
Date:
Level of Soreness: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

3 days post-test
Date:
Level of Soreness: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

1 week post-test
Date:
Level of Soreness: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

2 weeks post-test
Date:
Level of soreness: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10









coincides well with statistics from two studies in Japan during the years 1996 and 1997.

Watanabe et al. state that 44.0 % of 547,654 injuries suffered during a car accident in 1996 were

neck injuries resulting from a rear-end impact and 44.7% of 563,121 injuries from 1997 were

neck injuries resulting from a rear-end impact.21 In Western countries, about 25% of all people

reporting an injury related to whiplash develop a chronic condition and 20% of those people

suffer serious pain.5 Finally, in 2002 Croft et al. estimated that the cost associated with whiplash

injuries exceeds $19 billion every year, which is sure to be much higher currently.22 All of these

statistics show that there is a great need to better comprehend the causes of these injuries and to

reduce the risk of whiplash injuries throughout the world.

Automobile Characteristics Contributing to Injury

Seat Angle

The angle of the setback is an important controllable factor related to the motion of the

neck and the forces felt by the muscles of the posterior and anterior portions of the neck;

however it has received little attention when discussing whiplash research. Ergonomics of

products such as office chairs have been studied extensively, and there have been several studies

on the ergonomics of automobile seats, yet an optimal position to reduce the risk of whiplash

injury for a driver in an automobile has been more or less ignored, thus there is extremely limited

research in this area.17 The previous studies in automobile seat ergonomics have shown a

minimal myoelectric activity of the anterior and posterior muscles of the neck at a seat back

inclination of 120.17,23 However, these studies had no relation to whiplash injuries.

The inclination of the seat back in an automobile affects the loads applied to the

ligaments and the intervertebral discs of the cervical spine.7 When the setback angle is altered,

the angle between the neck and the torso must change, assuming that the driver's head is always

perpendicular with the surface of the road. The change in the angle between the neck and the









Conclusions

The data collected during testing show that horizontal and resultant acceleration are

significantly altered when the orientation of the seat back is changed from 1000 to 1300. In

addition, the pain felt by the participants increases when comparing 1000 and 130 and when

comparing 1150 to 130. These results support the current trend in automobile manufacturing to

produce active head restraints. If the head restraint moves forward as the seat is reclined

backwards, it is possible to maintain the same horizontal distance from the back of the head to

the front of the headrest, thus eliminating much of the muscle force required to arrest the motion

of the head during a low velocity rear-end collision. However, much of the population does not

own an automobile with this capability. Therefore, it is recommended that a seat position of

1000 is used in order to minimize risk of injury from a rear-end collision when operating an

automobile. Finally, I believe that the previously defined five stage whiplash motion3'6'7 should

be modified to a six stage motion including the two sub-phases previously discussed. Although

the rearward rotation of the head is characteristic of both sub-phases, the injury risk and

decelerating mechanisms are different.




Full Text

PAGE 1

1 HEAD ACCELERATION AND ASSOCIATED PAIN FELT IN THE NECK REGION DURING A SIMULATED AUTOMOBILE LOW VELOCITY REAR-END COLLISION AS A FUNCTION OF SEAT BACK ANGLE By MARTIN CHARLES HILLIER A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008

PAGE 2

2 2008 Martin Charles Hillier

PAGE 3

3 To all those who supported me throughout my ventures, including my wife, family, advisors, and financial supporters.

PAGE 4

4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This project would not have been possibl e without my supervisory committee. In particular, I would like to thank Dr. Mark Ti llman for all of his guidance and support. His advice and encouragement made this possible. Next, I would like to thank Dr. John Chow. Dr. Chow was instrumental throughout my career at the University of Florida and he taught me many of the concepts regarding biomechanics. I would also like to thank Dr. Jim Ipser for his financial support and for sharing his wealth of kno wledge in the fields of car crash safety and physics. Next, I thank Dr. Ronald Siders and K im Fournier for contributing their time and effort to help make this a success. In addition, I se nd a sincere thank you to my family and my wife for their support throughout this long and arduous process. Their understanding and sacrifice is more than I could ask for. Finally, I thank the subjects who participated in my study.

PAGE 5

5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........7 LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................................8 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS.......................................................................................................... 9 ABSTRACT...................................................................................................................................10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................. .12 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE.................................................................................................14 Whiplash.................................................................................................................................14 Whiplash Stages..............................................................................................................14 Injury Mechanism............................................................................................................17 Specific Injuries Caused by Whiplash and Associated Symptoms.................................18 Prevalence of Whiplash Injuries in Society.....................................................................21 Automobile Characteristics Contributing to Injury................................................................22 Seat Angle.......................................................................................................................22 Headrest Function and Position.......................................................................................23 Seat Belt...................................................................................................................... .....25 Crash Factors Affecting Injury...............................................................................................25 Comparison of Body Kinematics during Rear-End Collisions and Frontal Impacts......25 Relationship Between Selected Velocity and Injury Tolerance......................................26 Influence of Occupant Awareness during a Crash..........................................................26 Demographics of Selected Participants..................................................................................27 Human Subjects Compared to Anthro pomorphic Dummies and Cadavers....................27 Likelihood of Injury in Males and Females....................................................................28 Effect of Age on Inju ry Susceptibility.............................................................................29 3 METHODS...................................................................................................................... .......31 Participants.............................................................................................................................31 Experimental Apparatus.........................................................................................................31 Ramp................................................................................................................................31 Seat Platform...................................................................................................................32 Instrumentation................................................................................................................ .......32 Procedure................................................................................................................................33 Data Analysis..........................................................................................................................34

PAGE 6

6 Acceleration of the Head.................................................................................................34 Pain Scale........................................................................................................................35 Statistical Analysis........................................................................................................... .......35 Acceleration of the Head.................................................................................................35 Pain Scale........................................................................................................................35 4 RESULTS...................................................................................................................... .........38 Participants.............................................................................................................................38 Horizontal Acceleration........................................................................................................ ..38 Vertical Acceleration.......................................................................................................... ....38 Resultant Acceleration......................................................................................................... ...38 Time Motion Analysis........................................................................................................... .39 Pain Scale..................................................................................................................... ...........40 5 DISCUSSION................................................................................................................... ......46 Horizontal Acceleration........................................................................................................ ..46 Vertical Acceleration.......................................................................................................... ....47 Resultant Acceleration......................................................................................................... ...48 Time Motion Analysis........................................................................................................... .49 Pain.........................................................................................................................................51 Limitations.................................................................................................................... ..........52 Conclusions.............................................................................................................................53 APPENDIX A MEDICAL HEALTH QUESTIONNAIRE............................................................................54 B SORENESS SCALE............................................................................................................... 55 LIST OF REFERENCES...............................................................................................................56 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................61

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 4-1 Participant characteristics..............................................................................................41 4-2 Acceleration data for time motion analysis ....................................................................41

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8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2-1 Stages of whiplash motion.............................................................................................30 3-1 Automobile seat mounted on a rolling platform .............................................................36 3-2 Ramp and stoppi ng appara tus. .......................................................................................36 3-3 Guard rails on ramp.......................................................................................................3 6 3-4 Accelerometer and mouthpiece. .....................................................................................37 3-5 Sample horizontal acceleration graph .............................................................................37 4-1 Mean horizontal, vertical, and resultant acceleration for all angles.. ...............................42 4-2 Horizontal and vertical acceleration for participant three, 100 trial one........................43 4-3 Time-motion analysis for participant three, 100 trial one.............................................44 4-4 Mean pain ratings at each seat position. .........................................................................45 4-5 Mean pain rating interactio n with seat pos ition and time ................................................45

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9 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AIS Abbreviated injury scale cm Centimeter v / t Change in velocity divided by change in time Degrees ft Feet Hz Hertz in Inch kg Kilogram kph Kilometers per hour MRI Magnetic resonance imaging m Meter m/s2 Meters per second squared mph Miles per hour mm Millimeter ms Milliseconds lbs Pounds SCM Sternocleidomastoid muscle V Volts WAD Whiplash associated disorder

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10 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science HEAD ACCELERATION AND ASSOCIATED PAIN FELT IN THE NECK REGION DURING A SIMULATED AUTOMOBILE LOW VELOCITY REAR-END COLLISION AS A FUNCTION OF SEAT BACK ANGLE By Martin Charles Hillier May 2008 Chair: Mark Tillman Major: Applied Physiology and Kinesiology The angle of the seat back is an important factor in head acceleration and pain felt during a low velocity rear-end collision. Ten male volunteers with a mean age of 22.40 2.37 years, mean height of 1.79 0.035 m, and mean mass of 81.92 11.51 kg were exposed to impacts designed to replicate this type of collision in a lab setting. The change in velocity for each impact was approximately 8 kph (5 mph). The variable during the study was the angle of the seat back. Three seat back angles consisting of 100 115 and 130 from horizontal were tested. In general, as the angle of the seat back increased, the peak horizontal, vertical, and resultant accelerations decreased. More specifically, significant differences were detected for the horizontal accelerations with increased values for 100 when compared to 115 and 130 There was no significance difference observed when comparing the vertical accelerations across the three seat angles. The resultant acceleration showed significant differences when comparing 130 to 100 and 115 with the lower acceleration occurring in the 130 seat position in both cases. Conversely, pain increased signi ficantly as the angle increased. The 130 seat position had significantly higher pain ratings when compared to the 100 and 115 seat positions.

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11 Therefore, it can be inferred that there is an inverse relationship between seat back angle and acceleration while there is a direct relationship between seat back angle and pain. Based on further analysis of the data collected during this study, it may be possible that the increase in pain is due to the larger contribution of the muscles and the decreased contribution of the headrest to stop the head during the trials at 130 To minimize risk, it is recommended to maintain a 100 seat back angle when in the front row of an automobile.

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12 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Low velocity rear-end collisions are considered to be minor in severity, however they are very common and they represent a financial burden to society.1 The injuries caused by these collisions can be classified under one common diso rder known as whiplash associated disorder (WAD). These injuries include vertebral and spinal injuries and muscle strains.2 Although the injuries related to rear-end collisions are known, the causes are still under investigation. “Whiplash” is characterized by a sudden and forcef ul extension of the neck followed by a less severe flexion of the neck. The motion associated with whiplash injuries has been broken into five separate phases. Included are the initial response, principal forward acceleration, torso recovery, head deceleration, and restitution phases.3 Phases that involve extension of the neck typically cause injuries to the anterior musculature of the neck, intervertebral discs, posterior vertebral structures, and the anterior longitudinal ligament. Extension occurs during the first two phases. Flexion of the neck causes less severe injuries including posterior muscle strains and herniated discs and occurs during the third and fourth phases of the whiplash motion.2 Previous research in this area has focused on factors such as change in velocity, headrest position, occupant awareness, and gender. However, research in the area of seat orientation has been limited. Based on the geometry of an automobile seat and the natural seated position of the occupant, changing the angle of the seat b ack could create a change in body position and occupant kinematics, specifically th e acceleration that the head undergoe s. It is also possible that a change in acceleration could create a variation in the risk of injury during a low velocity rearend collision. The purpose of the current study is to determine whether the angle of the seat back will contribute to the peak acceleration experien ced by the head during a low velocity rear-end collision. In addition, pain felt by the participant after the collision will be assessed and

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13 compared across seat angles. The findings of th is study could provide valuable information to automotive safety engineers and could assist in the design of a safer automobile seat.

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14 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE Whiplash Whiplash Stages Generally, whiplash injuries occur much more frequently in rear-end collisions than in any other crash configuration,4 with rear-end collisions accounting for 85% of all crashes reporting whiplash injuries.5 More specifically, during a low speed, rear-end collision there are five phases of the motion associated with whiplash injuries. These five phases begin shortly after the collision between the two automobiles. During the first 100 ms of the collision there is no movement of the body (Figure 2-1A). Therefore, this initial period is not included in the sequence of events that causes the injuries associated with whiplash.2 The first phase involving movement of the body is called the initial response. This phase can last anywhere from 50 to 100 ms.3,6,7 During this phase the seat of the vehicle moves forward relative to the body due to the rear impact (Figure 2-1B). This applies pressure to the pelvis and the lower back and also causes the seat back to begin deflecting backwards due to the forces the body applies to the chair.3 This deflection can be simply explained by NewtonÂ’s third law of motion. As the inertial forces of the body accelerate the seat back wards, the seat back applies an equal force that acts to decelerate the body. The head does not undergo any motion during this phase nor do the muscles of the neck exhibit any response. However, towards the end of the first phase, the thoracic vertebrae begin to move forward and slightly upward.6 Finally, the body undergoes the beginning stages of ramping up. Ramping up is defined as the body sliding up the seat due to the forces encountered during impact. The degree of severity of this phenomenon changes with the severity of th e crash and the inclination of the seat back.7 During low speed collisions (Five mph or less) this motion is typically not severe enough to

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15 cause the occupantÂ’s head to rise above the head rest, assuming that the headrest is present and raised to the appropriate height for the occupant.3 The second phase of the motion is called the principal forward acceleration.3 This phase lasts approximately 100 ms.3,6,7 At the beginning of this phase, the seat back has reached maximum deflection3,6 and the head and neck undergo an extension motion.3,6,7 The head moves backward relative to the torso due to its inertia while accelerating and rotating in the rearward direction.7 This rotation can be stopped by the head restraint or by the anatomical structures of the spine and the neck, if the head restraint is ineffective. In addition, the body continues the ramping up motion and there is an arching of the torso due to the extension of the spine. The spine reaches maximum extension during this phase (Figure 2-1C).6 Compression injuries to the posterior structures of the cervical spine, if present, are a result of this phase.2 The next significant occurrence in this phase is the activation of the anterior musculature of the neck. This musculature, specifically the SCM, is actively resisting the abrupt backward motion of the head.6,7 Due to the time it takes for the nerve impul se to reach the muscle, this peak muscle activation occurs approximately 70-100 ms after th e rearward motion of the head begins. It is also worth noting that the muscles may not reach peak activity before this phase ends. If the muscles never reach peak activity, the risk for injury to the muscles goes down.7 Factors including crash severity and horizontal distance be tween the headrest and the back of the head can significantly alter the amount of time and the ri sk of injury during this phase. The angle of the seat back is directly related to the horizontal distance between the back of the head and the headrest. More specifically, as the angle of inclination increases so does the horizontal distance. Therefore, as the angle of the seat increases, the time before contact with the headrest also increases.

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16 The third phase of the whiplash motion, or the torso recovery and forward head acceleration phase also lasts approximately 100 ms.3,6,7 During this phase, the head and neck undergo flexion and the torso and the seat back begin to return to their pre-impact positions. The torso achieves a velocity that exceeds the velocity of the vehicle, thus creating the forward motion of the torso (Figure 2-1D).3,6 However, the velocity of the head is significantly higher than the velocity of the vehicle and the acceleration is usually two to three times that of the vehicle.3,7-12 This relative increase of velocity and acceleration creates a flexion motion of the neck. During this phase, the muscle activity of the neck continues, however the posterior neck muscles are placed under more stress due to their resistance of the forward flexion motion. The most involved muscle is the trapezius.3,6,7 The fourth phase also lasts approximately 100 ms,3,6,7 and is called the head deceleration phase.3 In this phase, the head finishes the forward flexion motion while the musculature decelerates the head, and the head begi ns to return to the pre-impact position.3,6 During this phase, the upper cervical vertebrae are in extens ion while the lower cervical vertebrae are in flexion (Figure 2-1E).6 If the impact is severe enough, the head will be stopped by the chest through contact with the anterior portion of the mandible, or chin. Otherwise, the posterior musculature of the neck will be primarily responsible for the end of the forward movement. If injuries are present in the posterior musculature of the neck, it is due to phases three and four. Finally, the torso continues its return to its pre-impact position.3,6 The fifth and final phase, or the restitution phase,3 consists of the body and head finishing their progression to the pre-impact position and is characterized by the ceasing of muscle activity in the neck (Figure 2-1F). This phase is generally the longest phase lasting 150 to 200 ms.3,6,13

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17 This five phase motion is representative of all whiplash injuries, however the severity of these injuries can change due to the characteristics and circumstances related to the individual crash. Some of these factors include change in velocity and occupant orientation. The most significant factor concerning occupant orientation is the angle of the head relative to the torso.7 In the current study, this angle will change based on the angle of the seatback. As the angle of the seatback increases, the angle of flexion between the neck and the head must increase in order to maintain a head position that is perpendicular to the surface of the road. Injury Mechanism The motion previously described is capable of causing a variety of injuries. However, separate injuries occur during the different phases of motion of the head and neck. During extension, compressive forces are applied to the posterior structures and tensile forces are applied to the anterior structures. The most common anterior structures involved during extension are the esophagus, anterior longitudina l ligament, anterior cervical muscles, the odontoid process of the second cervical vertebrae, and the intervertebral discs. The posterior structures at risk during extension are the facet joints and the spinous processes of the vertebrae.2 During normal extension, the structures of the vertebrae and the muscles of the anterior neck are within their physiological and anatomical limits. In this case, no injury will occur. However, during low velocity rear-end collisions, these structures may be subjected to forces which exceed healthy limits. In this scenario, the facet joints between the superior articular process of the lower vertebra and the inferior articular process of the higher vertebra are the first anatomical structures to be stressed, thus they become th e point about which the vertebrae rotate. If the forces of rotation become too great for the facet joints to withstand, one of three things is possible. First, the facet joints could experien ce a crush fracture. Second, the spinous processes of the vertebrae could come in contact due to the forced extension and fracture as a result.

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18 Finally, the anterior structures of the vertebr ae and neck could stretch beyond their elastic limit or the vertebral body could fracture. These anterior structures include muscles, the anterior longitudinal ligament of the cervical vertebrae, and the intervertebral discs.2 During the flexion phase the opposite occurs. Compressive forces are now applied to the anterior anatomy and tensile forces are applied to the posterior anatomy of the cervical spine. The main structures involved in this phase are th e intervertebral discs and vertebral bodies in the anterior portion and the facet joint capsules along with the posterior neck muscles in the posterior portion. The most common injuries during the flexion phase are ruptured discs, vertebral body fractures, and muscle and ligament strains.2 The final and least likely source of injury during low velocity rear-end collisions are shear forces resulting from the horizontal motion of the body during the crash. Assuming a nearvertical position of the spine before the collision, horizontal forces will be transmitted parallel to the intervertebral discs. These forces can cause injury to the facet joint capsules and the anterior portion of the intervertebral discs. Based on the anatomy of the cervical vertebrae, the facet joint capsules experience compression from shear forces and the anterior portion of the intervertebral discs experiences a tensile force due to the backward motion of the superior vertebra.2 Specific Injuries Caused by Whiplash and Associated Symptoms As previously mentioned, the body parts most affected by whiplash injuries are the musculature of the neck and cervical vertebrae and surrounding structures. Injuries involving these structures can either be short lived or chronic, and are generally classified as WAD.14 However, because these injuries are non-fatal, no formal pathological studies can be done to determine exact causes or locations of injury. As medical technology becomes more advanced, accuracy of diagnosis is becoming better, but th ese injuries will probably never be as well understood as more serious, fatal injuries. To da te, many types of studies have been performed

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19 to better understand these injuries; however each method has its own limitations. These methods include cadaver experiments, animal exper iments, and radiographic studies. Cadaver experiments utilize the same anatomy, but do not demonstrate the same muscular response as a live human being. Animal experiments provide a live subject, but differences in anatomy and body size provide limiting factors. Finally, radiographic studies show injuries in live human beings, but they do not allow for first-hand examination of the affected structures. Even if the patient requires surgery for the injury sustained, it is generally much later and the anatomy during surgery may be different than it was directly after the crash.2 Generally, injuries to the musculature of the neck are short lived, while injuries to intervertebral discs, facet joints, and cervical ligaments usually cause chronic neck pain. Injuries to the facet joints, including fractures and tears of the joint capsules, are fairly common and can cause chronic pain. Many times, this pain is due to a missed diagnosis resulting from an inability or difficulty to see the injury on a typical X-ray or MRI. Disc injuries are also common, but are easier to diagnose, as they are generally more common in the medical community and are easier to detect from an MRI. The two most common varieties of disc injuries are a separation of the disc from the vertebra and an anterior rupture due to compression of the posterior spine during extension.2 Muscle injuries, specifically tears and strains, are the most common injuries suffered by individuals with whiplash. This is due to the sequence of events of a whiplash injury. The muscles act as a protective mechanism to the other structures that could potentially be involved. They are the first structure that resists the motion of the head, thus they undergo the greatest stress. Muscles will undergo mild injury in order to keep the spine aligned and free of injury. It is only when the muscles can no longer withsta nd the acceleration and resultant forces of the head that the other structures become susceptible to injury.6 Muscle injuries, while being the

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20 most common, are also the shortest lasting, with a maximum healing time of two to three weeks, while many times resolving in just a few days.2 The final major structures contributing to whiplash injuries are the ligaments, specifically the anterior longitudinal ligament. Anatomical studies have shown that the anterior longitudinal li gament and the annulus fibrosis of the anterior intervertebral discs in the cervical vertebrae merge together, thus anterior longitudinal ligament injuries and disc injuries are often associated together. Injuries to this ligament occur only during the extension phase of the whiplash motion, and are characterized by a partial tear or complete rupture of the ligament.2 In summary, although there are other sources of injury during whiplash, the vast majority of whiplash injuri es are directly related to the facet joints, intervertebral discs, and anterior ligaments of the cervical vertebrae. With these very specific injuries come various symptoms. Symptoms of WAD include pain in the neck or shoulder region, dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, concentration and memory disturbances, and paraesthesia or tingling and numbness in the hands.2,14-16 Neck pain is the most reported complaint among individuals who report whiplash injuries. This pain is reported in the anterior and posterior portion of the neck, although posterior pain is the dominant complaint. This pain can come in several forms. The two most common forms are dull and aching and sharp pain. Both forms are exacerbated with movement and many times movement is restricted due to stiffness.2 Previous studies using similar speeds to the current study have shown that neck pain, if any is present, has resolved within four days.6,7,12,13,17-19 Due to the complexity and multitude of possible causes of injury, the exact correlation between types of neck pain and type of crash is not completely understood. The second most frequently reported symptom reported is headaches. The most likely causes of these headaches are the upper three cervical nerves originating from the first, second, and th ird cervical vertebrae. Afferents from these three

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21 nerves terminate in the cervical portion of the trigeminal nucleus, located in the caudal region. Because the ophthalmic portion of the trigeminal nu cleus is also in the caudal region, pain from C1-C3 is usually referred to the orbital and temp oral regions. This referred pain is the most likely cause for headaches related to the whiplash motion.2 Previous studies at or near the speed used in the current study show that headaches, if present, resolved within two days.4,19 Other headaches that could originate would result from concussion or intracranial hemorrhage, however during a low velocity collision these t ypes of injuries are extremely unlikely. Paraesthesia, another symptom reported by whipla sh patients, is caused by compression of the nerves of the brachial plexus by the surrounding anatomical structures including muscles. The other symptoms relating to whiplash, including di zziness, blurred vision, and concentration and memory disturbances, have not been suffici ently explained in the current research.2 Prevalence of Whiplash Injuries in Society Whiplash injuries, although minor in severity, are a major health problem around the world and they create a huge economic burden to insurance companies, hospitals, and the patients affected by these injuries. In general, whip lash injuries are most likely to occur when the vehicle is involved in a rear-end impact with speeds less than 12.5 mph.4,16,20 The injuries are usually classified as minor on the abbreviated in jury scale, otherwise known as AIS 1 injuries. However, the frequency of permanent disability is about 10%. This is extremely high when compared to other AIS 1 classified injuries, which have a permanent disability rate of only 0.1%.1 Thus, injuries related to whiplash are 100 times more likely to produce permanent disability than other injuries of similar severity. In addition to having a relatively high rate of disability, these injuries are also very common, as neck strains and sprains associated with whiplash are the most serious injuries reported by 40 % of automobile accident claimants in the United States.11 This percentage

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22 coincides well with statistic s from two studies in Japan during the years 1996 and 1997. Watanabe et al. state that 44.0 % of 547,654 in juries suffered during a car accident in 1996 were neck injuries resulting from a rear-end impact and 44.7% of 563,121 injuries from 1997 were neck injuries resulting from a rear-end impact.21 In Western countries, about 25% of all people reporting an injury related to whiplash deve lop a chronic condition and 20% of those people suffer serious pain.5 Finally, in 2002 Croft et al. estimated that the cost associated with whiplash injuries exceeds $19 billion every year, which is sure to be much higher currently.22 All of these statistics show that there is a great need to better comprehend the causes of these injuries and to reduce the risk of whiplash injuries throughout the world. Automobile Characteristics Contributing to Injury Seat Angle The angle of the seatback is an important controllable factor related to the motion of the neck and the forces felt by the muscles of the posterior and anterior portions of the neck; however it has received little attention when discussing whiplash research. Ergonomics of products such as office chairs have been studied extensively, and there have been several studies on the ergonomics of automobile seats, yet an optimal position to reduce the risk of whiplash injury for a driver in an automobile has been more or less ignored, thus there is extremely limited research in this area.17 The previous studies in automobile seat ergonomics have shown a minimal myoelectric activity of the anterior and posterior muscles of the neck at a seat back inclination of 120 .17,23 However, these studies had no relation to whiplash injuries. The inclination of the seat back in an automobile affects the loads applied to the ligaments and the intervertebral discs of the cervical spine.7 When the seatback angle is altered, the angle between the neck and the torso must change, assuming that the driverÂ’s head is always perpendicular with the surface of the road. The change in the angle between the neck and the

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23 torso may be an important factor contributing to the differences in force felt by the anatomical structures of the neck. When the seat is reclined past 90 the neck is forced into flexion, subsequently creating a larger angle through whic h the head must move, and possibly creating a larger end velocity of the third phase of the whiplash motion. Therefore, when the muscles activate to decelerate the head during this motion, it is also possible that the inertial forces exerted by the muscles of the neck are greater from a flexed position when compared to an upright position. If this increase in force exceeds the injury threshold, the increase in seat back angle would create injury where there would be no injury from a more upright-seated position. In addition, if the seat is more upright, the distance between the back of the head and the headrest reduces. Therefore, the time between backward cervical rotation and contact between the head and headrest will be reduced. This topic will be discussed further in a later section. The final factor that is affected by the position of the seatback is an aforementioned motion referred to as ramping up. This motion is characterized by an upward movement of the body along the seatback during a rear-end collision. If the motion is significant enough, the head will move above the headrest, thus eliminating the effectiveness of the headrest and increasing the risk of injury due to hyperextension. However, having a more upright seat position decreases this motion and should also decrease the risk of pa in or injury. The variable manipulated in the present study was the angle of the seat back a nd how it contributed to the acceleration of the head during the whiplash motion and the pain felt in the musculature of the neck. Headrest Function and Position The headrest of a car seat has been proven to be effective in the reduction of injuries during a low velocity rear-end collision when used in the correct manner.1,24-26 The primary function of the head restraint is to limit the amount of rearward motion, or extension, that the neck undergoes during a rear-end collision. If used properly, the head restraint is designed to

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24 terminate the head motion before hyperextension of the neck occurs. During hyperextension the more serious injuries such as intervertebral disc rupture, anterior longitudinal ligament rupture, and vertebral fractures occur. Although the headrest should eliminate these types of injuries, it is still very possible to have less severe soft tissue injuries such as muscle strains, even if the headrest is used properly. Hyperextension is one of the leading causes of injury to the neck, thus if the head restraint is not used properly the likelihood of injury increases.27,28 Head restraint height is the only adjustable variable in the majority of modern head restraints. It has been reported that a minimum of 27.5 inches from the seat to the top of the headrest should be present to reduce injury, and th e top of the headrest should be at least as high as the vertical midpoint of the head.24,26 In addition, Nygren et al. have shown that complaints of whiplash injuries nearly doubled when occupants reported a low headrest position instead of a high headrest position.29 Additionally, 83% of drivers and passengers do not adjust their headrest to the proper height.9 In order to help prevent injuries during this study, the headrest will be placed in the highest position allowed by the structure of the car seat. The final factor related to the headrest that contributes to the forces felt by the head and neck is the horizontal headrest distance, defined as the distance from the occipital protuberance of the head to the front of the headrest. While the headrest height stays constant, the change in seat back angle will also create a change in horizontal headrest distance, which in turn will cause a larger degree of neck flexion and a greater angular displacement of the head during the whiplash motion. Ideally, the gap between the oc cipital protuberance and the headrest should be no greater than half of the anteroposterior diameter of the head.26 Many studies have shown that the greater this distance is, the greater the demands are on the muscles of the neck.1,14,19,22,24,26,27 However, none of these studies have related th is phenomenon to the angle of the seatback.

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25 Seat Belt Previous studies have shown that an anth ropomorphic dummy was adequately retained by the seat in rear-end impacts up to 14.3 mph.30,31 In order for a seat belt to be required and effective, the forward excursion of the torso must be large enough to lock the seatbelt. In the current study, the movement of the torso would no t have caused this to happen. Therefore, it was determined that a seat belt would have little to no effect on the kinematics of the head or the torso during the collision. Crash Factors Affecting Injury Comparison of Body Kinematics during Rear-End Collisions and Frontal Impacts The motion of the body during rear end and frontal impacts has similarities, however the motion during rear end impacts is responsible for the vast majority of recorded whiplash injuries.16,20,21 Frontal impacts are defined as having a direction of force between eleven oÂ’clock and one oÂ’clock with direct contact to the front of the car. During frontal impacts, the accepted motion of whiplash is not present, thus the injuries are generally less severe and less frequent. The first motion of the neck during a frontal impact is flexion, which is followed by a less severe extension motion. Furthermore, at a velocity of five mph, the likelihood of a hyperextension injury becomes very small. This is due to the dissipation of force from the posterior musculature of the neck and possible contact between the sternum and chin. As the first motion is the most severe in terms of acceleration, extension injuries during frontal impacts occur with much less regularity and generally occur in higher velocity crashes.32 This is opposite to the motion that takes place during a rear end collision. In this type of collision, extension of the neck is the first motion and it is followed by flexion.3,6,7 Because the first motion is more severe than the second, the anatomical structures involved with hyperext ension injuries become much more susceptible, and because hyperextension injuries such as ligament ruptures, herniated discs, and vertebral

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26 fractures are more serious than flexion injuries, it is fair to conclude that low velocity rear end collisions create a much higher probability for whiplash injuries than low velocity frontal impacts. Relationship Between Selected Velocity and Injury Tolerance Most WAD injuries occur when there is a change in velocity between 6.2 mph and 12.5 mph.27 In previous studies testing human subject s at a velocity of five mph, no subject experienced WAD symptoms lasting more than three days, and there was no recurrence of pain at any point in the future. Primary complaints consisted of muscle pain, headache, and other cervical symptoms.4,12,13,16 In addition, the Insurance Institu te for Highway Safety, the primary government crash test agency, uses a velocity of five mph to test vehicles for resistance to low speed crash damage. Therefore, in order to protect the participants as much as possible, five mph was chosen as the test velocity. The sec ond reason for selecting five mph as the velocity was to ensure that the defined motion of whiplash occurred. If the change in velocity of the vehicle were too low, the forces required for the head to undergo the five phases of motion previously described would not be sufficient. Pr eviously, West et al. tested at three mph or less and reported that the rearward displacement of the head following impact was not large enough to classify the motion as a typical whiplash movement.12 Influence of Occupant Awareness during a Crash Occupant awareness, or the anticipation of an impending impact, not only changes the motion of the head and neck during a rear-end collision, but it can also change the likelihood of a whiplash injury. The main factors that creat e awareness during a rear-end collision are the screeching of the tires from the vehicle behind and seeing the car behind in the mirrors of the vehicle. The most common reaction of drivers when they anticipate a collision is to contract the muscles in the neck. Participants in studies who were instructed to anticipate the impending

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27 crash and tense their neck muscles prior to impact have reported less severe pain and injuries and state that the crash seemed less severe when comparing it to a crash with the same change in velocity and an unaware state.15,33,38 Contraction of the muscles prior to impact creates an ability to resist extension beyond normal physiological an d anatomical limits and consequently reduces the incidence of hyperextension injuries and symptoms.7,10,15,33-38 However, muscle tension before impact could also contribute to muscle stra in injuries if the muscles involved eccentrically contract to resist head motion that has already begun.6,39-41 The kinematics of the whiplash motion are also changed when the occupant is aware. Kumar et al. state that the initial acceleration of the head in aware conditions was delayed by 25-40 ms.33 This delay is due to the resistance of the backward rotation created by the anterior musculature of the neck. This will create a decrease in the extension of the neck by approximately 30-40% when compared to a relaxed state.7 Conversely, if the subject is in a relaxed state prior to impact, the muscles of the neck do not affect the head-neck-torso kinematics during a rear-end impact and the motion is as described previously.7 Because of the muscle activity onset delay, much or all of the movement in the extension phase of the whiplash motion is already completed before the anterior muscles, specifically the SCM, are maximally activated. Demographics of Selected Participants Human Subjects Compared to Anthropomorphic Dummies and Cadavers In many studies involving automobile cras hes, anthropomorphic dummies, or crash test dummies, are used for safety reasons. However, these tests are generally at much higher speeds than five mph. In addition, anthropomorphi c dummies are designed to replicate the motions observed in a human during high-speed crashes and they do not exhibit the correct response when subjected to a low velocity rear-end collision.4,11,16,18 More specifically, the complicated

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28 intersegmental dynamics of the neck, including vertebral interaction and muscle responses, cannot be reproduced in anthropomorphic dummies.11 The final reason these dummies cannot be used for this type of research is the lack of a pain response. When studying whiplash, analysis of pain is an extremely vital part in analyzing what has happened to the anatomical structures affected.4 Because the dummies are unable to give verbal feedback about pain, injuries associated with whiplash are very difficult to study when using dummies as subjects. Another substitute for in vivo human testing has been the use of human cadavers. This method also has very serious drawbacks when a pplied to low velocity impacts. As opposed to high-speed research where cause of death is usually the desired information, low speed impacts present much more subtle and complicated questions such as the role of muscle activity in the neck in preventing injury.4,11 Obviously, a cadaver has no muscle response and therefore cannot produce accurate results. Likelihood of Injury in Males and Females Although whiplash injuries affect both male s and females, it has been widely reported that women are more susceptible to whiplash injuries, and the associated WAD symptoms last for a longer period of time when compared to men.7,11,14,24,26,42-55 In fact, women have a 40% higher risk than men of sustaining these injuries.26 This increased risk can be attributed to several factors. The first factor is a greater ratio of head mass to neck circumference. This ratio, represented by the cube of the head circum ference divided by the square of the neck circumference, places a greater demand on the muscles of the neck for female occupants.4 The increased muscular demand causes the incidence of whiplash injuries to increase. The next factor contributing to the higher incidence of injury in females is the difference in the alignment of the cervical spine between male and female occupants. The female spine is more prone to kyphosis, or a curvature of the upper spine.7 Because the spine is not aligned in a straight

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29 position, the muscles of the neck are already under more strain than they would be in men. When placed in a situation such as a rear-end collision, the muscles could be fatigued and less able to perform the demands necessary to preven t hyperextension. The final factor contributing to the higher risk in females is muscle strength. On average, females have weaker muscles in the neck region than men.25 When combining this with the higher relative head mass, injuries are much more likely to happen. Because the muscles cannot resist the rearward rotation as well as men, the horizontal acceleration of the head is also higher in women.11,55 Effect of Age on Injury Susceptibility The effect of the whiplash motion on the body changes as an individual ages. Not only are elderly people less physically prepared to withstand the forces created by the whiplash motion, but the injuries suffered are generally more severe, last longer, and have increased symptoms.2,14,51 As people age, more effort is required to maintain muscle mass. If muscle mass is not maintained, the likelihood of severe in jury increases because the muscles can no longer protect the ligaments and vertebrae. In addition, weakening of the bones, or osteoporosis, can occur as one ages. If the cervical vertebrae are weakened, when they are placed under the stresses caused by whiplash, they are more likely to fracture.

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30 A B C D E F Figure 2-1. Stages of whiplash motion. Arrows indicate the direction of motion of the head and seat back. A) Pre-impact position. B) End of phase one. C) End of phase two. D) End of phase three. E) End of phase four. F) End of phase five.

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31 CHAPTER 3 METHODS Participants Ten participants were tested. All participants were males between the ages of 18 and 35. Participants were recruited from the student popul ation of the University of Florida. Each participant was required to read and sign an informed consent agreement approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Fl orida prior to participation. In addition, each participant was required to fill out a medical health questionnaire (Appendix A). Each participant was involved in three testing sessions, sp aced at least two weeks apart in order to rule out any potential discomfort from the previous session. During each testing session, each participant was subjected to three trials that invol ved one rear-end impact per trial at a velocity of five mph. The only difference between testing sessions was the angle of the seat back. Exclusion criteria included female gender, previous spinal injury, history of severe headaches or migraines, current injuries to the neck or back, previous whiplash injuries, previous diagnosis of a herniated disc or any other disc inju ry, and history of dizziness. Experimental Apparatus Ramp In order to simulate a low velocity rear e nd collision each participant sat on a car seat mounted to a rolling platform (Figure 3-1) that was released and allowed to roll backwards down a wooden ramp until colliding with a fixed wooden ba rrier (Figure 3-2). The ramp was inclined at 10 from horizontal and was 4.6 m (15 ft) long. The height of the ramp was 0.8 m (2.6 ft). In addition, there was a flat 2.44 m (8 ft) long segment attached to the bottom of the ramp that served as a final runway for the seat (Figure 3-2). The ramp was constructed from wooden beams (2 in x 4 in) to create the framework and 1.9 cm (3/4 in) plywood to create the upper

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32 rolling surface. On the surface of the ramp, there were 1.9 cm (3/4 in) tall rails that served to keep the platform for the seat securely in pl ace while it traveled down the ramp. In addition, there were 7.6 cm (3 in) tall guards attached to each rail in order to provide an extra level of safety (Figure 3-3). The ramp was comprised of two segments. The final 2.44 m (8 ft) section of the ramp was held in place with four steel cables attached to the floor in order to prevent rearward movement of the ramp during impact. At the end of the flat segment was an immovable stopping apparatus, consisting of a wooden barrier (Figure 3-2). Seat Platform The car seat, extracted from a 2001 Toyota Coro lla, was securely bolted to a platform that measured 0.9144 m (3 ft) wide by 0.9144 m (3 ft) long by 0.305 m (1 ft) deep. There was also an extension on the platform so the participants co uld rest their feet (Figure 3-1). The extension was the same height relative to the seat as the floor of an automobile. The platform utilized two rows of four Rollerblade 76 mm wheels with SG5 bearings (Nordica, Treviso, Italy), placed on the outside of the platform (Figure 3-1). In addition, there was an interior compartment that allowed for an addition of weight to the platform. This functioned to lower the center of gravity of the platform and prevent backward rotation upon impact. The compartment also allowed the testers to normalize the weight of the platform across subjects. Instrumentation A tri-axial accelerometer (Model CXL10GP3, Crossbow, San Jose, CA) was used to capture acceleration measurements of the head. The accelerometer was connected to EVa RealTime software (Motion Analysis Corporation, Santa Rosa, California). All acceleration data was sampled at 1000 Hz. Data was exported into Microsoft Office Excel 2003 (Microsoft, Redmond, WA) for reduction. Statistica version 5 (Statsoft Inc., Tulsa, OK) was used for statistical analyses.

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33 Procedure The experimental procedures were the same for all participants and all trials took place in the Biomechanics Lab in the College of Health and Human Performance at the University of Florida. Before the participant arrived, the seat back was set to the appropriate angle. The three angles that were used in this study were 100, 115, and 130 from horizontal, in that order. The participants were not told whic h angle was being tested. Only one angle was tested per day. After signing the informed consent form and f illing out the medical health questionnaire, the participant was weighed. The forms were only f illed out prior to the first visit, however the participant was weighed during each visit. Next, the participant was fitted with the accelerometer that was securely fastened to a mouthpiece (Figure 3-4). In order to normalize the weight of the platform and the test participant, weight was added to the compartment below the seat until the combined weight of the particip ant, rolling platform, and added weight reached 113.6 kg (250 lbs). This constant weight helped to ensure that each trial was as close to five mph as possible. The proper release point that pr oduced the desired speed was determined during pilot testing using motion analysis software. Each participant was then instructed to sit in the seat at the top of the ramp while looking straight ahead keeping his head parallel with th e rampÂ’s surface and his arms relaxed on his lap throughout the trial. The participant was told to remain relaxed throughout the trial, meaning that he would not tense his muscles before impact. The participant was also instructed to keep his scapulas against the seat. This served to normalize the seating position for all participants. During all trials, the headrest was in the highest position to decrease the chance of neck hyperextension. Upon verification that the participan t is ready, the rolling platform was released from the pre-determined point and the seat began to move down the ramp. After impact with the fixed wooden barrier, the platform came to re st. Throughout the trial, acceleration data was

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34 recorded. Three trials were performed during each testing session. Finally, a follow-up phone call was made at one day, three days, one week, and two weeks post-test. These calls served to monitor the participant’s health and to quantify sore ness, if present, on a graded scale. The pain scale appears in Appendix B56. In the two subsequent sessions the data collection method was the same, however the angle of the seat was changed. The data was analyzed after each session. Data Analysis Acceleration of the Head Acceleration of the head was calculated in g’s, where one g equals an acceleration of 9.81 m/s2, the acceleration on gravity. The peak acceleration in the anterior-posterior and vertical directions was recorded and the resultant acceleration was calculated. The third direction was ignored due to the minimal motion in the lateral direction during the whiplash motion.6,19 Initial output from eVart 4.3 Motion Analysis Software was measured in millivolts. This raw data was exported to Microsoft Excel 2003 and graphed. The graph was used to find peak acceleration in volts. A sample graph has been provided (Figure 3-5). The baseline voltage was then subtracted from the peak voltage in order to quantify the true peak acceleration. After finding this peak acceleration in volts, a conversion factor supplie d by Crossbow allowed for a conversion from volts to g’s. The conversion factors for horizont al and vertical acceleration were 0.098 and 0.101 volts per one g, respectively. Peak horizontal acceleration measured in g’s (a(g)) was calculated using Equation 3-1: a(g) = (voltagemax(V) – voltagebaseline(V)) / 0.098 (3-1) Peak vertical acceleration was calculated using equation 3-2: a(g) = (voltagemax(V) – voltagebaseline(V)) / 0.101 (3-2) This process was repeated for each trial completed. The peak mean horizontal and vertical accelerations for each seat angle we re calculated. In addition, the resultant peak accelerations

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35 were calculated and averaged for each seat angle. Finally, one trial was selected for time-motion analysis. During this process, key moments were picked from the trial and the resultant acceleration, magnitude and direction, were plotted on a graph. This graph shows the severity and direction of acceleration throughout the trial. Pain Scale Participants rated their pain one day, three days, one week, and two weeks post-test. This process was completed for each of the three test sessions. Data was written into Microsoft Excel. Mean pain ratings were calculated for each time interval at each seat angle. Statistical Analysis Acceleration of the Head A repeated measures one-way ANOVA with three levels was used to determine if there was any significant difference in the mean peak acceleration of the head across seat angle. This was done for the horizontal, vertical, and resulta nt acceleration values. A traditional level of significance was used ( = 0.05). Tukey HSD post hoc analyses were performed when necessary. Pain Scale A repeated measures two-way ANOVA (3:seat angle x 4:time interval) was used to determine if there was a significant pain diffe rence among the three seat angles and as time passed post testing. A traditional level of significance was used ( = 0.05). In addition, Tukey HSD post hoc analyses were performed when necessary.

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36 Figure 3-1. Automobile seat mounted on a rolling platform. Figure 3-2. Ramp and stopping apparatus. Figure 3-3. Guard rails on ramp.

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37 Figure 3-4. Accelerometer and mouthpiece. Figure 3-5. Sample horizontal acceleration graphthe vertical axis is measured in millivolts and the horizontal axis is measured in milliseconds.

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38 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS Participants Nine of the ten participants completed testing at all three seat angles. The horizontal acceleration data for the third trial at 130 for participant five were not recorded due to equipment errors. Mass, height, and age were recorded for all ten participants (Table 4-1). Horizontal Acceleration Following testing, mean peak acceleration values for all three seat angles were calculated (Figure 4-1). A repeated measures one way ANOVA revealed a significant difference when comparing peak horizontal acceleration across the three levels of seat angle (F (2,18) = 27.39, p = 0.000003). TukeyÂ’s HSD post-hoc procedure indicated that horiz ontal acceleration was decreased for the 130 seat position when compared to the 100 position (p = 0.000151). In addition, the horizontal acceleration was also decreased for the 115 seat position when compared to the 100 position (p = 0.000552). Vertical Acceleration The same statistical methods previously men tioned were used for the vertical acceleration data. Mean peak acceleration values can be found in Figure 4-1. No differences in vertical acceleration across seat position were detected (F (2,18) = 3.48, p = 0.0529). Resultant Acceleration Resultant accelerations were calculated usi ng the horizontal and vertical components and applying the Pythagorean theorem. Mean peak resultant acceleration values for each seat angle were then calculated (Figure 4-1). Statistical analyses were the same as described for the horizontal and vertical accelerations Resultant acceleration varied with seat position (F (2,18) = 4.51, p = 0.0258). The mean acceleration values decreased as the seat angle increased

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39 (Figure 4-1). TukeyÂ’s post hoc analysis revealed that the 100 seat position had a higher resultant acceleration than the 130 position (p = 0.0425). The 115 seat position also had a significantly higher resultant acceleration than the 130 seat position (p = 0.0488). Time Motion Analysis A time motion analysis was performed on one selected trial (Participant 3, 100 trial 1). The horizontal and vertical acceleration graphs corresponding to this trial can be found in Figure 4-2. To create the time motion analysis, seven significant points of motion were chosen and the magnitude and direction of the resultant acceleration were calculated and plotted (Figure 4-3). Horizontal and vertical components of the resulta nt accelerations can be found in Table 4-2. There are no data points for the first phase because there is no movement of the head during the first phase, as defined by the previously descri bed five phase whiplash motion. The first two points selected were 50 and 75 ms after th e initial horizontal acceleration of the head, respectively, and were during the middle portion of the second phase of motion. Both of these points have a forward and downward acceleration. In addition, the acceleration is increasing in both directions across the 25 ms time span. At 100 ms, peak horizontal acceleration occurs and phase two is complete. During phase three, the horizontal acceleration is beginning to approach zero gÂ’s at 125 ms. 153 ms after impact, the hor izontal acceleration has changed from forward to backward. Phase three is over 180 ms after impact and the participant is at the peak horizontal acceleration for phase three. This acceleration is directed backwards and down. Finally, at 269 ms, the peak horizontal acceleration during phase four was recorded. The direction of the acceleration is forward and up. At this point in the motion, all relevant accelerations have been completed. Due to this, the fifth phase, or restitution phase, was not included.

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40 Pain Scale The participants subjectively reported pain at four different time intervals that included one day, three days, one week, and two weeks post-test (Appendix B). All ten participants completed the pain ratings at all time intervals for all three seat positions. There were no ratings above a one (no pain) for the last two time interval s. Therefore, only the pain ratings given at one day and three days post-test were used in the statistical analysis. The highest pain rating given by any participant was a four (Participant 7, 130 1 day post-test) and no subject had any long term effects from the impacts. Generally sp eaking, the mean pain rating increased as the seat angle increased (Figure 4-4). In addition, when comparing pain ratings from day one to day three, pain decreased as time passed for the 115 and 130 seat positions while it stayed the same for the 100 seat position (Figure 4-5). Statistical analysis revealed significance when comparing overall pain ratings across time (F (1,9) = 6.43, p = 0.032), with pain decreasing from one day post-test to three days pos t-test. Pain ratings also varied with seat position (F (2,18) = 6.55, p = 0.0073). TukeyÂ’s HSD post hoc test reve aled that there were significant increases among the mean pain ratings when comparing the 130 seat position to the 100 position (p = 0.0076) and when comparing the 130 position to the 115 position (p = 0.041), with the 130 position having the higher pain rating in both cases (Figure 4-4). A time x seat position interaction was also detected (F (2,18) = 6.28, p = 0.0085). TukeyÂ’s HSD post hoc test demonstrated that only the 130 seat position showed significance when comparing the pain ratings across both time intervals (Figure 4-5), meaning that pain ratings were significantly worse one day post test when compared to three days post test for that seat position (p = 0.000094).

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41 Table 4-1. Participant characteristics Participant Age (years) Height (m) Mass (kg) 1 21 1.85 90.7 2 21 1.83 70.3 3 21 1.78 76.2 4 25 1.83 96.2 5 23 1.75 85.7 6 22 1.80 78.0 7 22 1.78 102.5 8 19 1.75 69.4 9 28 1.78 84.4 10 22 1.75 65.8 Mean SD 22.40 2.37 1.79 0.035 81.92 11.51 Table 4-2. Acceleration data for time motion analysis Time (ms) Phase of motion Horizontal acceleration (g) Vertical acceleration (g) Resultant acceleration (g) Angle ( ) 50 2 -1.1122 -0.3465 1.1649 17.3 below negative x-axis 75 2 -1.2755 -0.9406 1.5848 36.4 below negative x-axis 100 End of 2 -2.4490 1.1485 2.7049 25.1 above negative x-axis 125 3 -0.5306 1.9010 1.9737 74.4 above negative x-axis 153 3 0.0102 -0.3861 0.3862 88.5 below positive x-axis 180 End of 3 0.5816 -0.3564 0.6821 31.5 below positive x-axis 269 4 -0.3980 0.5644 0.6906 54.8 above negative x-axis Note: For horizontal data, negative was defined as forward acceleration. For vertical data, negative was defined as downward acceleration.

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42 Figure 4-1. Mean horizontal, vertical, and resultant acceleration for all angles. indicates a significant difference between peak horizontal acceleration values when comparing 100 and 115 (p < 0.05). ^ indicates a significan t difference between peak horizontal acceleration values when comparing 100 and 130 (p < 0.05). # indicates a significant difference between peak resultant acceleration values when comparing 100 and 130 (p < 0.05).

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43 Figure 4-2. Horizontal and vertical acceleration for participant three, 100 trial one. For horizontal acceleration, values above and be low the baseline represent anterior and posterior acceleration of the head, respectively. For vertical acceleration, values above and below the baseline repres ent downward and upward acceleration, respectively.

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44 Figure 4-3. Time-motion analysis for participant three, 100 trial one. The first number represents time in milliseconds after impact. The number in parentheses is the resultant acceleration value at that time.

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45 Figure 4-4. Mean pain ratings at each seat pos ition. indicates a significant difference between 100 and 130 (p < 0.05) # indicates a significant difference between 115 and 130 (p < 0.05). Figure 4-5. Mean pain rating interaction with seat position and time. indicates a significant difference between 1 day and 3 days post-test at a seat position of 130 (p < 0.05).

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46 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Horizontal Acceleration In comparison to other studies at similar imp act speeds, the peak horizontal accelerations during this study were slightly lower.12,19 However, because there are no comparative data regarding the kinematics of the head and the contribution of seat back angle to the acceleration of the head, this portion of the discussion is intended to explain these novel data. The data collected during this study suggest th at altering the angle of the seat back can create changes in the horizontal acceleration of th e head during a low velocity rear-end collision. This is shown by the decrease in mean acceleration values as the seat angle was increased (Figure 4-1). When studying the kinematics of the head during a selected trial, the horizontal portion of Figure 4-2 shows only one peak. This peak coincides with the larger of the two vertical peaks and represents the maximum forward acceleration of the head while it is in contact with the headrest. While the head does accelerate downwards after impact, evidenced by the first vertical peak, it does not accelerate horizontally unless the musculature of the neck is activated to resist the rearward motion. During this study, the seat was rolling backwards at approximately five mph until impact. Upon impac t the body continues to move horizontally at that velocity without accelerating until it hits th e headrest or until the muscles fire, whichever comes first. This can be compared to a true rear-end collision where the car moves forward until the seat interacts with a stationary body. This phenomenon explains why the vertical acceleration begins just before the horizontal acceleration. The main difference between the vertical and horizontal motions is that the h ead was already moving horizontally, but had no initial velocity in the vertical direction, thus producing the kinematic differences. During the analysis of this trial it can be estimated that the muscles fired approximately fifteen ms after

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47 impact with the wooden barrier. Although ther e was no electromyographic data collected, the initiation of the horizontal and vertical acceler ation can be approximate d from the time motion analysis (Figure 4-2). This indicates that th e participant was anticipating the impending impact, as this delay is insufficient for a reflex response.7 When discussing differences in accelera tion among seat positions, the horizontal acceleration of the head should be determined by the time it takes for the stopping forces of the muscles and headrest to arrest all horizontal motion, assuming the same v of five mph (acceleration = v / t). Because the 100 seat back angle creates less horizontal distance from the back of the head to the headrest, when compared to a 130 seat back angle, it is fair to conclude that the time it takes for the head to make contact with the headrest is shorter. Because of this, the muscles have less time to react and all or most of the forces created by the impact must be dissipated by the headrest in a shor ter time, thus creating higher peak acceleration values. However, a higher peak acceleration value does not necessarily mean that there will be a higher risk of WAD injuries. A key factor that determines injury is the mechanism used to decelerate the head. The muscles and headrest both act to stop the motion of the head, but the contributions of each cannot be calculated from th e acceleration data collected during this study. However, the contribution of pain in conjunction with the acceleration data may provide some insight and will be discussed later. Vertical Acceleration The vertical acceleration data showed no significance when comparing peak acceleration across the three seat positions. During the trial chosen for analysis, the temporal presentation of the vertical acceleration was very different than the horizontal acceleration and was most likely representative of the other data collected. According to Figure 4-2, the vertical acceleration

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48 began fifteen ms before the horizontal acceleration. In addition, the vertical acceleration had two peaks while the horizontal acceleration only had one true peak. The first, smaller peak in the vertical acceleration represents the initial downwar d motion of the head after the seatback has pushed the torso forward and the cervical spine is forced into extension. The anterior neck muscles are responsible for attempting to counteract the force of the impact. This peak is prior to contact with the headrest. The net vertical acceleration during this time period is downward for one primary reason. Although the anterior musculature of the neck is attempting to slow the head down by producing an upward acceleration, the downward force created by the impact is greater in magnitude, thus the overall accelerati on is still downward. The second, larger peak represents the net upward acceleration imparted by the combination of the headrest and the continuing action of the anterior musculature. During this portion, the resultant upward force is greater than the downward force remaining from the impact, thus the acceleration vector points upward. This peak is larger because the headrest and muscles are providing resistant forces, as opposed to just the muscles. However, although th e second peak is larger, I believe the first peak is where an injury is more likely to occur, due to the higher initial load on the muscles. Finally, because there has been no significant differ ence found when comparing peak vertical accelerations across the three seat positions, it can be concluded that vertical motion during whiplash is not influenced by seat position. In comparison with other studies, peak vertical accelerations in this study were slightly lower, with previous studies showing peak vertical accelerations ranging from 2.4 to 3.0 gÂ’s.12,13 Resultant Acceleration As shown by the data in Figure 4-1, the resultant acceleration of the head does change as the angle of the seat back is altered. This diffe rence may be attributed to the following. During a rear-end collision, the head may undergo two subphases during the initial rearward rotation, or

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49 phase two of the whiplash motion. The first sub-phase is prior to contact with the headrest and the second is initiated with contact between the he ad and headrest and terminated when rearward rotation ceases. What occurs during the first sub-phase may be crucial to the injury risk encountered by the driver and the front row passenger. During this study, the overall v was the same for all trials. However, the final velocity before impact with the headrest, or the initial velocity upon impact with the headrest, was most likely different across the seat positions. As the head was moving backwards and downwards relative to the body, the 130 seat angle could have allowed the muscles to reach higher activity levels due to the increased horizontal distance and time required, and thus would create a lower final velocity before impact when comparing to the 100 seat angle. The lower final velocity is simply due to the increased deceleration caused by the muscle force. Because the initial velocity on impact with the headrest is lower at the 130 seat angle, the deceleration creat ed by the headrest will be reduced while the deceleration created by the musculature is increased. Conversely, if the seat is in the 100 position, the resultant peak acceleration is higher, but the headrest contributes more retarding force and the muscles contribute a lower retarding force. Therefore, in accordance with previous work, the headrest should be as close to the back of the head as po ssible in order to avoid hyperextension injuries of the neck.1,14,19,22,24,26,27 Time Motion Analysis The main function of the time motion analysis was to verify the motion of the head throughout the whiplash motion during this study. As seen in Figure 4-3, the direction and magnitude of acceleration was constantly cha nging throughout the motion. The first point selected was 65 and 50 ms after initiation of the vertical and horizontal accelerations, respectively, and occurred during phase two. At this time, the head had a forward acceleration of

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50 1.11 gÂ’s in combination with a downward acceleration of 0.35 gÂ’s (Table 4-2). The anterior musculature of the neck, specifically the SCM, was responsible for slowing the head down. Although the net vertical acceleration was downwar ds, the musculature wa s acting to accelerate the head upward, against the motion of the head, however the force of the impact was larger than the muscle force. This combination created a net downward force and acceleration. The next point of interest is at 87 ms after initiation of horizontal acceleration and is also in phase two. It is at this moment that the head made initial contact with the headrest. Notable occurrences include a transition from downward to upward vertical acceleration and a continuing increase in the horizontal acceleration. The third major poi nt during phase two was 100 ms after initiation of the horizontal acceleration and represented the peak horizontal acceleration throughout the entire trial. This point also represents the end of phase two. Perhaps the most important time span during this phase was the 13 ms in which the head was in contact with the headrest. It was during this short time that the head experienced the most severe g forces in all dimensions. However, the headrest is primarily responsible for these high g forces, thus WAD injuries during contact with the headrest are unlikely. In a ddition, the g forces are not high enough to cause significant intracranial injury. Phase three was characterized by far less severe g forces. The first notable point in phase three occurs at 153 ms. Horizontal acceleration has just crossed zero gÂ’s and is now 0.01 gÂ’s in a backward direction, meaning that the posterior musculature has been activated and is attempting to terminate the forward motion of the head created by the rebound off of the headrest, thus producing a backward acceleration. Vertical acceleration at this point is 0.3861 gÂ’s downward. The peak horizontal acceleration occurred 180 ms af ter the initial horizontal acceleration, or 80

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51 ms after phase three began and had a value of 0.5816 gÂ’s. It is also at this time that phase three was completed. The final point of interest occurs 269 ms after initial horizontal acceleration and is in phase four. The head had passed its equilibrium, or upright, point and was forced into slight extension. Peak horizontal acceleration was 0.40 gÂ’s forward and peak vertical acceleration was 0.56 gÂ’s upward. Overall, the results of this time motion analysis were comparable to previous work done by McConnell, et al.13 The impact speed of both trials was very similar, and the overall motion of the head during this study seemed to follow the previously defined five stage motion associated with whiplash.3,6,7 Pain Using the pain data in conjunction with the horizontal and resultant acceleration data, one can infer that the muscles were contributing more during the trials with the seat reclined to 130 This is because there were significant differences in overall pain ratings when comparing 100 with 130 and when comparing 115 with 130 (Figure 4-4), with the higher pain rating means corresponding to the higher seat angles. Therefore, the increased time allowed the muscle to increase its contribution and spread the force more equally among the muscles and headrest, creating pain in some participants, while decreasing the headrestÂ’s contribution. The pain data also show that the 130 seat position was the only position that demonstrated a significant difference in pain from one day post-test to th ree days post-test, which would suggest a more significant muscle injury and increased muscle contribution during the testing at 130 Other structures, such as the vertebrae, intervertebral discs, and ligaments are also at increased risk when the seat is more reclined. If the muscle s are unable to absorb the complete force of the

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52 impact prior to contact with the headrest, the force will be transmitted to other anatomical structures. The muscles will no longer be able to resist the extension motion of the cervical spine and more serious hyperextension injuries become more likely. Limitations This project had limitations that should be a ddressed while interpreting the results and for designing future studies. Due to injury risk, only males between the ages of 18 and 35 were approved to participate by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Florida, thus it cannot be assumed that the results apply to the whole population. Second, there was no plausible way to ensure that the participants were relaxed prior to impact. Because the platform was rolling backwards into a fixed barrier, the particip ant could predict when the impact would occur. This is supported by the time motion analysis of the selected trial. There are several ways to correct this in the future. Electromyographic r ecording devices for the musculature of the neck could be used to determine exactly when the mu scles fired relative to impact. In addition, the barrier could move forward into a stationary seat platform with all visual and auditory cues removed from the environment. This technique could be combined with random dummy trials, or trials in which there is no contact between the barrier and the platform. Third, sample size is a concern. A larger sample size would produce more reliable results. Fourth, only one seat model was used. For better results, seats from all major car manufacturers could have been used. Fifth, only three angles were tested during this study. To truly determine the best combination of comfort and safety, seat positions in increments of 5 should be tested in further studies. Sixth, the headrest was at the maximum height for all subjects. Due to differences in height among the participants it cannot be assumed that all participants made contact with the same part of the headrest. Finally, the apparatus could have been substituted with real automobiles to create a true bumper to bumper impact.

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53 Conclusions The data collected during testing show that horizontal and resultant acceleration are significantly altered when the orientation of the seat back is changed from 100 to 130 In addition, the pain felt by the participants increases when comparing 100 and 130 and when comparing 115 to 130 These results support the current trend in automobile manufacturing to produce active head restraints. If the head restraint moves forward as the seat is reclined backwards, it is possible to maintain the same horizontal distance from the back of the head to the front of the headrest, thus eliminating much of the muscle force required to arrest the motion of the head during a low velocity rear-end collis ion. However, much of the population does not own an automobile with this capability. Therefore, it is recommended that a seat position of 100 is used in order to minimize risk of injury from a rear-end collision when operating an automobile. Finally, I believe that the previously defined five stage whiplash motion3,6,7 should be modified to a six stage motion including the two sub-phases previously discussed. Although the rearward rotation of the head is characteristic of both sub-phases, the injury risk and decelerating mechanisms are different.

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54 APPENDIX A MEDICAL HEALTH QUESTIONNAIRE Subject Number: ____________ Age: ___________________ (must be between 18 and 35 to be eligible) Height: _________________ Weight: _________________ Sex: M / F Please answer yes or no to questions #1-11. If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions (1-7,10), you will not be eligible for this study. If you answered “no” to questions 8 or 9, you will not be eligible for this study. 1. Have you ever had a spinal injury of any kind? 2. Do you suffer from severe headaches or migraines? 3. Do you currently have any injury to your neck or back? 4. Have you ever had “whiplash” before? 5. Have you ever had a herniated disc or any other disc injury? 6. Do you suffer form dizziness? 7. Are you currently taking any pain medications? 8. Do you have a pain-free range of motion of your cervical spine? 9. Can you move your neck freely in all directions? 10. Do you suffer from any long standing neck pain? 11. Please list any other medical problems that you think would prevent you from participating. ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________.

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55 APPENDIX B SORENESS SCALE Subject Number: ___________ Session #: _______ Date: _____________ Directions: Rate your level of soreness on a 1-10 scale. 1 = no pain 3 = slightly painful 5 = moderately painful 8 = very painful 10 = extremely painful ______________________________________________________________________________ 1 day post-test Date:________________ Level of Soreness: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ______________________________________________________________________________ 3 days post-test Date:________________ Level of Soreness: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ______________________________________________________________________________ 1 week post-test Date:________________ Level of Soreness: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ______________________________________________________________________________ 2 weeks post-test Date:________________ Level of soreness: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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59 42. Balla JI. The late whiplash syndrome. Aust. N.Z. Journal of Surgery 1980; 50(6): 610-614. 43. Bring G, BjornstigU, Westman G. Gender patterns in minor head and neck injuries: an analysis of casualty register data. Accident Analysis and Prevention 1996; 28: 359-370. 44. Hohl M. Soft-tissue injuries of the neck in automobile accidents. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery 1974; 56A: 1675-1682. 45. Kahane CJ. An evaluation of head restraintsfederal motor vehicle safety standard 202 (DOT HS-806 108). US Department of Transporta tion, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, February 1982. 46. Krafft M, Thomas A, Nygren A, Lie A, Tingva ll C. Whiplash associated disorderFactors influencing the incidence of rear-end collisions. In: Proceedings of the 15th ESV Conference. Melbourne, Australia: Paper No 96-S9-O-09 1996: 319-326. 47. Lvsund P. Neck injuries in rear end collisions among front and rear seat occupants. Proceedings of International IRCOBI Conference Biomechanics of Impacts 1988: 319-325. 48. Minton R, Murray P, Pitcher M, Galasko CSB. Causative factors in whiplash injury: implications for current seat and head restrain t design. Proceedings of International IRCOBI Conference on Biomechanics of Impacts 1997: 207-222. 49. Morris A, Thomas P. A study of soft tissue neck injuries in the UK. Proceedings of the 15th ESV Conference May 1996; Paper No. 96-S9-O-08: 1412-1425. 50. O’Neill B, Haddon W, Kelley AB, Sorenson WW. Au tomobile head restraints: Frequency of neck injury insurance claims in relation to th e presence of head restraints. American Journal of Public Health 1972; March: 399-406. 51. Otremski I, Marsh JL, Wilde BR, McLardy Smith PD, Newman RJ. Soft tissue cervical spinal injuries in motor vehicle accidents. Injury 1989; 20: 349-351. 52. Otte D, Pohlemann T, Blauth M. Significance of soft tissue neck injuries AIS1 in the accident scene, and deformation, characteristics of cars with delta-V up to 10 km/h. Proceedings of the International IRCOBI C onference on the Biomechanics of Impacts 1997: 265-83. 53. Spitzer WO, Skovron ML, Salmi LR, Cassidy JD, Duranceau J, Suissa S, Zeiss E. Scientific monograph of the Quebec task force on whiplash associated disorders: redefining ‘whiplash’ and its management. Spine 1995; 20: 8. 54. States J, Balcerak J, Williams J. Injury frequency and head restraint effectiveness in rear end impacts. Society of Automotive Engineers SAE No 720967 1972.

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61 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Martin Charles Hillier was born in 1981, in A bbekerk, Netherlands. He was raised by English parents and lived in Holland until the age of five, when he moved to New Jersey. Martin immediately became involved in soccer, a life-long l ove. At the age of 10 Martin moved to Boca Raton, Florida, where he spent the next eight years of his life. While there, he attended Spanish River High School where he excelle d in athletics and academics. Martin was later accepted into the University of Florida, where he spent his college years, without a doubt the years that defined him as a person. While there he graduated with a B.S. in exercise and sport sciences and an M.S. in applied physiology and kinesiology. Martin al so has an older sister and a younger sister who attends or has attended the Univers ity of Florida. His other sibling, Robert, is training to be a law enforcement officer. MartinÂ’s years in Gainesville were most memorable because of his wife. He met Jill Megan Binkley on July 4, 2002, and they were married on July 8, 2006. Martin and Jill currently live in Saint Augustine, Florida. They are both teachers and they are avid travelers. Jill teaches 4th grade and Martin teaches IB physics. Jill plans to return to Gainesville to earn her doctorate degree and Mart in plans to become involved in the accident reconstruction field in the near future.