01.27.11

Little Bumps Big Lumps

Posted in Injury at 5:52 PM by Dr. Greathouse

The acceleration-deceleration forces which cause whiplash injury are sufficient to permanently disable you. Even in a low speed rear impact collision of 8 mph, your head moves roughly 18 inches, at a force as great as 7 G’s in less than a quarter of a second. The Discovery space shuttle is only built to withstand a maximum of 3 G’s.

The above definition states that whiplash is the transfer of energy to the neck.  What may be surprising is that this energy transfer is not equal.  The force that an accident victim is exposed to is generally two and a half times greater than that which the vehicle is struck.  A common misconception is that if there is no vehicle damage, there would be equally little or no injury.  Manufacturers use of rigid or stiff motor vehicle bodies and chassis as well as improved bumper systems also produce an increased G force to occupants involved in car accidents.  Minor vehicle damage may actually result in greater personal injury.

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