Index to Chiropractic Literature
Index to Chiropractic Literature
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ID 18333
  Title Cervical muscle response to head rotation in whiplash-type right lateral impacts
Journal J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2005 Jul-Aug;28(6):393-401
Peer Review Yes
Publication Type Article
Abstract/Notes OBJECTIVE: To determine the electromyogram (EMG) response of the cervical muscles to a right lateral impact whiplash-type perturbation when the head is rotated.

METHODS: Twenty healthy volunteers were subjected to right lateral impacts of 4.2, 8.1, 10.3, and 12.5 m/s2 and were looking either left or right. Bilateral EMGs of the sternocleidomastoid, trapezius, and splenius capitis muscles were recorded. Triaxial accelerometers recorded the acceleration of the chair, torso at the shoulder level, and head of the participant.

RESULTS: In a right lateral impact, muscle responses were of low magnitude with the head rotated to either the left or the right. At the highest acceleration of 12.5 m/s2, all generated less than 39% of their maximal voluntary contraction EMG. The sternocleidomastoid muscle showed a greater EMG response than its counterpart and the muscles contralateral to the direction of impact had higher EMG responses. The time to onset of the EMG for the splenii capitis and trapezii generally decreased with increasing levels of acceleration. As anticipated, an increase in applied acceleration resulted in an increase in accompanying head accelerations (P < .05), and when the head acceleration increased, so too did the force equivalent exertions by the various muscles.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, a right lateral impact with head rotation to either right or left appears to reduce the activity and thus the risk of muscle injury, perhaps because of "bracing" by muscles actively producing rotation or because of greater spinal stability from other structures when the head is in the rotated position.

Click on the above link for the PubMed record for this article; full text by subscription. The abstract is reproduced here with the permission of the publisher.

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