Head Rotation Increases Force Of Impact
Low speed impacts and the resulting injuries can be challenging to say the least. From a clinical standpoint, proper documentation of the mechanism of injury is vital. A detailed history of the victim’s body position prior and during the impact is crucial to aid in the determination of damaged structures.
Research has shown that various body positions can increase the force of impact resulting in greater structural damage. Such is the case with head rotation. According to researchers Storvik SG and Stemper BD (2011): “Axial head rotation prior to low speed automotive rear impacts has been clinically identified to increase morbidity and symptom duration.” The facet joints on the side of head rotation have a higher incident of injury compared to when the head is facing forward.
When the head is rotated, it brings the soft tissue structures, i.e. ligaments and muscles to tension, resulting in a magnification of the force of impact. Again, according to Storvik SG and Stemper BD (2011): “Strain magnitudes increased by 47-196% in simulations with 60° head rotation compared to forward facing simulations. These findings indicate that axial head rotation prior to rear impact increases the risk of facet joint injury.”
Proper documentation of the mechanism of injury goes a long way in determining and proving injuries during low impact collisions.