Pre-activation and muscle activity during frontal impact in relation to whiplash associated disorders.

OBJECTIVE: For the evaluation of neck injury the relative distance was observed between a marker placed on the forehead and a marker placed on the shoulder and also by change of the angle. To compare the severity of head injury a value of maximum head acceleration was used, HIC and a 3 ms criterion. All criteria were related to the activity of musculus sternocleidomastoideus and musculus trapezius in a situation of expected or unexpected impact.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The situation was recorded using a Qualisys system, head acceleration of probands in three axes was recorded using the accelerometer, activity of neck muscles was monitored by a mobile EMG.

RESULTS: Maximum head acceleration was 12.1 g for non-visual and 8.2 g for visual. HIC36 was 5.7 non visual and 4.0 for visual. 3-ms criterion was 11.5 g for non-visual and 7.8 g for visual. The average time of muscle activation of the observed group without visual perception is 0.027 s after hitting an obstacle, with visual perception 0.127 s before the crash.

CONCLUSIONS: Kinematic values indicate more favourable parameters for neck injuries for visual. Head injury criteria show an average decrease of about 30% for visual. We can conclude that the visual perception means a significant increase in pre-activation of the observed muscle group of almost 400% and lower activation in both following phases of approximately 40%.

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