The influence of body side and sex on neck muscle responses to left-frontal-oblique impacts

Mühlbeier Andreas, Boström Kim Joris, de Lussanet de la Sablonière Marc H. E., Kalthoff Wolfram, Kraaijenbrink Cassandra, Hagenfeld Lena Natrup Jens, Castro William H. M., Wagner Heiko

Research article (journal)


Low-velocity motor vehicle crashes frequently induce chronic neck disorders also referred to as whiplash-associated disorders (WAD). The etiology of WAD is still not fully understood. Women are affected more often and more severely than men. A frontal-oblique collision direction leads to WAD relatively frequently, but is poorly investigated as compared to rear-end or frontal collision directions. An oblique impact direction is assumed to strain the contralateral neck side more than the ipsilateral side, provoking an asymmetrical response pattern of the left and right cervical muscles. In this study, we examined the muscle reflex responses of the sternocleidomastoid, the paraspinal, and the trapezius muscles as well as the kinematic responses of 60 subjects during left-frontal-oblique collisions. Neither the reflex delay nor the peak head acceleration revealed significant sex differences. Thus, the elsewhere reported higher injury risk of females as compared to males cannot be explained by the electromyographic and kinematic results of this study. In females as well as in males the right muscle responses revealed shorter onset times than the left muscle responses. Thus, cervical muscles seem to be activated depending on the specific direction of the impact. Moreover, the difference between right and left muscle responses cannot be explained by a startle reflex. The movement of the head in relation to the torso (female mean {\textpm} SD: 92 {\textpm} 16 ms; male: 87 {\textpm} 16 ms) started almost simultaneously to the onset of the first muscle activation (right paraspinal muscles: female mean: 95 ms and 95\%-CI 82 - 109; male mean: 95 ms and 95\%-CI 84 - 108) indicating that the initial muscle activity seems not to be triggered by a stretch reflex in the PARA muscles.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.

Details zur Publikation

Release year: 2020
Language in which the publication is writtenEnglish