Cervical spine injuries and whiplash
The leading cause of neck and cervical spine injuries in the world today is whiplash. These injuries usually occur when a car is struck from the rear by another car or truck, accelerating the struck vehicle's occupant's heads forward with up to 10 or more times the force of gravity. That's more acceleration than fighter pilots or even the space shuttle astronauts experience. The shear and bending forces which the human spine is subjected to often result in cervical spine injuries, nerve roots, discs, and surrounding ligaments and joint capsules. These whiplash injuries, which do not usually require immediate surgical repair, can eventually destabilize the spine and result in accelerated degenerative disease of the spine. These injures require a logical and insightful diagnostic and management approach as taught by Dr. Arthur C. Croft, director of the Spine Research Institute of San Diego.
Rear end collision and injury
About 3 million people are injured in rear end collision in the U.S. each year. The Spine Research Institute of San Diego and its director, Dr. Arthur C. Croft, have been dedicated for the past 20 years to better understanding the mechanisms of injury in order to help prevent them and to more effectively manage those injuries that do occur.
Why do these injuries occur? The chief mechanism in whiplash injury is the differential motion of the head and neck. As the car moves forward in a rear end collision, the torso is accelerated forward by the seat back, while the head remains momentarily fixed in space. This causes very high shear forces which can damage the spine, discs, and surrounding ligaments. This class of injury is broadly classified as whiplash or whiplash-associated disorder (WAD). Dr. Croft prefers the term cervical acceleration/deceleration disorder (CAD). The chief symptoms of whiplash are neck pain and headaches.