Did you know that according to a study in the journal Pain Research and Management 45% of the American population that have chronic neck pain, attribute that pain to a motor vehicle crash. Another study in the journal Orthopaedics found that whiplash type injuries went from 10% in 1985 to over 30% in 1997.
The increased number of whiplash type injuries is being attributed to the increased stiffness of cars. When a car does not crush during a collision the energy of the collision causes the car struck to move forward much faster. The fast jump forward of the car puts more of the energy from the crash into the occupants of the car. That is how you can be injured when there is no damage to either car.
There are many factors that affect your risk of injury from a rear end vehicle crash, but one of the easiest things you can do to reduce your risk is to properly adjust your headrest. When the headrest is too low the head will “ramp up” or move up and over the back of the seat. The increased movement of the head and neck leads to greater injury. Interestingly a study found that a low head restraint was actually worse than no head restraint because of ramping.
It has been found that women are less likely to adjust their head restraints. Another study found that 83% of drivers with adjustable head rests had them improperly adjusted. The good news is that proper adjustment of the headrest is simple with only two factors to consider.
The two adjustments for your headrest to reduce your risk of injury.
1. Raise the headrest so that the center or the headrest is at the level of the back of your head and your head can’t extend over the headrest.
2. Adjust your seat so that the back of your head is within two inches of your headrest. When the distance goes beyond four inches neck symptoms increased significantly.
You can see that two simple adjustments can significantly reduce your risk of injury in a rear end vehicle crash. If you are involved in a motor vehicle crash a doctor familiar with the risks and appropriate treatment can make the difference between speedy recovery and a lifetime of chronic neck pain. Click here for a complimentary consultation.