Acceleration perturbations of daily living. A comparison to 'whiplash'

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1994 Jun 1;19(11):1285-90. doi: 10.1097/00007632-199405310-00017.


Study design: This study measured repeated human head accelerations (g) during daily activities.

Objectives: Perturbations of daily living were compared to similar data from low velocity rear-end motor vehicle accidents.

Summary of background data: Past assumptions suggest that motor vehicle accident severity does not correlate with the degree of sustained injury. Early engineering studies indicated that occupant disturbance in a low velocity motor vehicle accident is minor.

Methods: Eight volunteers were perturbed with 13 daily activities. Helmets on the heads of volunteers were instrumented with tri-planar accelerometers with output sampling of 500 Hz, sensitivity of 0.02 g, and a range of +/- 20 g.

Results: There was wide inter-subject response for various perturbations. Plopping backward into a chair caused maximum peak acceleration horizontally at 5.6 g and vertically at 8.5 g, with force vector of 10.1 g at 54.9 degrees. Mean impulse duration was 0.19 sec. There was no hint of injury in any subject.

Conclusions: Perturbations of daily living compared similarly to the jostling expected in low velocity "whiplash"-type motor vehicle accidents.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration*
  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adult
  • Automobiles / standards
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Head / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neck / physiology*
  • Whiplash Injuries* / etiology
  • Whiplash Injuries* / physiopathology