Cervical electromyographic activity during low-speed rear impact

M. L. Magnusson, M. H. Pope, L. Hasselquist, K. M. Bolte, M. Ross, V. K. Goel, J. S. Lee, K. Spratt, C. R. Clark, D. G. Wilder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Whiplash motion of the neck is characterized by having an extension- flexion motion of the neck. It has been previously assumed that muscles do not play a role in the injury. Eight healthy males were seated in a car seat mounted on a sled. The sled was accelerated by a spring mechanism. Muscle electromyographic (EMG) activity was measured by wire electrodes in semispinalis capitis, splenius capitis, and levator scapulae. Surface EMG activity was measured over trapezius and sternocleidomastoideus. Wavelet analysis was used to establish the onset of muscle activity with respect to sled movement. Shorter reaction times were found to be as low as 13.2 ms from head acceleration and 65.6 ms from sled acceleration. Thus the muscles could influence the injury pattern. It is of interest that clinical symptoms are often attributed to muscle tendon injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-125
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999


  • Electromyography Acceleration
  • Muscle activity
  • Whiplash

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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