A Study of Cervical Spine Kinematics and Joint Capsule Strain in Rear Impacts using a Human FE Model
Many efforts have been made to understand the mechanism of whiplash injury. Recently, the cervical facet joint capsules have been focused on as a potential site of injury. An experimental approach has been taken to analyze the vertebral motion and to estimate joint capsule stretch that was thought to be a potential cause of pain. The purpose of this study is to analyze the kinematics of the cervical facet joint using a human FE model in order to better understand the injury mechanism. The Total Human Model for Safety (THUMS) was used to visually analyze the local and global kinematics of the spine. Soft tissues in the neck were newly modeled and introduced into THUMS for estimating the loading level in rear impacts. The model was first validated against human test data in the literature by comparing vertebrae motion as well as head and neck responses. Joint capsule strain was estimated from a maximum principal strain output from the elements representing the capsule tissues.