LET’S LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR NECK IN A CRASH
At the moment of impact, the car seat just begins to move and the occupant has not yet been accelerated forward.
As the car seatback pushes the torso forward, the spine moves forward, resulting in a straightening of the thoracic and cervical spine (upper back and neck).
At this point in the collision, the car seat is rapidly pushing the occupant’s torso forward, while the head remains stationary due to inertia. This rapid bending in just a few joints in the lower neck can result in ligament damage in the lower cervical spine.
Damage happens between 50-70 milliseconds
This difference in motion between the neck and torso results in an S-shaped curve, where nearly all of the bending in the cervical spine takes place in the lower cervical spine. This deformation of the spine is unnatural and causes shearing of the joints.
The torso has pulled so far forward on the lower neck that the head is forced backwards over the head restraint. Depending on the severity of the collision, the ligaments in the front portion of the spine can be injured during this phase of the collision.
Finally, the head and torso are thrown forward by the force of the car seat. The back muscles of the neck and ligaments supporting spine are overstretched and may tear causing additional injury.
All of the above has happened faster than the blink of an eye!