Is Your Life In Danger?
- Created: Thursday, 26 September 2013 21:03
- Written by Dr. Michael Bennese
Every car on the road today is built with an adjustable headrest. This important safety element is an often-overlooked feature to most automobile owners. If you have been to my Spinal Care Class, you know this. Herein lies the problem. If the adjustable headrest in your automobile has not been properly adjusted to be slightly above the center of mass of your skull [A point about the middle of your head, 3" behind your eyes.], your neck, spine, and even your life may be in danger.
Whenever a vehicle is struck, the body sitting in the seat is affected. The body is accelerated, and the head and neck lag behind. When the headrest is too low, and the vehicle is struck from the rear, the head rises up, and extends over the headrest as the body continues to move forward due to the impact. The travel of the 10-12 pound head up and over the headrest stretches, tears and often ruptures ligaments and discs, and seriously damages the nerves and spinal cord as well. In severe impacts, the bones in the neck, middle back and even the lower back can suffer fractures. These injuries are always serious, and life changing. Some produce pain and disability. Others are so severe as to produce paralysis or even death.
When the headrest is placed in the optimum position, so the middle of the headrest is slightly higher than a line drawn from the eyes straight back to the headrest, the risk of injury to the spinal joints, discs, ligaments and nerves is dramatically reduced. Beware, some of you may have vehicles that have the headrest as high as it can go, and yet still be too low; like the photo of me in the example car above. So, right now, while you are thinking about this essential safety element, stand up, go out to your car, and raise up your headrest, make sure you are enjoying all the built in safety benefits of an adjustable headrest. In so doing, you literally are reducing the likelihood of serious injury, or death. And remember Central Pennsylvanians, drive safely too.
Finally, the next time you are here in the office, let us know, and we can check to make sure you have properly adjusted your headrest and the angle of your seat to keep you safe.