Neck muscle load distribution in lateral, frontal, and rear-end impacts: a three-dimensional finite element analysis.Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2009 Nov 15; 34(24):2626-33.S
A finite element (FE) model of the human neck was used to study the distribution of neck muscle loads during multidirectional impacts. The computed load distributions were compared to experimental electromyography (EMG) recordings.
To quantify passive muscle loads in nonactive cervical muscles during impacts of varying direction and energy, using a three-dimensional (3D) continuum FE muscle model.
SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA
Experimental and numerical studies have confirmed the importance of muscles in the impact response of the neck. Although EMG has been used to measure the relative activity levels in neck muscles during impact tests, this technique has not been able to measure all neck muscles and cannot directly quantify the force distribution between the muscles. A numerical model can give additional insight into muscle loading during impact.
An FE model with solid element musculature was used to simulate frontal, lateral, and rear-end vehicle impacts at 4 peak accelerations. The peak cross-sectional forces, internal energies, and effective strains were calculated for each muscle and impact configuration. The computed load distribution was compared with experimental EMG data.
The load distribution in the cervical muscles varied with load direction. Peak sectional forces, internal energies, and strains increased in most muscles with increasing impact acceleration. The dominant muscles identified by the model for each direction were splenius capitis, levator scapulae, and sternocleidomastoid in lateral impacts, splenius capitis, and trapezoid in frontal impacts, and sternocleidomastoid, rectus capitis posterior minor, and hyoids in rear-end impacts. This corresponded with the most active muscles identified by EMG recordings, although within these muscles the distribution of forces and EMG levels were not the same.
The passive muscle forces, strains, and energies computed using a continuum FE model of the cervical musculature distinguished between impact directions and peak accelerations, and on the basis of prior studies, isolated the most important muscles for each direction.