Cervical spine motion during extrication

Jack R. Engsberg, John W. Standeven, Timothy L. Shurtleff, Jessica L. Eggars, Jeffery S. Shafer, Rosanne S. Naunheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: It has been estimated that up to one-quarter of spinal cord injuries may be significantly worsened during extrication or early treatment after a motor vehicle accident. Study Objectives: The purpose of this study was to analyze the planar motions of the head relative to the torso during extrication from an automobile in a laboratory setting. Methods: Video motion capture was used to quantify the range of motion of the head relative to the torso in 10 participants as they were extricated from a mock motor vehicle during four different extrication techniques: 1) Unassisted Unprotected, 2) Unassisted Protected with a cervical collar (CC), 3) Assisted and Protected with a CC, and 4) Assisted and Protected with a CC and Kendrick Extrication Device. Results: The results indicated a significant decrease in movement for all motions when the driver exited the vehicle unassisted with CC protection, compared to exiting unassisted and without protection. Decreases in movement were also observed for an event (i.e., Pivot in seat) during extrication with paramedic assistance and protection. However, no movement reduction was observed in another event (i.e., Recline on board) with both paramedic assistance and protection. Conclusion: In this study, no decrease in neck movement occurred for certain extrication events that included protection and assistance by the paramedics. Future work should further investigate this finding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-127
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • immobilization
  • spine
  • transportation of patients
  • vehicle extrication
  • video motion capture


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