The Essential Guide to Adjusting Your Car Headrest

Dec 21, 2008

Why Should I Worry About Adjusting My Headrest?

Whiplash is a common injury sustained when a car is shunted from behind, often when it is stationary at a junction. The vehicle behind impacts with the car in front. Whilst the trunk of the body is connected to the car as it is pressed against the seat, the head and neck are normally not touching the seat. As the car and body move forward with the impact, the head and neck stay in the same position as they have not yet felt the force of the impact. If the headrest is in the wrong position, whilst the rest of the body and trunk is moving forward the neck now gets thrown over the back of the chair and headrest and "whip-lash" snapped back up and forwards.

Now the neck is moving forwards, the seatbelt has done its work and is now bringing the body back into the seat. Unfortunately, this means that there is a second snapping period, when the body has gone right back into the seat and the neck now whips forward into its over extended state, snapping back when it hits the chest..

That is twice now that your poor neck has been damaged, so I hope that you are now convinced it is worth taking just a few minutes to adjust your headrest correctly before each and every journey (when moving between vehicles).

It is this over extension and over flexion that stretches the neck muscles way beyond their normal comfort zone causing them to sustain often long term and permanent damage. Sleepless nights of discomfort are often guaranteed!

So How Should You Correctly Adjust Your Headrest?

Most car headrests are set too low, and can actually cause increased whiplash pain as the neck will snap back over them in the event of a rear end collision.

The Rule Of Thumb!

The rule of thumb is that the top of the headrest should be level with your eyes. If you position your headrest with the top of the eyes you will have a good chance that if you are hit from behind, you will limit the impact of the whiplash injury. Maybe the months of sleepless nights will only be a few days. Pain well saved!

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Nicholas Jervis is a personal injury solicitor (non-practising) and a director of 1stClaims.co.uk, a claims company which connects innocent personal injury and medical negligence victims with expert personal injury and medical negligence solicitors at no cost to the individual. Read more about Conditional Fee Agreements