To gain a better understanding of the forces working on the cervical spine, a spatial biomechanical computer model was developed. The first part of our research was concerned with the development of a kinematic model to establish the axes of rotation and the mutual position of the head and vertebrae with regard to flexion, extension, lateroflexion and torsion. The next step was the introduction of lines of action of muscle forces and an external load, created by gravity and accelerations in different directions, working on the centre of gravity of the head and possibly a helmet. Although the results of our calculations should be interpreted cautiously in the present stage of our research, some conclusions can be drawn with respect to different head positions. During flexion muscle forces and joint reaction forces increase, except the force between the odontoid and the ligamentum transversum atlantis. This force shows a minimum during moderate flexion. The joint reaction forces on the levels C0-C1, C1-C2, and C7-T1 reach minimum values during extension, each in different stages of extension. Axial rotation less than 35° does not need great muscle forces, axial rotation further than 35° causes muscle forces and joint reaction forces to increase fast. While performing, lateral flexion muscle forces and joint reaction forces must increase rapidly to balance the head. We obtained some indications that the order of magnitude of the calculated forces is correct.

dx.doi.org/10.1016/0021-9290(91)90303-5, hdl.handle.net/1765/60174
Journal of Biomechanics
Biomedical Physics & Technology

Snijders, C.J, Hoek van Dijke, G.A, & Roosch, E.R. (1991). A biomechanical model for the analysis of the cervical spine in static postures. Journal of Biomechanics, 24(9), 783–792. doi:10.1016/0021-9290(91)90303-5