Previous studies on neck muscle strength and motion have assumed or imposed varying constraints on the heads and bodies of the subjects. In this study, we asked 20 subjects to vigorously shake their heads 5−10 times in a completely unconstrained manner. The kinematics and kinetics of the head and neck were measured from video analysis and instrumentation mounted inside the mouth. Subjects shook their heads at self-selected tempos ranging from 1.9−4.7 Hz over a 20−91° range of motion. The motion of each subject’s head could be approximated by a fixed center of rotation that was typically located in the midcervical spine, but varied widely among subjects. Significant differences between men and women were observed. Peak head accelerations were low (4.3 ± 1.1 g and 250 ± 103 rad/s2 for men, 3.0 ± 0.9 g and 182 ± 58 rad/s2 for women) and estimated peak generated neck moments at C7/T1 were comparable to values reported in isometric neck strength studies (47 ± 14 N·m in extension and 22 ± 9 N·m in flexion for men, 25 ± 8 N·m in extension and 9 ± 7 N·m in flexion for women).
James R. Funk is with the Center for Applied Biomechanics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. Richard A. Watson, Joseph M. Cormier, Herb Guzman, and Enrique Bonugli are with Biodynamic Research Corporation, San Antonio, TX.