According to Tom Paris, the Inertial Dampeners are the only thing keeping the crew from becoming "stains on the back wall" when the ship accelerates to super-luminal speeds.
If the Inertial Dampeners are capable of, as their name implies, absorbing that much inertia then why do the crew get thrown around every time the ship encounters a subspace disturbance, tractor beam, or photon torpedo? It seems to me the only time the Inertial Dampeners are ever actually called out as being useful is when it comes to moving about the galaxy - and even then, they're only really highlighted for when they're not working.
Of course, the Star Trek Shake (WARNING: TVTropes link!) is a fairly well-known means of emphasizing the importance of certain events in the show. But I was wondering if there's ever been an attempt to explain canonically why the Inertial Dampeners seem to be ineffective against these smaller shifts?