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Seat Belt Injury Types/Treatments Frequently Asked Questions

Seatbelts have saved countless lives during major auto accidents. Over the years, the designs for seatbelts have been modified and improved, but the purpose of seatbelts has not changed: they are intended to keep drivers and occupants in place to prevent a physical collision with the interior of the car.

Can Seat Belts Cause Injury and Hurt You?

When a collision occurs, the force of impact against another car or object may stop the vehicle itself, but the body remains moving at the previous speed. This results in a dangerous situation in which passengers may come in violent contact with the steering wheel, dashboard, or windshield. The seatbelt is instrumental in holding occupants in place and minimizing the potential for injury. While seatbelts save lives, they can also be the cause of certain auto accident injuries, even when they are fastened and functioning properly.

After a traumatic accident, seatbelts may have prevented more serious consequences but could have also caused acute pain in the ribs, chest pain/sternum, shoulder, abdomen soft tissue abrasions, or tissue lacerations.

Seat Belt Types and Treatments

Can seat belts cause injury and hurt you? – Yes, while preventing a more severe injury, some my sustain Skin Abrasions, Bone Fractures, or Soft Tissue Injuries. It is true that seat belts can kill you in a crash, however considering the situational forces studies have consistently proven that seat belt saves lives but can cause harm.

Seat Belt Injury to Ribs – Bruised ribs are just as painful as fractured ribs, but without the dislocation. You can treat bruised ribs by icing the area, resting your body, and controlling your breathing patterns.

Seat Belt Injury to Chest/Sternum – A force from a sudden stop can affect your chest and sternal region, as the seat belt directly impacts it. The danger of the injury is that the sternum is near the heart and lungs, so any damage that affects the sternum also affects the internal organs and tissues in that area. If you feel that your chest is sore, seek a medical or physical therapy evaluation to make sure there isn’t a severe problem.

Seat Belt Injury To Shoulder – Seatbelts can cause injuries to the soft tissue in your shoulder during collisions. The force from an auto accident can tear the tendons and muscle fibers in your shoulder, which can cause discomfort and severe pain. Icing the area will help reduce inflammation. Shoulder injuries, for example, are usually the result of wearing the seatbelt’s shoulder strap, in which the jerking motion of the accident leads to pain in that area. The chest is also affected by seatbelts; chest pain may be a warning sign of more serious injuries such as broken ribs or a fractured sternum.

The use of lap belts can cause trauma to the spine (particularly the lumbar spine, or lower back), which can lead to various symptoms in different areas of the body. Sciatica, for example, can result from trauma to the lumbar spine and may be experienced as pain in the lower back, buttock, thigh, calf, and foot. Some patients may have muscle weakness and numbness and/or tingling. Other conditions that can be caused by trauma while wearing a seatbelt are herniated or bulging discs or muscle pain.

Please fill out this form if you have been injured in a car accident and would like to come into our office for a consult to discuss our treatment options – covered by most insurances.

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