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The Top 5 Most Common Seat Belt Injuries to Watch Out For

Seat Belt Injury Pictures
There’s no doubt that seat belts save lives. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved 15,000 lives in the U.S. in 2016. Lives are saved but it doesn’t mean car accidents don’t cause seat belt injuries that need to be seen by a physician. Seat belts stop you from ejection, but that amount of force causes plenty of damage. Here are the top five most common seat belt injuries. Keep reading to learn more.

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1. Sciatica and Nerve Pain

Do you have pain and numbness in your back that radiates from the buttocks down your leg? Back injuries are common after a car accident.

Herniating or bulging discs in the lumbar spine is a condition caused by seat belt trauma. When this happens, the disc presses against nerves in the spine resulting in compression and inflammation of the sciatic nerve.

Sciatic nerve pain and herniated discs need immediate attention and treatment.

2. Skeletal 

The force from a sudden stop is enough to break bones.

Skeletal injuries include fractures to the sternum, ribs, and clavicle. Although not usually life-threatening, if left untreated, fractures can cause more problems if left untreated.

Your sternum is directly over your heart and lungs and an untreated break can puncture these organs.

3. Soft Tissue 

The most common soft tissue damage due to seat belts occurs in the shoulders and neck. Tendons and muscle fibers tear causing severe pain.

Whiplash is the most common form of soft tissue damage from rear-end collisions when your head is thrown backward and forward. Each year, 2 million Americans suffer from whiplash.

Symptoms of whiplash include:

  • Neck pain
  • Stiffness
  • Limited neck movement
  • Headaches
  • Tenderness
  • Fatigue

Physical therapy is an option, depending on the severity of the damage. If not treated, soft tissue damage leads to decreased mobility. It’s easier to treat the damage as soon as possible rather than waiting weeks or months.

4. Abrasions, Lacerations, and Bruising 

In a minor accident, light bruising and scrapes are not something to worry about. Serious accidents cause much more damage.

Open wounds caused by friction from a seat belt cause infection without treatment. Sometimes abrasions and bruising means there may be an internal injury that needs immediate care.

5. Vascular

Vascular injuries are not as common but thoracic aortic tears have happened in forceful impacts.

Aortic injures occur when a collision is strong enough that the shoulder strap of the seat belt causes a tear.

Sometimes it’s not obvious when you’re injured and symptoms show up days or weeks later. Look for these symptoms after an auto accident:

  • Blood in urine
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Swelling or pain in your abdomen, chest, or back

Are You Suffering From Seat Belt Injuries?

Seat belts save us from becoming flying projectiles in an accident but there’s no guarantee you’ll walk away without a scratch.

Were you involved in an auto accident and suffer from seat belt injuries? Call 1-800-897-8440 to find an experienced auto injury doctor near you and get the treatment you need.

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