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Seat Belt Injuries

Car accidents are an unfortunate part of everyday life. Even during the height of the pandemic when most people were home and out of their normal frequent travel patterns, it was reported that there were an average of 14,386 auto accidents per day in the United States. That is equal to one car crash every six seconds! The three main causes of fatal collisions are reported to be speeding, driving under the influence… and not using your seatbelt! Using your seatbelt could very much save your life.

Why do we need to wear a seat belt?

Seat belts are so important to wear in fact, that since it was introduced in 1973, three-point seat belts have reduced the number of fatal auto accident injuries by 50%. This is pretty incredible, considering the amount of vehicles on the road today. A seat belt could save your life; but accidents generally don’t happen without trauma.

What is whiplash?

The three point seat belt is designed to transmit the energy from the car crash in the least damaging way possible to the body. It is surprising to learn that these safety devices can still cause a bit of damage.


One of the most common injuries associated with seat belts is whiplash. Whiplash can occur when the lower back is held in place, while the upper back and neck are propelled in a certain direction based on the type of crash. For example, a rear impact type of collision will cause the head to extend backwards into the headrest, and then propel forward towards the steering wheel.

What are the symptoms of seat belt whiplash?

Whiplash symptoms may include neck pain, pain in the shoulders or between the shoulder blades, headaches, dizziness, pain or numbness in the arms or legs, low back pain, muscle spasms, or ringing in the ears. Other possible seat belt injuries include; injuries to the chest or ribs, bruising in the pattern of the seat belt, intra-abdominal injuries or even fractures to the spine.

How can I treat whiplash?

Now with that said, please remember that wearing a seat belt could save your life and improves your chances of surviving an auto accident by 50%. So luckily if you are reading this blog after an auto crash, you may want to say thank you to your seat belt!!

However, if you are experiencing symptoms from the seat belt, the first step might be to start at the hospital to make sure there aren’t any injuries that require urgent care. After that, you can turn to conservative care modalities like chiropractic care or physical therapy. Whether your injuries require a chiropractor or physical therapist or both, we are here to take care of you! Our team at BC + PT is fully equipped to help you rehab your spine or extremity injuries, as well as answer any questions and guide you through your healing process.

To schedule an appointment at one of our four Buffalo locations, give us a call today, or fill out one of our forms. Wellness is a journey, and so is getting back to your life after an auto accident. Stop waiting and start healing today!

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