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What you need to know about seat belt syndrome

Seat belt syndrome is the name doctors assign to many injuries a seat belt may cause in a car accident. Even if you have a low-speed collision, your body may push against your seat belt. The impact may cause a belt-shaped bruise across your torso.

Seat belt syndrome is one of the more common injuries in automobile accidents in Virginia and across the U.S. Therefore, after a car accident, you should watch for signs of seat belt syndrome to appear. You should also monitor your recovery for evidence of complications.

Signs of seat belt syndrome

Without question, seat belts save lives by keeping drivers and passengers inside the vehicle during an accident. Even though your seat belt may prevent you from dying in a crash, it may contribute to a serious injury. Here are some common signs of seat belt syndrome:

  • A belt-shaped bruise across your waist and torso
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in your stool
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of muscular control in your arms or legs

Treatment options

Because seat belt syndrome describes many different injuries, there is no standard method for treating the condition. Instead, your doctor is likely to use tests and equipment to diagnose your specific injuries. Then, he or she may recommend a treatment plan based on the nature of your injuries.

If your only symptom is bruising, you may not need medical intervention. That is, unless you have certain medical conditions, an abdominal bruise may go away on its own. Nevertheless, because you likely cannot gauge the severity of seat belt syndrome, it is wise to ask a doctor to examine you for possible internal damage or other life-altering injuries.