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Auto Injury Prevention & Seatbelts

Auto Injury Prevention & Seatbelts - El Paso Chiropractor
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Spine injuries are frequently diagnosed in people who’ve been involved in an automobile accident. As a matter of fact, the auto accidents are the leading cause for spinal injuries on the mid back, or thoracic, and low back, or lumbar, regions of the spine.

In a study conducted between 1996 and 2011, the records of 4,572 individuals entered into the Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network database were evaluated by doctors. The individuals had suffered from moderate to severe auto accident injuries but they all shared one common factor.

From 631 individuals whom had experienced injuries to the thoracic and lumbar spine, approximately 47% of the individuals suffered major injury while 53% suffered minor injury. The individual’s injuries were identified according to their diagnosis. The injuries were diagnosed as flexion-distraction injuries, identified as an upper body injury commonly resulting when the head abruptly moves towards the knees during an automobile accident, or extension injuries, resulting when the body bends backwards.

Those who suffered flexion-distraction injuries during an auto accident were usually children or young adults while those who suffered from extension injuries were usually older adults averaging 65 years of age and were overweight. Through the research though, the doctors discovered that several individuals who only suffered minor injuries to the thoracic and lumbar spine had also sustained abdominal and pelvic injuries that were often much worse than their spinal injuries.

The research also compared the injury outcomes of people who were using a two-point belted seatbelt versus a three-point belted seatbelt during the auto accident. In people using the three-point seat belts, these protected them against neurological injury, fatality, and further complications but those wearing this type of seat belt were more than three times more likely to sustain spine fractures than those wearing the two-point seat belts. In people using the two-point seat belts, flexion-distraction injuries were most common. But ultimately, people who weren’t wearing a seat belt at the time of the automobile accident had a higher risk of suffering spinal fractures in the thoracic and lumbar regions as well as dislocations.

When it comes to auto accident safety, using seatbelts will reduce injury severity of mortality but at the same time, they can also increase the likelihood of spinal fractures in the thoracic and lumbar spine.

If you’ve been involved in an automobile accident, seeking proper medical and chiropractic care as soon as possible is crucial for treating any possible injuries. Immediate diagnosis and treatment can help speed up the rehabilitation process.


Rao, R.D., et al. Occupant and crash characteristics in the thoracic and lumbar spine injuries resulting from motor vehicle collisions. Spine Journal 2014

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The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to contact us. Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN* email: phone: 915-850-0900 Licensed in: Texas & New Mexico*