More than one million Americans go to the emergency room each year due to a slip and fall, with more than one in four seniors ages 65 or older falling each year. Whether it’s a misstep, a slip, a trip, or a stumble and fall, these accidents are unexpected, and your body isn’t prepared. Your injuries can range from minor to significant, depending on the nature of the fall and where and how you landed.
If you suffer a back injury from a slip and fall, your pain and discomfort can be alleviated with chiropractic care. Let’s take a closer look at some of the types of back injuries that can occur from a slip and fall and how various treatments, including chiropractic care, can help you heal and resume an active lifestyle.
Types of Back Injuries From a Slip and Fall
While there are a variety of injuries you can sustain from a slip and fall, injuries to the back or spine affect the entire body. It’s important to seek medical help if you experience severe pain following your tumble, and it’s even more important to visit your provider if your acute pain persists for more than two to three days. The following can be identified as back injuries from a slip and fall:
- Altered posture/curvature: After a slip and fall, your body may compensate for the pain in one area by leaning more on the areas that aren’t so painful. In doing so, you are training your brain to alter your gait, which also alters your posture and impacts the natural curvature of your spine.
- Herniated disc (slipped disc): A herniated or slipped disc occurs when some of the soft internal section of a spinal disc (the nucleus) slips out of place. This can be the result of a jolt. This usually happens in younger people. Those with previous injuries are more susceptible to this issue.
- Nerve damage or pinched nerves: Your peripheral nerves can be damaged from a fall. This is more likely to occur in those with an underlying condition. The fall may cause the affected area to stretch, compress, crush, or even cut nerves.
- Vertebral fracture: If your impact occurred on a hard surface at a high rate of pressure, the traumatic blow to your spine can lead to vertebrae fractures, dislocations, crushes, or compresses.
- Whiplash: This occurs when your head and body is forcefully and quickly thrown forward. Whiplash can injure bones in the spine, disks between the bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and other tissues of the neck.
- Tailbone bruise or fracture: A tailbone bruise or fracture occurs when your fall damages the bottom of the vertebrae in your spine, known as the coccyx. An x-ray will determine if your injury is more than a bruise. A bruised tailbone typically heals within two to four weeks, while a fractured tailbone can take anywhere from eight to 12 weeks to fully heal.
- Neck sprain: A neck strain or sprain happens when the ligaments (the connective tissue that helps keep bones together) are injured. This is one of the most common neck injuries after a fall because the sudden movement overstretches or overloads the joint.
- Low back (lumbar) strain: The impact of your fall can place heavy, immediate stress on the low back muscles. Lumbar sprains and strains usually present as a broad, aching pain across the lower back, making it difficult to bend your back or stand up straight.
- Spinal misalignment: Depending on the force of impact, the jolt could be strong enough to cause your spine to shift positioning. If left untreated, several other issues can present, as the spine is the core of your nervous system
The above back injuries are not mutually exclusive. You may have a myriad of issues resulting from your fall, and some can overlap. However, there are various treatments that can help.
Treatments That Can Help With Injury Recovery
There are a variety of treatments that can help you receive many short- and long-term benefits. For example, whether you are seeking treatment for a back injury from a slip and fall or receiving regular adjustments as a part of your preventative care plan, receiving chiropractic care can alleviate pain, improve range of motion, and get you back to your optimal health. Many chiropractors will incorporate exercise and stretching into your treatment plan, but diving into exercise too soon after an injury can be detrimental to your healing. Before returning to exercise, your chiropractor may recommend the following treatments:
- Rest: Relaxing your muscles and getting sleep helps your body to decompress. However, you do not want to be on complete bed rest because your body needs to be as active as possible (without overdoing it). Your doctor can advise on the recommended amount of rest that is beneficial to you.
- Epsom salt baths: The pain you experience is a result of the inflammation of the joints and muscles that were injured. Epsom salt breaks down into magnesium and sulfate, and, when mixed into your bath water, these minerals can help relax muscles and reduce swelling and inflammation, thereby minimizing your pain.
- Applying ice and heat to the affected areas: If you have acute pain, ice can help reduce pain and muscle spasms. Lowering the body temperature helps constrict blood vessels, reduce swelling, and decrease inflammation. After the acute phase of healing, heat therapy also reduces pain and increases circulation. You can also alternate to create pumping effects in the injured area.
- Passive range of motion stretches: These are not stretches for you to do alone. Your chiropractor will move the limb or body part around the stiff joint (like your hip or leg), gently stretching muscles and reminding them how to move correctly.
- Wearing a sacroiliac (SI) belt: Sacroiliac (SI) joints connect the sacrum at the base of the spine with the hip bone. If your pain is in the pelvic area, the belt will provide compression and stabilization.
Recovering from a back injury from a slip and fall may be faster when these recommendations are used in conjunction with chiropractic adjustments. If you continue to feel acute pain while trying these therapies, be sure to keep an open line of communication with your doctor.
When your inflammation has decreased and your level of discomfort is manageable, you may be ready to get back to exercising. Remember, it takes time to heal a back injury from a slip and fall. If you’re wanting to resume an active lifestyle, be sure to pay close attention to your body. Keep the following in mind when you’re slowly adding back activity into your daily routine:
- Don’t “fake it ‘til you make it”: Give your body time to heal. If you are still experiencing acute pain after a few weeks, you need to be honest with your doctor. The more you try to will your body back to 100%, the more damage you can do. This is where taking it easy is key.
- Slow and steady: Don’t rush back into full cardio exercises. Start small with seated neck releases, leg presses, or lower back bridges. Some exercises can cause further injury, and your chiropractor can help determine what is best for you.
- Adjust and readjust: Receiving chiropractic adjustments immediately following a fall can help you heal 75% faster, and receiving regular adjustments prior to a trip, slip, or misstep can help prevent those from happening in the first place. However, as you move through your healing process, your chiropractor will assess the progress and determine where, when, and how often chiropractic adjustments are needed to get you back to optimal health.
Chiropractic BioPhysics® for a Back Injury From a Slip and Fall
It’s important to get checked out immediately after sustaining a back injury from a slip and fall. Receiving chiropractic care from a provider who specializes in Chiropractic BioPhysics®, like the team at PostureWorks, allows for a comprehensive view of the extent of the damage and an in-depth treatment plan that is customized to treat the root cause of your pain.
Our customized treatment plans, which are based on biometric readings and your health goals, include three phases of care—initial care, corrective care, and maintenance care. Our doctors understand the mechanics of the entire body and provide the most well-rounded expertise to effectively and efficiently diagnose and treat any injuries caused by your slip and fall. Our proactive and preventative care methods will help you practice good posture habits and prevent you from falling into poor ones.
Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health and optimal function while eliminating the source of pain and circulatory and nervous dysfunction. CBP is conservative, evidence-based, and non-invasive. If you’ve recently experienced a back injury from a slip and fall, schedule an appointment with the experienced team at PostureWorks. Contact us today!