Lower back pain after falling
Common Spinal Issues After an Accident or Slip & Fall
Slip and falls are the leading causes of spinal injuries and neuropathic pain. After you've fallen and been injured, it can feel like you're faced with months of a difficult recovery. For some, the prolonged effects of back pain after a slip or fall can make them quickly spiral into depression. Although some conditions may have enduring symptoms, at iRISE Spine and Joint, we offer comprehensive care to help you find relief and freedom again.
How Back Injuries Progress
A very common problem with slip & fall injuries is the fact that they have both immediate and long-term consequences. If you are a high-risk individual, such as a senior citizen or someone with brittle bones, existing damage, or fissures, your likelihood of experiencing a serious injury is that much greater after a fall. Pinched nerves, compressed discs, and torn ligaments can also cause serious damage that can have a lifelong impact.
There are three main areas of the spine:
- The cervical vertebrae in the neck (upper spine).
- The thoracic vertebrae in the middle back.
- The lumbar vertebrae in the lower back.
Each area of the spine has its own set of discs, nerves, and muscles that affect different parts of the body. Chronic pain from lack of treatment or misdiagnosis can cause problems to quickly worsen, leaving you in moderate to severe pain.
The Most Common Slip and Fall Injuries
Every patient is unique, and we always provide one-on-one, personalized treatment plans for each of our patients. However, there are some similarities among people who experience a slip and fall that can make it easier for us to pinpoint problems and come up with better interventions for faster relief.
Understanding these conditions may also help you identify the source of your back injury symptoms. You should always seek a medical professional's expert opinion before you try any treatments. Early intervention can prevent permanent nerve and muscle damage as well as reduce the severity of your pain.
Some falls can lead to vertebral compression fractures (VCFs), which are most common in the lower thoracic and upper lumbar spine, but they can happen anywhere in the spine. The effects range from severe pain to physical deformity. VCF injuries are more common among people with brittle bones, as is the case with patients with osteoporosis. Women who are postmenopausal are also at a higher risk of a compression fracture.
Signs of a vertebral compression fracture include:
- Sudden back pain.
- Pain when walking or sitting.
- Reduced pain when lying down on your back.
- Reduced mobility.
- Progressive deformity, disability, and/or height loss.
- Herniated discs.
A fall or slip that twists the spine can cause a disc to rupture, causing the softer inner portion of the disk to herniate. This creates pressure on the surrounding nerves, which can result in moderate to intense pain, tingling and numbness, and muscle weakness. People with herniated discs can feel pain corresponding to the specific areas injured in the spine. For example, if you herniated a disc in your lumbar, you are likely to experience pain and tingling in your lower limbs.
Treatment for herniated discs requires surgery, but they can also be managed early on with chiropractic care, physical therapy, therapeutic ultrasounds, steroid injections, and medication.
Slip and Fall Back Injury Treatment
iRISE Spine and Joint provides personalized, compassionate care to patients of all ages. We offer services in English, Spanish, and Creole and interpreters for most languages, to help you get the quality medical care and information you deserve.
If you have any questions about our services or would like to book an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us today.
Back injuries - symptoms and treatments
Back injuries, especially to the lower back, are very common. Any injury to the back’s bones, joints, connective tissue, muscles or nerves can cause pain and discomfort.
Injuries can affect any part of the back, but most injuries happen in the lower back. Common injuries include sprains and strains, herniated disks or fractured vertebrae. The injuries vary in seriousness depending on the cause of the injury and what damage is done
What are the symptoms of serious back injury?
Severe back injuries include fractures (a break in a bone), wounds, extensive bruising and damage to your spinal cord and internal organs.
Any of the following symptoms could indicate a severe back injury. You should see a doctor right away if you have:
- difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- problems with urinating or passing stool (poo)
- numbness or pins and needles to the arms, legs, hands or feet
- blood in the urine
Seek medical assistance immediately by calling an ambulance on triple zero (000). Do not move the person unless they are in danger and advise the person to not move their back. Support their head, neck and spine and prevent twisting or bending movements.
Signs you may have injured your back include:
- pain or tenderness (sore to touch)
- pain that worsens with movement, coughing, sneezing or laughing
- stiffness or difficulty moving
- difficulty standing up straight
- muscles in spasm on either side of the spine
- pain that radiates down one or both legs
However, back pain has many causes. It could be caused by a disease such as osteoarthritis or osteoporosis, your age, physical fitness, smoking, being overweight, or the type of work you do.
It is important to find out the cause of your symptoms so they can be treated properly.
What causes back injuries?
You can injure your back doing sport, working around the house or in the garden, from a sudden jolt in a car accident, or from a sudden movement, bump, knock or fall.
The most common cause of lower back injury is muscle strain.
When should I see my doctor?
Apart from the signs of a serious back injury, you should see your doctor if:
- your problems have not improved at all within a few days
- your problems have not improved completely within 6 weeks
Your doctor may be able to help you manage any pain and may refer you for physiotherapy or other investigations.
How are back injuries treated?
Your doctor will examine you to check whether the nerves from your spinal cord are working properly. Make sure you tell them if you have any problems with going to the toilet.
Most minor back injuries get better by themselves within 6 weeks. Usually you will not need any other tests or treatment. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists recommends that an x-ray for low back pain is only needed if you have other significant symptoms such as problems with bladder and bowel control, severe pain or weakness or numbness in one or both legs. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
The most important thing you can do is to continue to stay active. A common myth is that bed rest will cure back pain. In fact, bed rest slows down the recovery period and can add to your pain.
Simple pain relief, such as paracetamol or anti-inflammatories, may help. You can talk to your doctor or pharmacist, or call healthdirect for advice on 1800 022 222.
You can help ease injuries to your back by:
- using cold compresses (such as covered ice packs) for 20 minutes at a time every 3 to 4 hours for the first day — these will ease pain and swelling
- using warmth after the first day — showers, baths or hot moist towels can help ease pain and help recovery
- avoiding activities involving bending, lifting and twisting until you feel better
Depending on your job, you may need time off work to allow your back to heal.
Can back injuries be prevented?
A key way to prevent back injuries is to lift and carry safely. If you are picking up a heavy load, lift with your legs, not your back.
Not sure what to do next?
If you are still concerned about your back injury, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).
Resources and support
Mybackpain.org.au has a range of information about managing low back pain.
The NSW Agency for Clinical Information has a consumer factsheet about managing low back pain.
Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.
Treatment of bruises in the back
Bruises in the back are damage to soft tissues as a result of a strong blow, fall, accident, etc. Such injuries are fraught with serious danger, since there are not many soft tissues in the back area that could reduce the effects of the blow by taking it upon themselves. On the contrary, there is a high risk of damaging the spine and causing irreparable harm to health.
- severe pain, especially during movement;
- throbbing pain;
- the appearance of a hematoma in the area of injury;
Otherwise, it all depends on which particular part of the back was injured.
Types of bruises
Depending on the location of the injury, there is the following classification of back bruises and their consequences:
- In case of bruising of the upper back , the cervical vertebrae may be affected. Sometimes this entails respiratory failure, paralysis, decreased tone and paresis of the muscles, impaired sensitivity.
- Contusion mid back may cause loss of coordination and sensation in the limbs. The victim may feel pain in the heart, experience discomfort during breathing.
- Injuries to the lower back are fraught with impaired urination and reduced sensation in the legs.
Bruises involving the spinal cord are the most dangerous. The consequences of such an injury can be varied: from circulatory disorders to rupture of nerve endings and paralysis.
In case of back bruises, the following complications are possible: bruising of the kidney, spine, lungs; fractures of the ribs, vertebrae; exacerbation of osteochondrosis; retroperitoneal hematoma;
Treatment of a bruise in the back
Regardless of the severity of the injury, the patient is prescribed bed rest. In the future, it is important to alternate the state of rest with little physical activity.
Painkillers are used, anti-inflammatory ointments are applied. After a few days, it is permissible to use heat compresses and carry out physiotherapy procedures. These activities can be carried out independently, without visiting a doctor.
If there is a suspicion that the bruise is accompanied by any complication, it is necessary to seek the help of a qualified specialist. The doctor will examine the patient and, if necessary, refer him for an x-ray or computed tomography.
If the examination showed the presence of complications, then specific treatment is applied depending on the nature of the injury, up to surgery.
A bruise in the back area is an uncommon but very dangerous injury. Therefore, it is better to play it safe and get diagnosed.
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Bruise of the spine - causes, symptoms, treatment
Bruise of the spine - a traumatic lesion of soft tissues in the region of the spinal column. Such a pathology can occur as a result of a fall or when hit by an object on the back. A person feels a sharp pain syndrome and limited mobility in the affected area.
A bruised back is always classified as a particularly dangerous injury, because not only tissues, but also vertebrae, nerves, and the spinal cord can be damaged.
Common causes of injury
According to statistics, people get bruises of the spine due to:
- car accident;
- improper exercise;
- blows to the back with a heavy object;
- falls on the back for any reason;
- home injuries, such as falling down stairs, chairs.
The consequences of a bruise depend on many factors. Taken into account:
- weight of the victim;
- impact force;
- presence of back diseases.
All back bruises that affect the spine and surrounding tissues are classified according to severity:
- Mild. It is manifested by damage to the superficial soft tissues. There are no neurological signs, all symptoms are mild.
- Moderate severity is characterized by pathological changes, manifested by transient neurological disorders, which tend to disappear with time.
- A severe degree is formed when the spinal cord is injured. Diagnose hemorrhage in the tissue of the spinal cord, the formation of foci of necrosis. Neurological signs are more pronounced. Symptoms may be accompanied by paresis, sensory disturbance, areflexia, etc.
After spinal injury, a person develops spinal pain shock, which is accompanied by the loss of all reflexes and lack of tone. Its intensity of manifestation depends on the severity of the injury.
When the shock is mild, the victim feels temporary numbness just below the waist. With a more serious injury, damage to the abdominal organs, impaired urination, paralysis of the lower extremities for a long time can be observed.
Let's consider what signs are characteristic of a bruise for each section of the spine.
This type of injury disrupts the anatomical location of the vertebrae. Such a bruise is considered severe and unstable, requiring immediate medical attention.
Symptoms appear as:
- impaired coordination of limbs;
- changes in the frequency and depth of breathing;
- pupillary constriction;
- damage to muscle reflexes.
Injury to the cervical vertebrae increases the risk of death and paralysis. It is very important to provide specialized assistance to the victim and deliver to the nearest medical facility.
These injuries can affect the heart and lungs. Consequences manifest themselves as:
- spastic paralysis of the lower extremities;
- respiratory failure;
- failure of cardiac activity;
- congestive pneumonia;
- loss of abdominal reflexes.
With a mild injury, an internal hematoma forms. Severe bruises are accompanied by irreversible damage to the lining of the brain. After such an injury, patients often find themselves in a wheelchair. The chance of recovery depends on timely first aid.
To prevent complications, the victim must be treated within one hour after the incident.
Injury to the lumbar and sacral spine
Injuries to the lumbar spine can cause damage to internal organs. When tension is felt during palpation of the vertebrae, it is recommended to conduct a complete examination of the abdominal cavity and genitourinary system.
Signs appear as:
- intense pain when pressed;
- painful syndrome during defecation and attempt to urinate;
- peripheral paralysis affecting the lower limbs;
- loss of sensation in the groin;
- intense pain in legs;
- bruises and swelling in the bruised area.
A bruise that occurs in any part of the spine is characterized by a violation of the genitourinary system, dysfunction of the rectum.
Timely assistance indicates a successful recovery of the victim. For this you need:
- Make sure the victim is completely still. On a hard surface, it should be laid horizontally lying on the back, if the surface is soft, then the position is lying on the stomach.
- If the neck is injured, it must be fixed with an improvised splint or a special orthopedic collar.
- Artificial ventilation is indicated if the victim is not breathing. During it, you need to remember the rule of immobility of the patient.
- Apply something cold to areas where swelling has formed.
- Wait for an ambulance.
In case of injury of any part of the spine, regardless of the degree and severity of the bruise, it is necessary to conduct an x-ray examination to identify all kinds of tissue and vertebral lesions.
Diagnostic measures aimed at:
- Anamnesis. A survey is performed to identify the cause of the bruise.
- Inspection. A specialist can visually determine the severity of the pathology.
- Palpation. The method of palpation allows you to determine the stressed areas, lesions.
- Examination by a neurologist.
- Radiography aimed at identifying possible fractures.
- Magnetic resonance therapy, which allows you to study the degree of damage in detail.
- Computed tomography.
The doctor chooses the most appropriate option for diagnosis. And based on their results, he prescribes the best treatment option for the victim.
Methods of treatment
After the diagnosis, the specialist prescribes a conservative or surgical treatment.
Minor bruises may be treated at home . The essence of therapy is to relieve pain and relieve inflammation from damaged areas. Ointments and gels with anti-inflammatory properties are used. It can be "Diclofenac", "Nise". It is important that the patient limit himself as much as possible from any sudden movements, he is shown strict bed rest.
More severe spinal injuries require constant medical supervision. Therefore, the victim is placed in a hospital. With painkillers, the doctor prescribes hormones to relieve swelling and inflammation. Symptomatic treatment is also carried out.
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After a full course of drug therapy, the patient should undergo rehabilitation, which includes physiotherapy, therapeutic exercises, massage.
Surgical treatment for back bruising is used when:
- extensive hematomas with suppuration;
- complex fractures of the spine;
- spinal deformity.
Surgical intervention is also resorted to in those situations when the victim does not get better from the conservative method of treatment.
After a two-week medical treatment of a back injury, the patient needs to undergo another course of rehabilitation. He is prescribed:
- Therapeutic exercise, which is a set of physical exercises that help restore the motor function of the spine.
- Massage. The procedure should be carried out only if there are no open wounds. In case of a bruise, the massage should be without sharp pressure, it should be done by stroking. The duration of the procedure is 15-20 minutes.
- Myostimulation of the body. A modern procedure carried out with the help of special equipment. Effectively restores muscles after suffering paralysis or paresis.
- Warming up the back dissolves hematomas well, improves blood circulation. For this procedure, compression pads are used. After warming up, it is recommended to apply warming ointments or gels. You can also use warm compresses using traditional medicine recipes.
Traditional medicine allows the use of warm baths with dried mint leaves. Compresses for warming the affected area, using special recipes, for example, with boiled beans or vodka and bay leaves.
All methods used must be known to the attending physician. It is not recommended to arbitrarily select medicines and methods of traditional medicine. It is especially necessary to be careful in the presence of concomitant diseases such as sciatica, osteochondrosis.
Failure of the body's functional activity after an injury, which persists throughout the course of treatment, is referred to as a complication of the injury. They appear as:
- paralysis or cut;
- malfunction of the intestines and genitourinary system;
- sexual impotence;
- coma in severe cases.
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Back injury is a serious pathology. Even if a person thinks that after the incident he escaped with minor abrasions, he must undergo a full examination.