Falling down and hurting your back is the most common cause of back pain. Elderly people over 65 years form the most vulnerable group with children coming in second. The ratio of males and females being vulnerable is almost equal.
Falls rate second worldwide as the cause of accidental or unintentional injury. Injuries from falls can be fatal or can cause permanent disability or may result in an injury of varying severity, from mild to severe. You ought to know when you should see the doctor if ever you have such a fall and develop a back injury.
What are the common ways you can fall and hurt your back?
Some common ways to fall that can hurt your back can cause severe back injuries. The back pain is usually severe and of a sudden acute onset. It can be in the upper back, the middle region of the spine or the lower back, which is the most common.
- Falling down the staircase
- A hard impact fall flat on the back or on the buttocks
- Falling off the bed on the back
- A direct impact to the back in a car accident
- Falling off the horse
- Falling off the bike
- Slipping and falling in the bath, which can cause a hip fracture
- Falling during sports or some recreational activity
- Falling from a ladder at home while trying to get something or doing some home maintenance work.
What can make you fall?
These pathological causes that can make you fall and cause back pain, relate especially to the elderly:
- Dizziness due to chronic heart disease, low blood pressure (hypotension) in diabetics
- Sudden muscle weakness
- Vision impairment due to reasons such as an advanced cataract
- Loss of balance due to Inner ear infection or inflammation, labyrinthitis, certain medications or a brain pathology
Symptoms that indicate you should see the doctor
One or more of the following back pain symptoms require that you see your orthopedic doctor (Bone specialist)
- Back pain that is mild at first and worsens with time
- The pain does not stop with the initial treatment of rest, compresses and pain killers and continues even after four to six weeks, indicating that it has become chronic
- The severity of the pain keeps on increasing
- The pain is so severe at night that it wakes you up
- Accompanying severe and continuous abdominal pain
- Pain and/or numbness in the upper inner part of the thighs, groin area, buttocks or genital area
- Pain that increases on movements
- Difficulty in passing urine and stools
- Progressive weakness in the lower limbs
Back pain due to falling down: Possible complications
A back pain injury due to a fall can cause pain due to the following complications:
- An injury to the back muscles and ligaments causing strain, sprain or spasm
- Fracture of the spine
- Dislocation of the spine bones meaning that a ligament or back muscle injury that causes two or more vertebrae to separate from each other. Both fracture and dislocation can cause permanent paralysis in the portion of the body below the level of pathology.
- A ruptured intervertebral disc that can herniate into the spinal canal and press on the spinal cord or the emerging nerve roots
- Compression fracture, which is more common in the elderly and is due to osteoporosis.
- Fractured hip bone
Some of these injuries may present very subtly at first, but as time progresses they can show worsening complications of a more severe pathology.
Wrapping it up
Back pain caused by a fall can be due to a mild reason such as a strained back muscle or more seriously, a bone fracture or prolapsed herniated disc that can possibly cause a permanent disability such as paralysis of the lower part of the body. You can read the various treatment options available.