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How to Treat a Back Injury After a Fall

How to Treat a Back Injury After a Fall


Even though a back injury from a slip and fall can vary in severity depending on the circumstances, it is still an event that one should take seriously. According to the Center for Disease Control CDC, over 2 million people a year visit an emergency room for injuries related to an accident involving a fall.  

Because of this reality, it’s important for New Yorkers to be aware of what symptoms to expect after suffering a sudden slip on icy streets or falling down a flight of stairs. Knowing these symptoms could save you years of complications from an undiagnosed injury.

Common Injuries After a Fall 

Soft Tissue Damage

One of the most common back problems after a fall involves soft tissue. It’s not uncommon to take a nasty trip off of a street curb and end up with a few bruises on your back or sides from where you landed harshly. You may find you are still sore weeks later even though the bruising has disappeared. This is often due to internal damage to this same tissue. Treatment is usually conservative and, depending on how serious it is, only requires:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Physical Therapy

Strains and Sprains of Muscles in the Back

If you experience sudden or sharp pain in your back after suffering a spill, you may have sprained or strained some of your muscles, have a herniated disc, or other painful injuries.  You may also have hurt your spinal cord, which could result in paralysis or worse. It is best to go to your nearest emergency room or visit a trusted physician right away if you experience changing sensations in your extremities

Most strains and sprains benefit from these different methods of treatment, depending on the severity of your situation:

  • Bedrest
  • Gentle stretching
  • Physiotherapy
  • Hot and cold compresses
  • Chiropractic care
  • Therapeutic massage
  • Over-the-counter pain management

Fractured Vertebrae Injuries

Fractured vertebrae are another injury you may experience if you take a serious drop off of a ladder or stairs. Gravity is an unforgiving force of nature that causes catastrophic damage to our bodies during traumatic accidents like a fall. 

Because broken spines cause undue pressure on vital nerves and may slip out of place, it is critical to get evaluated. Treatment options will vary due to the circumstances and seriousness of your break, but may include:

  • Surgical spinal fusion
  • Wearing a brace or corset for up to 12 weeks
  • Surgery to remove bone fragments and realign the spine
  • Physical therapy

Treat Your Fall Seriously

Only a physician or other licensed medical professional can truly inform you about the best treatment options for your back after a major fall. You may receive recommendations for exercise to help encourage healing and ease your pain. A local physical therapist will also offer invaluable advice and services to help get you on the road to recovery, but you won’t know any of this until you get examined. Take your back pain seriously after taking a spill and get evaluated right away.