Back Injuries From Falling On Ice

Treating Back Injuries From Falling On Ice: A How-To Guide

Amy Schneider-Lyall, D.O. March 21st, 2018

Learn how Rothman Orthopaedic Institute treats back injuries from falling on ice.

When winter weather arrives, it’s time to protect yourself from the hazards that can accompany the cold. Slips, trips, and falls are more frequent due to the weather and icy conditions. Back injuries from falling on ice are likely to occur. Need some help to avoid this or advice on what to do if it does happen? Rothman Orthopaedic Institute can help keep you on your feet this winter season!

How Common are Back Injuries From Falling On Ice?

According to the National Institutes of Health, back injuries from falling on ice were the most common fall-related injury, outnumbering ankle, wrist or hip injuries. With statistics like that, avoiding falls becomes a top priority.

Many acute back injuries involve strains of some of the deep muscles in the back. An acute injury refers to something that happens suddenly and gets better over time, whereas a chronic injury is a long-term condition. After falling, you should try to be aware of your pain level and contact your doctor if the pain goes beyond general achiness, suggesting what could be a more serious injury.

The spine (back) is a complex structure that provides both mobility and strength to your body. When there is an injury or disease of the spine, common activities such as turning, bending, or stretching often become painful. More than 80% of adults will experience significant back or neck pain at some point during their life.

What to do after falling on your back?

If you fall on your back and experience severe pain that makes breathing or standing difficult, you should have a thorough examination by a healthcare professional immediately.

Most acute back injuries should get better within a few days. If the pain persists longer than that, you should be evaluated by your physician or a physical therapist. If a thorough medical evaluation does not reveal any specific structural problem like a fracture or nerve irritation, then a basic exercise program focusing on stretching, strengthening, and conditioning of the back and leg muscles can be helpful.

For those who have other risk factors, such as thinning of the bones or osteoporosis, a fall on ice might pose a serious threat. If you fit this category, use extreme caution when traveling outdoors in icy conditions.

Three Tips for Preventing Ice Related Falls

Implement the following tips for a safer winter:

  1. Wear appropriate footwear. Soles that are sturdy and grip the ground will give you stability.

  2. Use caution, and slow down. Don’t hurry!

  3. Sprinkle de-icer or sand on icy patches. Ensure the ground you will be walking on is a safe as possible.

Back Pain Injury From Fall: Symptoms

Symptoms of back injury from falling involve pain. This can occur to varying degrees depending on the extent of the injury and can affect different parts of the back. Back injuries from falling on ice commonly fall into one of two categories:

  1. Lower back injury. Lower back or tailbone injury occurs when falling backwards onto the backside. An injury to the tailbone can be quite painful and also can cause swelling and bruising.

  2. Upper back injury. This can be attributed to muscle or ligament strains that occur during a fall.

Symptoms may also include muscle aches, shooting or stabbing pains, pain that radiates down the legs, and limited flexibility of the back.

If, after falling on ice, you begin to experience weakness in the legs or problems with bowel or bladder control, go to the emergency room, as these symptoms can indicate a serious condition that may require surgery.

Treatment Options for Back Injuries

Fortunately, you can take the above measures to prevent or relieve back pain episodes. If prevention fails, simple home treatment and proper body mechanics often will heal your back and keep it functional. Surgery is rarely needed to treat back pain from falling on ice. Rothman Orthopaedic Institute offers many non-operative back pain treatment options for you or your loved ones.

How Can Rothman Orthopaedic Institute Help?

If you have concerns about back injuries from falling on ice, let Rothman Orthopaedic Institute help you.  We have some of the best spine specialists in the nation prepared to offer you the highest level of treatment. For more information about Rothman Orthopaedic Institute and the services we offer, please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

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