Back pain after a fall: When to worry (what to do?)

fall causing a fracture of the vertebra

If you have fallen, even from a low height, and now feel a back pain, don't panic right away. Most of back pain following a fall are not serious and go away on their own.

However, it is important to get checked out by a doctor to make sure there are no underlying damage.

In this article, we will discuss the signs that indicate you need to see a doctor if back pain after a fall. We'll also give you some tips to ease your symptoms until you can get medical help.

Spine anatomy

La spine (or spine) is a long, flexible rod that extends from the base of the skull to the lower back. It consists of 33 vertebrae, which are bones stacked on top of each other. The vertebrae are separated by intervertebral discs, which act as shock absorbers.

The spine has four main curves:

  • The cervical curve,
  • The chest curve,
  • The lumbar curve and the sacral curve.

These curves distribute the weight of the body and absorb shocks. The spine also protects the spinal cordwhich is a bundle of nerves carrying information between the brain and the rest of the body.

Without the spine, humans could not stand or move effectively.

Fall on the back: What are the risks?

Falling on your back can be more dangerous than you think. When you fall, the impact can compress your spine, which can result in serious injury.

Le back pain after a fall can be serious business and it is important to be aware of the risks involved.

vertebra fracture

Falling on your back can lead to fractured vertebrae. The risk is particularly high for older people, who are more likely to have osteoporosis.

When osteoporosis weakens the bones, they become more fragile and susceptible to breaking. A fall may not even be very hard to cause a vertebra fracture.

To learn more about osteoporosis, see the following article.

Symptoms of a vertebral fracture include pain and stiffness in the back, difficulty moving around and loss of height. If you think you have fractured a vertebrate, it is important to immediately consult a doctor in order to clarify the diagnosis with an x-ray. The spine can then be properly aligned and stabilized.

Untreated fractures can lead to serious complications such as chronic pain, deformity and paralysis (if the spinal cord is affected).

To find out all about vertebra fracture (including healing time and management), see the following article.

Disc damage

L'une des most common injuries resulting from a fall on your back is called a “compression fracture” The impact of the fall has compressed the bones of the spine, which can pinch and damage the spinal cord. Even if the bones don't break, the force of the fall can also cause disc damage.

The discs in your spine act like cushions and when damaged they can leak the gelatinous nucleus (nucleus pulposus) through a disc protrusion, or altogether a herniated disc. This can lead to pain, numbness and weakness.

In severe cases, it can even lead to paralysis. Whether you fall on your back, so it's important to see a doctor to make sure you haven't suffered any serious injuries.

Lumbago

Falling on your back can cause sudden jerk of the spine which can cause several different problems. One of the most common is the lumbago, which is a general term for acute pain in the lower back. This can radiate to the lower limb, middle back ou between the shoulder blades.

This pain can be caused by anything, from a muscle strain to ligament overstretch, and can range from mildly uncomfortable to debilitating. In some cases, falling onto your back can also cause more serious problems, such as nerve root, bone, or spinal cord damage. .

Although these problems are relatively rare, they can have lifelong consequences. It is therefore important to be aware of the risks of falling on your back and to consult a doctor if you experience pain or discomfort after such a fall.

How to reduce the risks?

Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent falls. For example, exercise can help improve balance and coordination. Also, eliminating tripping hazards in the home (such as loose rugs) can help reduce the risk of falls.

Finally, it is important to have regular eye and hearing exams, because a bad view or an bad hearing can make it more difficult to avoid obstacles.

By taking these precautions, you can help reduce the risk of falling and sustaining a serious back injury.

When to worry

Most people fall at some point in their lives. In general, these falls are not serious and involve only minor bruises.

However, in some cases, a fall can result in serious injury. If you present one of following symptoms after a fall on your back, it is important to consult a doctor:

  • Inability to move your arms or legs
  • Numbness or tingling in your extremities
  • Weakness in the arms or legs
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

If you feel any of these symptoms, it is important to get to the hospital as soon as possible. These symptoms may indicate a serious spinal injury, which can lead to paralysis if not treated quickly.

Although most falls do not result in such serious injuries, it is always best to exercise caution when experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above. See a doctor if you have any worries about a fall you have done because some signs and symptoms require medical intervention.

What to do after a fall on your back?

Back pain can range from mild pain to sharp, shooting pain and is often aggravated by activities such as lifting, bending, or twisting. If you have back pain, there are a number of things you can do to relieve it.

Consult if the pain persists

Si your back pain is severe or persists for more than a few days, it is important to consult your doctor. They will be able to diagnose the cause of your pain and advise you on the best course of treatment.

In some cases, a medical imaging such as a radiography or an IRM may be needed to assess the integrity of the anatomical structures of your back. According to cause of your pain, you may need medication, physiotherapy or even surgery.

Other Valuable Tips

You can try toapply cold or heat on painful area. Ice can help reduce inflammation, while heat can help loosen tight muscles.

You must also avoid moving too much at first, as this may aggravate the injury. If the pain is severe, you can take over-the-counter or doctor-prescribed pain relievers. A lumbar support could be used initially, although it is best not to wear it excessively.

An electrotherapy device such as TENS can also help relieve short-term symptoms and improve quality of life. This tool notably allows to reduce the use of drugs for people who prefer to avoid pharmaceutical products.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure a quick recovery. Remember, however, that it is best to use a proactive approach to optimize healing and get back to your activities. A physiotherapist (physiotherapist) will be able to guide you at this level.

Other Back Pain Management Strategies

It is important to take time to rest after a fall. However, it is also important to keep moving. Gentle stretching and light activity can help prevent stiffness and injury additional.

There are several products and accessories available on the market to relieve lower back pain. It should be remembered that these tools generally provide temporary relief, and should be used alongside an active approach.

Among the products recommended by our professionals, we have:

If your pain persists or worsens at any time, you should see a doctor or physical therapist (physiotherapist) for a more comprehensive and tailored treatment plan. In most cases, falls are not serious and can be managed at home.

What about natural remedies?

Like accessories and anti-back pain products, natural products and grandmother's remedies are very popular with people suffering from back pain.

Often, these remedies include anti-inflammatory properties to relieve various body pains.

On the other hand, it should be noted that most of these natural products are not scientifically proven. It is therefore important to speak to your doctor before using them, particularly to avoid any interaction with your medications.

Natural remedies that may relieve symptoms include (click on the product you are interested in for purchasing options):

Turmeric

Thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers very powerful, turmeric is one of the most used plants in a culinary and therapeutic context. The composition of turmeric is essentially made of essential oils, vitamins (B1, B2, B6, C, E, K) and trace elements. But it is to its composition rich in curcumin and curcuminoids that we owe them and calm skin of this spice.

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Ginger

In addition to the particular flavor it brings to cooking and its aphrodisiac properties, ginger is a root well known for its anti-inflammatory powers. THE gingerol gives it its anti-inflammatory action. It is an active component acting on the inflammatory pain related to chronic joint inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, rheumatic diseases, etc. It has been proven that this active element is also effective in acting on the inflammation linked to arthritis and sciatica. Ginger also has other benefits thanks to its high potassium content and its richness in trace elements (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium) and vitamins (provitamin and vitamin B9).

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Omega-3

Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids that play a very important role in the functioning of our body. They are provided by food in three natural forms: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), alpha linolenic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Beyond their action on the brain and the cardiovascular system, omega-3s prove to be very effective against inflammation. Indeed, they have the ability to act on the inflammatory mechanisms in osteoarthritis by slowing down cartilage destruction, thus they reduce the intensity of osteoarthritis pain. Since sciatica is most often linked to inflammation secondary to a herniated disc, it can also respond to omega-3s if you consume them regularly. 

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Lemon eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is a plant most often used in the form of herbal tea or essential oil. She would have anti-inflammatory effects which give it the ability to act on the bone and joint pain in general and the pain of sciatica in particular.

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wintergreen

Wintergreen is a shrub from which a very interesting essential oil is extracted. It is one of the essential oils most used in aromatherapy. This oil, extracted from the shrub of the same name, is used in massage to relieve sciatica and act like a analgesic. Indeed, it provides a heating effect thanks to its ability toactivate blood circulation locally.

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