Slip and fall accidents can cause severe injuries, especially to the back and spine. These accidents can happen anywhere, often requiring medical care and a potentially lengthy recovery.
Several types of back injuries may result from a slip-and-fall incident.
One of the most common spinal injuries from falls is whiplash. This occurs when the head is suddenly jerked backward and then forward, straining the muscles and ligaments in the neck. Symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, dizziness and restricted range of motion. These symptoms may appear immediately or can take days to manifest.
Slip and fall accidents can also cause herniated discs in the spine. This happens when one of the rubbery cushions between the vertebrae ruptures and the jelly-like interior pushes out. A herniated disc can cause debilitating nerve pain, numbness and muscle weakness if it presses on a spinal nerve.
More serious spinal fractures can occur from high-impact falls, especially in the elderly. The lumbar vertebrae in the lower back are particularly susceptible to fracture during falls. Signs of a spinal fracture include new back pain, tenderness, bruising and inability to move the lower body. Prompt medical treatment is necessary to stabilize the fracture and avoid long-term disability.
According to the National Safety Council, nearly 7 million people received treatment for injuries related to slips, trips and falls in 2021. The spine is highly vulnerable in these instances, making it important to recognize the most common hazards. Seeking prompt medical attention for symptoms of spinal injury can help minimize long-term effects and aid in recovery.