Slip and fall accidents are common in the workplace, places of business as well as in the home. According to the CDC, slip and falls account for more than 1 million visits to the emergency room each year. There are several types of injuries that can occur from a slip and fall. While some issues might not be apparent right away, it is important to be evaluated for injury if a slip and fall occurs. Some injuries caused from a slip and fall include:
Damage to Intervertebral Discs
If your spine is twisted or in a vulnerable position during a slip or fall, there is a good chance there is damage to the discs. These discs act as shock absorbers between the spinal bones, so if they are damaged the nerves in the spine aren’t properly protected. Symptoms of a herniated disc include pain down the legs or arms, pain or numbness on one side of the body, and muscle weakness. Even if you don’t fall all the way to the ground, a trip or slip can cause damage to the spine.
Broken bones are also common with falls. Often times falling on an outstretched hand can result in the 2 most common breaks- forearm and collarbone. The pelvis and hips are also common areas to break during a fall. Of course the spine itself also needs thorough evaluation to make sure there are no vertebral fractures.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries include anything from bruises to ligament sprains and muscle strains. Large bruises or hematomas can take a long time to fully heal and be quite debilitating. Soft tissue injuries should not be ignored, as proper treatment is imperative to restoring function.
Nerves are susceptible to damage in the case of a fall from extreme pressure or stretching. Complete cutting of the nerve is also possible. Signs of nerve damage include weakness, numbness, tingling, sharp pains in the extremities, and the sensation of wearing a sock or glove. Nerve damage impairs the communication between the brain and the rest of the body. Depending on the severity of damage, treatment levels vary.
Any excessive movement of the head or neck from a force can cause a whiplash injury. This can cause spinal trauma, muscular impairment and even brain damage. Symptoms include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, inability to move the neck, numbness or tingling down the arms, and pain in the arms and shoulders. Slip and falls can cause whiplash injuries from the sudden forceful nature of the accident.
Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
It’s always important to screen for concussions after a slip and fall accident. If there has been any impact to the brain whether from force or whiplash proper management is required. Symptoms of concussion might start immediately or can be delayed. Some common symptoms include headache, dizziness, light sensitivity, memory loss, balance problems, vomiting, or vision problems. In severe cases, a traumatic brain injury or TBI occurs. A TBI changes the way the brain works, and will often need long-term treatment and management for the injury.
If you have suffered a slip or fall accident, don’t hesitate to be evaluated by a doctor. Make sure you document any signs or symptoms you’ve experienced so you can get back on the road to recovery faster.