According to a new study, falls have now replaced car crashes as the leading cause of spinal injury among seniors. Even more surprising is the fact that 50% - 60% of these falls occur at home. This high-risk factor is particularly concerning for anyone who is currently suffering from back pain or receiving treatment for spinal injuries. After all, just one wrong step can lead to another serious injury and a substantial delay in your healing process if you're recovering from spine surgery or treatment.
Luckily, you can avoid unnecessary falls by taking a few simple precautions. Here are five easy steps for preventing falls and keeping your home and spine safe.
1. Get active
Learn exercises that can improve your balance, such as tai chi and yoga
Increase your strength and resistance training
Always work out with a partner who can spot you to avoid injury
2. Be informed about your medications and current physical condition
- Ask your pharmacist or doctor any questions you may have about your medication and its side effects
- Learn the side effects of over-the-counter medicines, as some can make you dizzy or sleepy
- Have your eyes and ears checked regularly for disorders that can affect your balance
3. Wear the right shoes and use safety devices
- Your shoes should have rubber soles and short laces or Velcro fasteners
- Avoid unstable shoes such as slippers, flip flops and heels
- Use a cane or walker for support if needed
- Consider installing grab bars in bathrooms for added support
4. Take your time
- Stand up slowly after sitting and use the arms of the chair, railing or a walker for support
- After lying down, sit on the side of the bed for a few minutes before standing to allow any dizziness to pass
5. Be aware of your surroundings
- Watch for objects that can cause falls when walking, such as uneven sidewalks, doorsteps, liquid spills, toys and pets
- Place night lights in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and hallways
Many community centers and physicians offices provide information on local fall-prevention programs. These programs, along with the recommendations above, have been shown to cut the risk of injury from falling by up to half!
The lesson here is that a few simple steps can dramatically reduce your chances of back injury at home while helping you to maintain your independence and high quality of life for years to come. Embrace the opportunity to keep your spine safe and when necessary, be sure to reach out to experts like Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health for professional assistance in recovering from a back injury. We are here to help, so call us at Call407-303-5452.
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