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The Dangers of a Fall

The nervous system is the master control system of the body. It traverses the spine as it carries vital information from the brain to the rest of the body and vice versa. Falls can have a detrimental impact on your spine, and so disrupt this vital brain-body communication.


How Falls Cause Damage?

Twenty to thirty percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as lacerations, hip fractures, or head traumas. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries and fractures among older adults. The most common fractures are of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm, and hand. These injuries can make it hard to get around or live independently, and increase the risk of early death.

– (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


The effects of a fall are not always immediately apparent. Sometimes they lie dormant in your spine for years. Often 5 to 10 years would have passed before they erupt into a disc herniation or arthritis in the spine. Patients often turn up to my office with severe low back or neck pain, without recollection of the fall that caused their seemingly sudden disability.


Why We Fall?

A fall is defined as an event which results in a person coming to rest inadvertently on the ground or floor or other lower level. It may occur as a result of an intentional or unintentional slip or trip, sports collision, motor vehicle accident involving a person being struck by or thrown from a motor vehicle. Your chance of falling increases with declines in your balance or coordination, sensation loss, disability that accompany aging, medication use and certain conditions like strokes and Parkinson’s disease.


Our Elderly is Most at Risk

One out of three older adults (those 65 or older) falls each year, but less than half talk to their healthcare providers about it. Among them, falls are the leading cause of death by injury. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.

According to the United Nations, the Caribbean has been identified as the most rapidly aging region of the world. Between 1960 and 1995, there was a 76.8% increase in the elderly population. Now more than ever before, we need to implement fall prevention strategies in order to protect our seniors.

Some Fall Prevention Steps


  • Make your homes safer

    • Eliminate slip/trip hazards

      • Lifting edges of rugs

      • Rugs that slip

      • Slippery floors

      • Extension cords or furniture that clutter walkways

    • Add grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet

    • Add railings on both sides of stairways

    • Improve lighting

  • Exercise regularly

  • Minimize drug side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, fainting, etc.

  • Have your eyes checked yearly and update your eyeglasses

  • Have your balance and coordination assessed



If you have had a fall or have concerns about your balance and stability, you may need a proper balance and coordination assessment. These, as well as balance retraining, are important services that a chiropractic neurologist can perform.

The Gleaner , Monday | August 5, 2013

Gardner Chiropractic and Technology, GCN Jamaica, GCN
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