A fall is an event where the body, or part of the body, comes to rest on the ground unintentionally. This means that a fall can refer to any time someone slips, trips, slides off a chair, and lands on the ground. Falls can occur in many circumstances - due to illness, weakness in the legs, loss of balance, loss of blood pressure, a blow to the head causing unconsciousness, and ingestion of alcohol or narcotics. Falls can be minor and result in superifical injuries, or they can be fatal. A fall onto grass can be inconsequential for a child or someone immediately post-adolescence, while a fall onto the same surface can result in a lethal fracture for someone of significantly older age, and this risk is amplified by the presence of comorbidities.
Falls are significant medical events for the elderly. A child can fall down on flat ground and recover relatively quickly save for the shock. This is complicated by factors such as the velocity of the fall, the impact, ground strike angle and the inciting factor, but by and large a child or a young adult will be able to recover. A fall for an elderly person can cause internal bleeding, facture of long bones, bone bruising or other injuries that take longer to recover and have a greater effect on overall wellness due to age. Falls that result in fractures require hospitalisation and immediate treatment, which may be complicated by the presence of comorbidities like arthritis, osteoporosis or other bone-changing and bone-wasting diseases.
Falls have many causative factors. As the human body ages, its ability to respond to the challenges imposed by the external environment as well as those experienced as a result of ageing is diminished. External challenges include difficulties in loading, managing burdens, navigating terrain and the immediate physical environment, and moving between different physical postures. Challenges experienced as a result of ageing include decreased flexibility, decreased strength, decreased ability to respond to unsteadiness and changes in balance, and decreased endurance of the muscular and cardiovascular systems. A fall occurs when the human body's ability to respond to these challenges, both internal and external, is insufficient, and an event occurs as a result of internal and external imposed physical obligations whose results are adverse.
Managing falls and falls risk involves improving the human body's ability to overcome internal deficits and managing the risk and obligation imposed by external circumstances. For this reason, falls risk management in the elderly and those prone to falls requires a comprehensive approach that involves consideration of the environment, the person, their lives and their physical obligations. There is no simple response to the risk of falls, and there is no easy or quick solution. Every death resulting from a fall is preventable to an extent, and every factor is worthy of consideration.
Management of your discomfort depends on its causative factors, how it feels and changes during the day, what makes it better and worse, and the length of time you have been experiencing that pain. All of these factors will be addressed in your initial assessment, which is the first step toward managing and minimising any pain or discomfort. The treatment you receive will be tailored to address the specific cause of your discomfort, and will focus on minimising pain, maximising your ability to move pain-free, and developing a plan to minimise the risk of a flare-up in the future.
At Atlas Physio, we will provide you with education, structured management, and ongoing monitoring of your pain both in-clinic and out. Contact us to arrange an assessment, and to take the first step on a course of corrective care today.