Are you aware that over half of us regularly suffer with backaches, neck pain or headaches? So why not seek out professional advice sooner rather than later to sort out those pesky niggles before it becomes a serious problem.
Take care of the back you have, because we have never heard of a replacement spine, have you?!
Here are our top 5 tips to help you to spinal health bliss:
Sitting Posture: Support your lower back when sitting down at your desk or at home, try not to curl up on the sofa, as it’ll twist your spine causing back ache and possible problems in the future.
Bedtime: Sleeping on your back (with a pillow behind your knees) is best for your spine. If you really want to sleep on your side, then put a pillow between your knees so you don’t twist into the recovery position.
Keep active! Get into the habit of taking a brisk walk daily. Try to make it fun or work out with a group like class or running group.
Pain is often a warning sign. If something is hurting, don’t ignore it. Particularly important this time of year when we start hitting that gardening again!
Ice. If you’re achy use an ice pack, wrapped up in a tea-towel for 5-10 minutes every half an hour to calm any swelling and promote recovery.
We hope this helps, but if you would like more specialist advice for your particular problem please do not hesitate to contact our principal chiropractor Philippa Oakley.
Did you know that oral health and general health are closely linked?�
Gum disease may increase your risk of all kinds of other health complications, including diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. It has even been linked with problems in pregnancy and dementia.
All the more reason to take good care of those pearly whites!
What to give the person who has everything? How about a voucher for a Thai or Remedial Massage?
£50 for a one hour massage, or £30 for 30 minutes, it’s the perfect pre-Christmas treat.
Pop in to clinic to purchase your voucher.
The health watchdog NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) is to recommend that vaginal mesh operations should be banned from treating organ prolapse in England.
The documents are currently undergoing consultation prior to publication, and in them NICE said there were “serious but well-recognised safety concerns” and that “evidence of long-term efficacy [for implants treating organ prolapse] is inadequate in quality and quantity”.
Hypopressives is a specific form of training which targets the core and pelvic floor, providing a non-invasive method of treating pelvic organ prolapse. Hypopressives training can negate the need for invasive surgery such as vaginal mesh operations, which are increasingly shown to be unnecessary and ineffective.
Back pain during pregnancy- it might be common, but it isn’t normal!
With top tips on how to avoid back pain during pregnancy, along with information and advice on the causes of lower back pain and how chiropractic can help, this resource is a must-read for all expectant mums!
In this resource, we also discuss the other considerations for expectant mums, including nutritional advice, exercises, and other factors that could affect your pregnancy. Download it here.
Did you know… A growing body of research shows that drugs such as paracetamol, ibuprofen, gabapentin and diclofenac are largely ineffective for back pain.
Opioids (such as oral hydromorphone, oxymorphone, morphine, tramadol, tramdaol with paracetamol, tapentadol, oxycodone, fentanyl and hydrocodone) have also been found to be largely ineffective with high risk of side effects including dependence.
Research recommends manual therapy, exercise, and cognitive behavioural interventions… all of which can be provided by a chiropractor!
What sort of training do Doctors of Chiropractic have?
A chiropractic degree is a four year full-time course, the first two years of which covers topics that are almost identical to those covered in a medical degree, and range from basic sciences such as embryology, physiology and biochemistry, to clinical sciences such as pharmacology and radiology. The key difference between chiropractic and medicine degree programmes is the weighting of the subjects. For example, chiropractic students spend a far greater amount of time on anatomy than medical students, but do not study pharmacology in as much detail as chiropractors opted not to have prescription rights.
A huge focus of training is on practical and clinical work, covering orthopaedic and neurological examination, general diagnosis, clinical nutrition, anatomy and physiology, behavioural sciences, psychology and mental health, clinical imaging, joint biomechanics, functional management, paediatrics, obstetrics, geriatrics and pathology.
As part of their training, chiropractors also engage in prosection and study of cadavers to truly appreciate the structure of human tissues and the anatomy of the body. In addition, our training focuses heavily on perfecting the manual techniques used in practice. Practical classes begin with learning to assess joints, muscles and nerves, introducing methods of treatment alongside. These classes build from a very basic level to the most advanced manual techniques in current medicine.
Finally, after years of academic and practical development, chiropractic students enter into a clinical year. This year is based in a specially designed teaching clinic. Students are supervised throughout this process, and by the end of the year have delivered over three hundred treatments and consultations each.
But it’s not over yet…. After completing their clinical year and graduating, chiropractors then must complete a year of supervised practice before becoming fully-fledged Doctors of Chiropractic!!
Did you know… why Brad Pitt has such a defined jaw? It’s probably due to overdevelopment or hypertrophy of the masseter muscle.
The masseter is located in your jaw, and based on its size, it’s actually the strongest muscle in the human body. With all muscles of the jaw working together it can close the teeth with a force as great as 55 pounds (25 kilograms) on the incisors or 200 pounds (90.7 kilograms) on the molars.
Think of that as you’re tucking in to your Sunday lunch!
💭KNOWvember💭 ⚽ Mac’s Story ⚽
Mac came to see us in September because he’d had hip pain for over 7 months. As a keen footballer, it had stopped him from playing and was understandably getting him down. He had a severe limp and was struggling to walk and sleep
After a thorough assessment, we diagnosed him with sacroiliac joint dysfunction, a complex issue which is common in footballers, complicated further by an old quadricep muscle tear in his right thigh causing some issues!
We’ve treated him five times with a combination of joint adjustments, soft tissue work, kinesiology taping and rehab exercises. Here he is with Philippa today having popped in for his final appointment- We’re delighted he’s pain free and back on the pitch playing for Widbrook FC.
Chiropractic- it’s not just for back pain!
Your brain cannot feel pain.
When you stub you
r toe or touch a hot stove, your body releases chemicals that trigger signals to go up to the brain, telling the brain about the pressure from the stubbed toe, or the heat from the hot stove. Your brain then interprets that information and decides what to do with it- generally, it’ll tell you it’s painful so you stop touching the stove or rub your toe better!
Although the brain interprets these pain signals, the brain itself does not feel pain, only the structures around it can do that!
As a matter of fact, once inside the brain, surgeons can operate on the brain without anaesthesia. In one technique known as brain mapping, surgeons probe brain tissue while monitoring reactions like muscle movement and speech — all while the patient is awake!
You might have seen this poster on Philippa‘s treatment room wall. This chap wasn’t caught up in an explosion in a paint factory, this image shows a “dermatomal map” of the human body. (The colours are actually just for fun!🌈)
A dermatome is an area of skin supplied by a single spinal nerve. By testing the dermatomes in conjunction with a range of other neurological and orthopaedic tests, your chiropractor can identify not only where a problem might be in your spinal cord, but also what type of problem it is!
This rather fetching looking chap is called a “homunculus” and he’s a little man who lives in your brain. (Sort of!)
The homunculus is a model that shows how your brain sees your body. The cortical homunculus represents the importance of various parts of your body as seen by your brain. Most of us have very sensitive hands and lips, hence why these areas appear larger on the homunculus.
Did you know these “mental maps” can change with experience. People who read Braille (which is done with an index finger) develop large areas that respond to stimulation from the index finger. A homunculus mapped on the motor cortex of a Braille reader would have an absolutely enormous index finger!
The word “muscle” comes from the Latin for “little mouse”, musculus (the diminuitive of mus).
There are two theories behind a mouse becoming a muscle- firstly, that the Romans thought the movement of a contracting muscle resembled a mouse moving under a rug. Or secondly, that in a rather abstract way, a muscle looks a little like a mouse- with a round body (muscle belly) ending in a long thin tail (the tendon).
What do you think, can you see a resemblance? 🐁
Did you know… Kinesiology tape is just one of the many adjuncts that might be used during your chiropractic treatment. You can purchase Sporttape from us in clinic- find out how it works and why we use kinesiology tape for pain and problems. Read more here.
Did you know… Our acupuncturist Gillian is a former midwife and has specialist knowledge in helping couples undergoing fertility treatment.
Acupuncture may help boost fertility by:
– Regulating hormone function
– Increasing blood flow to the ovaries and uterus and helping to relax your muscles which can improve the chance of an embryo implanting.
-Tackling the causes of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – a common cause of infertility
– Generally helping to relieve stress and make you feel more relaxed
Did you know…. Chiropractic is the third largest primary healthcare profession in the world after medicine and dentistry!
Did you know….
Although chiropractors are known as spinal health care experts, chiropractic care is also effective for:
– Ankle sprain
– Cramp and muscle spasms
– Elbow pain and tennis elbow that has arisen due to an ssociated musculoskeletal condition of the back or neck
– Headache arising from the neck (cervicogenic)
– Inability to relax
– Joint pains including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis
– General, acute & chronic backache and back pain
– Generalised aches and pains
– Mechanical neck pain
– Migraine prevention
– Minor sports injuries and tensions
– Plantar fasciitis
– Rotator cuff injuries, disease or disorders
– Shoulder complaints (dysfunction, disorders and pain)
– Soft tissue disorders of the shoulder
Did you know… Your spinal cord has an incredible memory for pain. When you experience an instance of intense pain, such as an acute back pain episode, the neurons in your spinal cord will carry signals more easily to the nerves in your back for several days, making your back feel more sensitive during this time. This is the result of a molecule thought to be the precursor to memory, known as PKMzeta. Your spinal cord is especially sensitive to this molecule and “records” instances of pain as a result.
This can make us more susceptible to future episodes of pain when we repeat actions that previously lead to injury, as the spine “remembers” those signals and (much like anything that is practiced over time) gets very good at sending them.
As a gentle, safe, non-invasive way of dealing with back pain, look no further than chiropractic care.
Did you know… We’re often asked where the name “Acorn Health” comes from. It’s from the old English proverb “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow” meaning great things can come from small beginnings!
Our clinic started in 2014 with just Philippa practicing from a single room in Emsworth, and our ‘little acorn’ has grown and flourished into its own premises in the heart of Emsworth with a wonderful multidisciplinary team. This is all thanks to some hard work and the incredible support of our colleagues, friends, family, patients and the local community.
The proverb also conveys to us a sense of growth, health and vitality- and our belief that no matter what, everyone can achieve optimal health… Something we are privileged to see our patients achieve under our care.
The quicker you’re seen by your chiropractor, the faster you’ll get better.
Too often, people suffer in pain for months before seeing a chiropractor as their “last resort”.
Research consistently shows that early intervention and care has a profound effect on both how well and how quickly you’ll recover.
Our ethos is delivering effective, evidence-based healthcare that is uniquely tailored to you.
You deserve the very best healthcare available, and we’re continually reinvesting in ourselves, our knowledge base and our clinic to ensure we provide you with an exceptionally high standard of healthcare.
At our clinic you’ll be treated as an individual, listened to and respected every step of the way.
Did you know… Chiropractors are trained to treat all areas of the body, but specialise in assessing, diagnosing and managing conditions of the spine.
Before starting treatment, your chiropractor will do a full assessment, which will involve taking details about your condition, current health and medical history, and perform a full physical examination (to assess the function of your joints, nerves and muscles) to help make a diagnosis.
If you’ve seen a chiropractor before but it’s your first time seeing Philippa, you might be surprised at just how different her treatment and treatment programmes can be. Philippa often refers to her metaphorical “treatment toolbox”- the skills and treatment modalities she has to choose from which she tailors to your needs based on what’s wrong and what type of treatment you would prefer. This means each and every patient receives an entirely new and individual treatment programme, based on your requirements.
It may or may not surprise you to find out there’s a lot of misleading information about back pain out there- more specifically, about what to do when back pain strikes and how to prevent it from recurring. This has not only over-simplified how to treat back pain but also lead to some weird and wonderful rehabilitation strategies.
Let’s bust a few of these back pain misconceptions.
1. Sit-ups will help improve your spinal health
Did you know that the average sit-up causes compression of the lower back that almost exceeds the safe limits set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (the unified set of manual lifting recommendations based on the convergence of medical, scientific, and engineering points of view which helps determine safe work practices)
Physical fitness does have an impact on our spinal health, but it is more important that we are getting fit in the right way. Studies have shown that increasing abdominal strength through sit-ups causes stress on the discs in our back and compresses the lumbar spine- enough for researchers to conclude that sit-ups may cause problems in almost anyone.
2. “Lift with your knees, not your back”
Have you ever tried to do this? Ever tried to do it all day long? It’s almost impossible to do this every single time we go to lift something. Forget the old squat technique, instead, the way you lift should depend on what you’re lifting, where you’re moving it to, your own build, how many items you have to lift and so on.
For more information on how to lift correctly (and give your knees a break) click here.
3. Strong muscles, strong back
Not so, my friends. Muscle strength doesn’t help us predict who will or won’t get back problems, and focusing too much on strength instead of stability will be sure to cause problems. Instead, focus on muscular endurance (i.e. how long your muscles can sustain an activity for). Remember, muscles have three main properties: flexibility, strength and endurance. Any issues that results in a lack of flexibility, strength or endurance will be enough to stimulate the nerves within your muscles and start telling your brain that something’s wrong. What’s the end result of that? Pain.
4. Tight hamstrings and unequal leg lengths cause back problems.
These types of issues are often given as easy diagnoses to simplify the cause of a patients’ complaint. Don’t be fooled. Some studies have shown that in athletes with ‘tight’ hamstrings, these muscles function almost like springs, to help jump higher or run faster. It rather appears that tight hamstrings aren’t the issue, it’s how well these tight hamstrings can cope with stretching that determines whether or not you’ll have back pain. Studies have found that people with chronic back pain tend to use their hamstrings instead of their gluteal muscles to extend the hip, which can increase the amount of force on the spine during squatting- correcting this is going to be a fundamental aspect of care.
Interestingly, back pain also wasn’t found to be definitively linked with leg length discrepancies even in cases where the difference in length was 5cm!
5. Scoliosis= A lifetime of back issues?
Not true! We see so many adults who were abruptly diagnosed with a ‘scoliosis’ after being
asked to bend forwards and touch their toes by the school nurse back in the 1970’s. The difficulty with this is that
the tests for assessing scoliosis have a false positive rate of at least 60%, and the statistical risk of having a scoliosis that requires treatment is only 0.2%. Why are we telling you this? Because once we’re told we have a “condition” it becomes ingrained in us. Part of who we are. So time and time again we see adults who tell us they have a “scoliosis”, and have been plagued by a lifetime of avoiding activities because of their diagnosis, when mild scoliosis (less than 30 degrees deviation) may simply be monitored and treated with exercise.
6. Knees to chest- the ultimate back stretch
Sure, it feels good, lying on the floor pulling your knees into your chest. Depending on your diagnosis, it might even be the right exercise for you, but if you’re one of the many patients I see who doesn’t cope well with forward bending, this exercise isn’t ideal. Why? Because pulling the knees to the chest gives you the perception of relief from your lower back pain (because the stretch receptors in your erector spinae muscles are stimulated) but this type of exercises causes more cumulative damage to the discs, leading to increased pain and stiffness the next day. As practitioners, we know to eliminate these type of exercises and prescribe ones appropriate for your needs- in fact this bespoke rehabilitation plan is one of the main benefits of coming to see a chiropractor.
So where do we go from here?
As you can see, misleading information and advice regarding back pain can lead to us performing the very movements that worsen our back pain in our attempts to get it better. Ensuring you have an accurate diagnosis, treatment plan and rehabilitation strategy is vital to recovery.No treatment plan can be truly successful without incorporating spinal rehabilitation exercises that work to remove the faulty movement patterns that cause back pain problems. We have to work with our clients to ensure that we incorporate exercises that help you build the capacity of the muscles in your back to cope with the tasks you ask of it each day. As you can imagine, each persons’ day is different, and so your treatment plan will be too.
We’re delighted to announce that our St George’s Day Charity Dog Walk has helped raise £398.35 for local charity Hounds for Heroes.
Our principle chiropractor Philippa comments, ‘Coming from a military family, it has always been important for me to give back to the military community. The event was a great success, and we are now planning for next year’s adventures. It was fun for all the family, and we all enjoyed the beautiful scenery of Chichester Harbour accompanied by a slice of cake baked by Emsworth Cookery School and a bottle of refreshing locally sourced water from South Downs Water who both kindly sponsored the event.’
Hounds for Heroes provide specially trained assistance dogs to injured and disabled men and women of both the UK Armed Forces and UK Emergency Services. Through this provision, Hounds for Heroes aim to provide help and practical support leading to an enhanced quality of life. Allen Parton, founder of Hounds for Heroes, comments, ‘This money will assist us in our aims of placing assistance dogs with injured veterans and emergency service personnel, Acorn Health’s event and support really does send such a positive message to those serving Queen and Country that folk at home really do care about them. Every single penny received makes such a huge impact on and difference to our work. We have a great organisation, staffed by serving members of the armed forces, which in itself is fairly humbling, but we couldn’t do it without others help as well.’
Allen continues, ‘It is a thrilling time for us at the Training Centre as we have just had two new recruits join Squadron 4 so the sound of puppy paws running round the centre re-enforces our aim to improve and enhance the quality of our partner’s lives.’
Emsworth’s St George’s Day weekend of events was supported by The Emsworth Business Association, Havant Borough Council, Acorn Creative Ltd, South Downs Water, and Emsworth Cookery School.
We’re not talking about the BBC PROMS, or in fact anything to do with music. We’re talking about Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs), and they’re far more exciting than the BBC version (in our humble opinion).
Patient Reported Outcome Measures are the tools with which healthcare practitioners and clinicians can better understand the impact illnesses or conditions and treatment are having on our patients’ daily lives. At Acorn Health, we utilise Care Response, a system which gathers the data for us and is supported by the Royal College of Chiropractors.
We don’t collect PROMs purely for our own benefit, it’s also for yours. We want to understand how your pain or problem is affecting your daily life- are you able to wash and dress yourself without pain? Is it stopping you from having a social life? Is it preventing you from working? Not only that, but we want to know how you feel about your pain. Are you worried it’s never going to get any better? Perhaps you’re scared about whether being physically active is going to make it better or worse and had to duck out of that golf game you had lined up. These are all very common concerns (so don’t worry if you’re having them- we all do!) and by understanding what your concerns are and how your pain is affecting you, we can provide a more accurate and more appropriate course of treatment for you. The responses to these questions will also indicate to us whether you are at a low, medium, or high risk of the problem becoming chronic (lasting for a long time) and this can mean that we need to provide you with very specific advice and information in order to prevent this happening- and yes, it can be done!
PROMs are starting to sound really good, aren’t they?
Another fantastic thing about PROMs is that they can tell us whether the treatment plan we have together decided upon is having the effect we want or not. Often, when pain decreases it can be difficult to remember just how bad it was (Remember that saying about giving birth? If we remembered how bad childbirth was we’d never have more than one child!) That being said, PROMs give us a way to determine your response to treatment based on your original responses to the questionnaire.
The story of patient X: Utilising PROMs in clinical practice
So how do we put PROMs to use in clinical practice, and how do they help inform our decision making and improve the care we provide our patients? We’ve got a case study here to explain it.
A bit of background- this Patient (let’s call them Patient X… sounds all mysterious and technical doesn’t it!) Anyway, Patient X had sustained a lower back injury in a road traffic accident more than a decade ago and had suffered with recurring episodes of lower back pain which, as seen by the chart below, were having a significant impact on their ADL’s (activities of daily living- things like washing, doing housework and sleeping) as well as their social life (going out to see friends, going to the gym, playing sports), the pain was a 6/10 and it was also making them anxious, depressed, having quite a severe impact on their working day and they had very little ability to cope with, control or reduce the pain themselves. All in all, not a very pleasant situation to find yourself in, but these results are fairly common in the patients we see in clinic. So much so, in fact, that Philippa takes a special clinical interest in chronic pain management– but that’s a story for another time.
The questions on the initial form are part of a validated assessment tool called the Bournemouth Questionnaire, and the answers are scaled on a 0 – 10 linear scale, 0 being “the pain has no interference” and 10 being variations of responses such as “completely unable to carry on” or “extremely anxious/extremely depressed.” As you can see, this patient was also at medium risk of chronicity due to some concerns they had about their back pain and what it meant for them, as they were worrying about it a lot of the time and felt that it was never going to improve.
We normally complete an outcome questionnaire after 2 weeks but in this particular case it was after 4, and Patient X completed this questionnaire which asked how their pain has changed, and also assesses the impact this pain is having on their lives at that time. This is where we get a bit geeky and excited- bear with us while we explain why.
Yes, as you can see below, Patient X’s pain level had increased at the time they completed the outcome questionnaire because (by their own report) the “Sciatic nerve in left leg has been irritated since last weekend” after spending a weekend doing a lot of heavy work in the garden…. they knew it wasn’t the best idea (!) However, despite the fact that they’d been doing quite hard physical work and had a slight flare-up as a result, they still reported they were “much improved” as a result of treatment, and their Bournemouth Questionnaire (the one that tells us how the pain is impacting on your day-to-day life) had reduced from 52/100 to 34/100 (which is computed as a 34.62% improvement!)
How is it possible that the pain could actually have increased, but Patient X felt better? Well, as we do with all our patients, we had a lengthy chat with Patient X about their pain, and how it was impacting them, and how they could manage it more effectively, as well as what we could do to help. Studies have shown that in some specific cases, a pain management course is actually more helpful than physical treatment, so we always include pain management as part of our treatment programmes. The more control you have over your pain, the less pain you feel. So through understanding pain and knowing what’s going on, what the cause was (in this case a mechanical issue with how a joint in the lower back was moving) what it isn’t (lower back pain is very rarely serious) and what to do about it (treatment and active self-management), Patient X felt less pain as they were less threatened by it, understood what was going on, were less concerned by the pain and able to move more normally without fear of pain.
After speaking to Patient X to establish what they felt had changed, the overall message was “I know what’s happening now, and I know what to do about it.” Woohoo! This is why it’s absolutely critical that we convey the right messages to you and help you to understand your pain. As practitioners, we also know that pain in itself is a really unreliable indicator of the severity of the underlying issue. To use our favourite analogy- think how painful a papercut can be despite the fact it’s a fairly minor injury. Pain in itself is just a symptom and studies have shown it does not relate to the severity of the underlying problem- in fact, some studies show that pain related fear is more disabling than the pain itself!
To understand more about pain and what causes pain, this should be your next bit of reading: Understanding Pain.
Let’s get back to Patient X, who today completed their final outcome assessment.
As you can see, the pain has dropped now to a 3/10. Those sections where Patient X reported were a 9/10 (ability to complete ADL’s and impact on social life) have dropped to a 3/10 and 2/10 respectively, impact on work was initially 7/10 and is now 0/10, anxiety and depression are both down from 7/10 to 1/10, and ability to cope with, control and reduce the pain was initially a 7/10 and is now a mere 2/10!
Whilst plenty of naysayers might say “Sure, but they’re not pain free and their Bournemouth Questionnaire isn’t zero.” If you had an illness or disease that lasted several years, would you take a few pills and expect it to be cured? No. Realistically, you’d hope that it would be better, as it is for this patient. Recovery takes time and is something that cannot be rushed. If you recall, Patient X’s problem had started over a decade ago, so we’re delighted that two months later the pain has improved this significantly. Not only that, but Patient X reports feeling “much improved” as well so we know they’re happy with how they’ve progressed- which gives us all sorts of warm fuzzy feelings. Hooray for job satisfaction!
So what happens now? At this stage, we’ll see a lot less of Patient X as they are formally discharged from care. The pain is now so minimal and intermittent that after discussing it with them, they’re happy to manage it themselves at home with stretches, exercises and lifestyle modifications (such as taking regular breaks from sitting whilst at work). We’ll check up on them in a few months to review their exercises, identify if there are any issues that have crept back on and this also gives us an opportunity to discuss their progress with them and if they have any further concerns. Of course, we’re always at the end of a phone or email, Facebook, Google+ or Twitter if they (or you) want to get in touch in the meantime!
We never guarantee 100% cure as nothing in medicine can. No pill, no operation, no treatment. There are no guarantees. What we do say at Acorn Health is that we will always give you the very best treatment and care, in accordance with the latest research guidelines and current evidence base. We can also say (thanks to another fancy PROMs questionnaire) that we have 100% satisfaction rates from every patient we’ve seen since we opened back in 2014, and that makes us very happy indeed.
So there’s a little overview and case study into how PROMs are put into use in clinical practice, and why we utilise them! If you’d like to know more, or would like to get in touch to book your own appointment, you can contact us using the form below.
It’s officially winter, and whilst this brings slippers, warm fires, mulled everything and of course Christmas, it can often spell a hazardous period for those most at risk of a slip or fall.
Who is most at risk of falling?
Physical changes to our bodies, coupled with underlying health conditions and sometimes even our medication can mean that as we get older, we’re at increased risk of falling. In fact, falls prevention is an important issue as falls are the leading cause of death due to injury among the elderly and account for 87% of all fractures in the elderly.
Older people are more likely to have a fall because they may have:
Long term health conditions (such as heart disease, low blood pressure or dementia)
Interestingly, it is not necessarily the frail elderly who are most at risk of falling. Vigorous older persons living with more home hazards (such as loose rugs, dimly lit rooms or shower trays without slip matting) are more likely to fall than frail older persons with home hazards!
Falls are also a common cause of minor injury in pregnant women, but the truth is everyone is at risk of falls (how many times have you tripped rushing around at home, caught your foot on a rug or slipped over on a patch of ice?)
What to do if you have a fall
If you are hurt:
If you are hurt but able to move, getting up too quickly or in the wrong way could make an injury worse.
Keep calm, if there is someone nearby ask them to call for an ambulance.
If you are alone, try to get someone’s attention by calling out for help, banging on the wall or floor, or using your emergency call button.
If possible, crawl to a telephone and dial 999 to request an ambulance.
Try to keep yourself warm. If you can reach a blanket or towel, put this over yourself (particularly your legs and feet).
Stay as comfortable as possible, try to change your position at least once every half an hour or so and wait for help to arrive.
If you are unhurt:
If you are unhurt and can get up safely without help, roll over onto your side, then rest again to allow your blood pressure and body to adjust.
Slowly get on to your hands and knees, and crawl to a sturdy piece of furniture (such as a bed or chair).
Put your hands on each side of the piece of furniture and slide one foot forward so that it is flat on the floor. Keep your other knee bent so your knee is on the floor.
From this kneeling position, slowly get yourself up and turn to sit on the bed or chair.
Ten top tips for fall prevention
Route planner: Think about the best route to your destination and don’t rush on the way there. Allow yourself some extra time to make your journey.
Don’t rush: If your destination involves a trip outdoors, avoid rushing or taking shortcuts over an area where there is snow or ice. Walk slowly, and never run over icy ground.
Centre of balance: Take small steps to keep your centre of balance beneath you.
Risk reduction: If you are in the “at risk” category, minimise your trip hazards at home. This could mean installing handrails, removing loose rugs, and always keeping the stairs and hallway clear of objects such as books or shoes!)
Shoes: Appropriate footwear is a must, indoors or outdoors. Flat footwear with rubber soles provides better grip and traction than leather soles or high heels. At home, avoid slip-on shoes such as mule slippers.
Handrails: Use handrails where possible to support yourself.
Resist your pockets: Don’t put your hands in your pocket- keep them both free for balance.
Watch out for cars: If getting in and out the car, hold on to the vehicle for support.
Carrying sensibly: Avoid carrying your children or lots of heavy shopping bags, particularly on stairs.
Use floor mats: Wipe your shoes when entering a building to remove moisture on the soles of your shoes. This not only reduces your risk of slipping, but means others walking behind you are less likely to slip on a wet surface too!
Do you know someone who is at risk of a slip or fall this winter? If so, please do share this information with them. If you’ve had a fall and are in need of our assistance, you can call us on 01243 379693 or book your appointment online here and start your journey to a pain-free festive season!