Each year, thousands of workers developed an injury because of a fall. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), around 800 workers died because of it while 244,000 suffered from severe injuries they needed to leave work for a while.
Because the risks are high, those in highly physical industry should already prepare and know what to do to effectively recover from a fall injury.
1. Get Medical Attention ASAP
Getting immediate medical attention is the first thing to do after suffering from a fall. It is recommended that you visit a doctor for assessment of your injuries and take medication if necessary.
The doctor will first determine the severity of your injuries and if you should take medication. He will also give instructions on how to deal with the injury for maximum recovery.
Watch out for any signs and symptoms like:
- Severe pain in any area of the body
- Unexplained side to side disorientation or dizziness
- Difficulty breathing or chest pain
- Headache that won’t go away, even with medication
You should also watch for these common signs and symptoms if you suspect a head injury:
- Slurred speech
- Lack of response
- Impaired vision
- Any unusual behavior
2. Know the Injury Type
It is important to know the type of injury that you have so that proper treatment for it can be given.
A sprain refers to damage or injury on your ligaments, while a bruise refers to the blood pooled inside the soft tissues beneath your skin caused by blunt trauma.
For instance, when your muscles stretch too much because of a fall and cells get damaged, it leads to pain, swelling, and soreness, which will last between six weeks and three months. You can treat this at home with rest and simple over-the-counter painkillers.
A fracture is an injury to the bones, which can be classified into two depending on severity. A minor bone injury like a hairline fracture is when it breaks partially but does not pierce through the skin. It heals in 6-8 weeks and you will need to wear a splint or cast for support.
A more serious one is when your fractured bone pierces through the skin, causing bleeding and severe pain. This type of fracture requires immediate medical attention, which might include surgery to prevent further damage.
Soft tissue injuries are common in falls because of direct contact with hard surfaces when falling. They can range from muscle strains all the way up to tendon tears and ligament damage.
Ice packs will help in soft tissue injuries, especially if you apply them immediately after your injury. Check with your doctor first before taking any medication or supplements for this type of injury.
3. Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions
While recovering from a fall injury might seem easy, it is still necessary to follow your doctor’s instructions for maximum recovery. That means not doing certain activities until your physician allows you to do so. Don’t take on too much load at work or do workouts that are too strenuous for you.
If the injury requires the use of crutches, make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions on how long it is safe to use them. He might also give recommendations on what type of shoes you should wear or if physical therapy is necessary to help with your recovery.
4. Work with a Physical Therapist
Physical therapists, also known as PTs, can help in assessing your condition and create an individualized treatment plan depending on the results of their examination. They will first determine whether you need manual treatments before doing exercises for getting your range of motion back again.
PTs take into account factors like pain level, muscle strength, balance abilities, endurance level, active range of motion, and flexibility when creating a recovery plan. You can then discuss with your doctor whether it is safe for you to continue physical therapy after the session.
If you are recovering at home, you can hire a home health aide for PT support. They can assist you when doing therapeutic exercises to speed up your recovery.
5. Talk to Your Boss about Workplace Accommodations
While dealing with your injury, it’s also necessary to talk to your boss about adjusting accommodations at work so that you can still handle daily tasks without causing further harm or stress on yourself. For instance, having someone else lift heavy items instead of doing it yourself might mean less pain in the long run.
Before returning to work, it’s best to talk to your doctor about the type of work you will be doing and if it is safe for you given your injury. He might suggest some restrictions or create a different return-to-work plan that fits your specific situation.
All types of work have some level of risk, but some may cause significant injuries than others. Knowing how to heal properly if they happen is, therefore, paramount.