Falls and How to Avoid Them

“I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!”

We all chuckled at the melodramatic wail of Edith Fore, a retired nurse who played ‘Mrs. Fletcher’ in the 1987 Life Alert commercial. She pulled herself out of obscurity with the line, which she says she created for the scene in which she speaks but doesn’t fall. Her voice was dubbed in after a stunt person enacted the aftermath of a fall. Fore said she’d fallen enough times in her life and didn’t want even to pretend to play the victim.

Why we laugh

A grab bar is easy to install.

A grab bar is easy to install.

The reason people find the commercial so amusing is that Fore does sound feeble. People often laugh when they see someone else fall. The primary reason is that we’re nervous at the thought of a sudden unexpected event which could produce an injury. In other words, we laugh because we know how easy it is to fall and we fear potential injury or death.

As a chiropractor in Portland, we see many fall-related injuries. The human back and neck are strong, but not built to withstand the sudden, uneven pressure caused by a bad fall.

A frequent injury

Falls are the third most reported cause of unintentional injury and death, behind poisoning and motor vehicle accidents. A bad fall is the primary cause of a broken back. Beyond actually breaking the back, a fall can cause injuries to the spine, in both the back and neck areas. These injuries may include a fracture, herniated disc, soft tissue damage, or even whiplash.

Avoiding the most common falls

There are preventative measures a person can take which will lessen the chances for slips and falls. In the bathroom, non-slip mats and safety bars are the two devices which are most helpful in preventing a fall.


Adequate lighting is often overlooked as a method of preventing falls. Stumbling around in dim light or the dark can make it hard to see obstacles, but can also lower depth perception, particularly in those who already have vision issues.


Housekeeping can also lessen the chances of a fall.

+Wipe up any water from the floor as soon as it occurs.

+ Keep clutter at bay and don’t have items which increase the likelihood of tripping, such as accent rugs and clusters of houseplants on the floor.

Make sure walkways are large enough to pass through without tripping over furniture.

When to seek treatment

The sooner a victim seeks treatment for a back, neck, or shoulder injury as the result of a fall, the less likely it is that the injury will become permanently painful as the result of the damage. Chiropractic care, with or without gentle massage, may provide relief to injuries caused as the result of a fall.

People who trip or fall repeatedly, especially if it isn’t something which has been a problem in the past, should consult their physician, even if they aren’t injured.

When you’re injured in a car accident, there is no reason to delay treatment due to lack of insurance or while waiting for insurance approval. Here at Northeast Portland Chiropractic, we treat car accident cases with zero out-of-pocket cost to the patient. Call 503-493-9730.