We have gotten three questions just this week on falling and ways to manage falls. Below is a Q&A, answered by Sarah Wargo, PT, DPT, MSCS at Mt. Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital in Hartford, CT which addresses issues with falling and how to prevent falls.
Here is My Question:
What would be considered "normal" amount of trips/falls? In the past 30 days I have broke a finger at the joint, broke a toe, and acquired a nasty burn while cooking. I use a variety of mobile devices depending on the day's needs. I try to find balance between doing what I can without aid, and using aid when it is necessary. How does one challenge themselves, and not get hurt so often? I am not willing to "throw in the towel", and feel if I don't fight with all I have, I will be full time wheel chair sooner than necessary. Am I thinking incorrectly?
The honest answer to your question is that no falls would be the “normal” amount of falls for someone to have. Having had 3 falls in one month is concerning, especially because you have had some injuries as a result of the falls.
My first recommendation is to ask yourself a few questions:
I also recommend you call your neurologist and report the recent increase falls as well as your injuries. If you are having new MS symptoms you should report those as well. If you aren’t having new symptoms, it is still important to determine the potential causes of your falls, so you can correct them! There are a lot of different reasons why you may be falling, and it is important to determine what the reason is. The neurologist can rule out a medical cause of the falls (MS exacerbation or medication changes) and can also refer you to a physical therapist. A physical therapist can help determine non-medical reasons for why you might be falling (muscle weakness, impaired gait or impaired balance) and teach you ways to help prevent falls in the future.
Often times preventing a fall can be as simple as making modifications to your environment, or being more mindful of what you are doing. Sometimes it’s a matter of using the “right device/aid” depending on the task you are doing! I certainly can understand your mindset of “not wanting to throw in the towel” but there are definitely ways you can be safer without giving up and becoming wheelchair bound!!!
The following link will provide a PDF brochure from the National MS Society which provides excellent information about minimizing risk of falls! It provides information on reasons why people fall and how you can modify your environment and daily activities to minimize your risk of falling! It is a wonderful resource, but would best be used in conjunction with physical therapy!
Falls are not something to be taken lightly! As I tell my patients; you have enough to manage with your MS alone, you don’t need any broken bones or head injuries on top of that!!!! I hope this helps answer your question, and gives you faith that you can be safe without giving up your mobility and independence! Hope this helps.
Mt. Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital
490 Blue Hills Ave.
Hartford, CT 06112
PLEASE NOTE: This information/opinions on this site should be used as an information source only. This information does not create any patient-HCP relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.