06.22.18 | Pain Conditions, Treatments

Top 10 Common Causes of Pain in Alaska the State Wants to Keep Secret

Alaska can be a dangerous place

A recent report has listed Alaska as the most dangerous state in the US. While this report deals with crime, it cannot be denied that Alaska, even cities like Anchorage, have more than their share of accidents and mishaps, which can lead to widespread or chronic pain.

To most Americans, Alaska is considered to be nothing more than a vast wilderness filled with lumberjacks and people who want to disappear from society.

While a small part of that is true, there is no denying that Alaska can be a dangerous place. A collision with a moose, slipping on ice, falling or twisting your neck or back trying to navigate to your car in the snow, and working on a pipeline can wreak havoc on anyone’s body.

Everyone wants to think the state they live in is safe and maybe even better than any other state in the union. Did you know, however, that BP had 27 dangerous accidents in 2017 alone? Yeah, the state doesn’t like to advertise its troubles.

We have created a list of the top 10 most common causes of pain for those in Alaska, Anchorage in particular, that you or someone you love might be living with right now.

1) Car Accidents

Ugh. Car accidents are not only a pain in the butt, but they can be a pain in the back and neck and are downright annoying. Dealing with insurance companies is also a pain, but a different one to be sure.

No matter how careful you might be, accidents still happen. Whether a child darts in from of your car or a flat tire causes you to lose control, there is almost always some type of pain involved.

Common types of pain include whiplash, broken bones, strains, herniated discs, sprained joints, and more.

Pain from car accidents is perhaps one of the biggest reasons people seek chiropractic care. Lingering headaches, numbness in an extremity, neck pain, back pain, or tingling feelings can all result from car accidents.

2) Slip, Trip, and Falls

Whether it was from a dangerous or unstable surface, such as loose flooring, broken sidewalks, or an unsecured rug, slipping, tripping and falling are another big pain in the you-know-where.

Tripping, slipping, and sliding also happens on icy streets, driveways, sidewalks, and while shoveling that darn snow.

For many of us, we don’t need no stinkin’ snow or ice to trip and fall; we do so on our own accord over our own two feet! Sprains and strains are not absent from our life experiences.

Even if you don’t fall, sliding and trying to keep your balance can throw your back out of whack or wrench your wrist, elbows, shoulders, or neck as you try to hold on to anything to stay upright!  

Falling on your tailbone has got to be one of the most painful things, but even if you miss out on that joy, you can slip a disc or pinch a nerve by falling on your fanny.

3) Encounters with Wildlife

While you might be thinking of a bar fight, we are referring to real wildlife like raccoons, deer, and even bears.

OK, your chances of encountering a rat are more likely than a bear, but any meeting between man and animal can cause some serious injuries to both parties.

In 2017 alone, 4 people were attacked and two killed in bear attacks, with one woman being killed in the north-eastern part of Anchorage.

Some people injure themselves trying to scare the animal away with a broom or by throwing rocks and end up throwing their backs out of whack.

Others try to escape and end up twisting their neck when they run into a sign or a tree.

For those fans of wildlife, they can sustain injuries of all kinds when trying to take a photograph of that elusive bald eagle who simply won’t sit still!

4) Bicycle Accidents

You know spring has arrived when you begin to see robins, ducks, snow buntings, swans, and bicyclists.

Who can blame anyone for wanting to get exercise and enjoy the warmer temperatures?

Unfortunately, bicycle riding can also result in some serious injuries. A simple fall can twist your neck, sprain your ankle or wrists, and pull your back out of place.

According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, injuries sustained from falling while riding a bike account for 20 percent of all injuries, while the biggest cause of injuries was being hit by a car.

You can help to protect yourself by wearing a helmet, putting mirrors on your ride, and wearing protective gear. No matter how skilled you might be with a bicycle, no one can predict when that dog will run out of the yard and try to bite you. (It accounts for a full 5% of all bicycle injuries!)

5) Work is a Pain

According to the CDC, most workplace accidents involve a slip and fall but there are plenty of other ways that people hurt themselves at work including back injuries from improper lifting, cuts, and lacerations as well as inhaling toxic fumes and flat out walking into things (texting and walking anyone?).

Ergonomics also play their part in the pain game. What is an ergonomic injury? These injuries are caused by repetitive motions or improper workstation setups mostly.

How sitting causes back pain

These types of injuries can cause pain in the hands, wrists, elbows, neck shoulders and back. Is it any wonder why more people seek chiropractic care for workplace injuries than almost any other type of accident?

6) Incidents at Home

It might be home sweet home, but we really know how to get injured in our own castle, don’t we? Statistics say more people are injured at home than any other place.

The living room is where most accidents occur, but the kitchen is a close second.

Typical causes of pain due to accidents in Anchorage are things falling on us (such as tree branches), tripping/falling, firearm incidents, smoke inhalation, poisoning, drowning, and burns.

Objects falling on people, whether it is a heavy kitchen item stored in a high cabinet or a tree branch that decides it must fall on your head right now, are one of the most common causes of neck, shoulder, and back pain.

Incidents at Home

Tripping and falling is the top contender here, causing most people such intense back and neck pain they seek the help of a qualified chiropractor.

7) Sports

Alaska is known for its extreme weather, but this doesn’t daunt outdoor enthusiasts. Whether they are into ice climbing, heli-skiing, rock climbing, ice hockey, or baseball, you can bet that no matter how often they play, they will get injured eventually.

The complaints are almost as numerous as the sports we Alaskan’s love; back pain, strained muscles, stiff necks, sprained wrists, ankles, and knees.

The good news here is that most of these injuries are temporary. The pain from these types of injuries can be relieved most times with a hot bath or ice packs and a few adjustments from your local chiropractor.

Other injuries, such as frostbite, heat stroke, and broken or fractured bones will require medical attention and possibly even hospitalization.

8) Pets

Those videos on social media sites where people are being pulled across the lawn by their dog, tripping over their cat, and falling off horses are funny as all heck… if it isn’t YOU starring in the video!

Let’s face it; we love our fur babies, but they can, literally, be a big pain! It’s estimated that at least 80,000 injuries a year (for all 50 states) are reported by pet owners. Imagine the number of injuries that are minor enough not to report!

In case you are interested, dogs cause far more injuries than cats do. An estimated 7.5 times to be exact!

Whether we are tripping over them, being pulled along, or stepped on, our furry friends can cause us some serious neck and back pain, shoulder sprains, bruises, and injuries to the knees, elbows, and other joints, just to name a few.

9) Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can be almost anything and you can bet most of them will involve some pain! Wildfires, earthquakes, floods, blizzards, ice storms, you name it, Anchorage has it all!

Hopefully, you are prepared to take emergency measures and have a plan in place in case we ever get hit with something big, but even those precautions can’t protect you from everything.  

No matter how careful we are, no matter how well prepared we think we might be, natural disasters can creep up on us and whack us upside the head!

10) Miscellaneous Mishaps

Miscellaneous Mishaps

If you are already feeling psycho-sematic aches and pains just from reading this list, you are not alone!

Imagine the painful episodes that come from hacksaws and axes, chainsaws and hammers, fishing poles and loose concrete.

Other painful calamities include off-road vehicle accidents, boating accidents, collapsing ladders, stepping into holes or home repair accidents, and just plain not watching where we are walking.

Speaking of not being aware of our surroundings, cell phones and tablets are certainly being a pain in the neck, aren’t they? Not only a pain in the neck, but a pain in our back, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers!

In fact, we are now texting so much and so often that there is a new term just for this issue, called Text Neck.

If you are suffering from text neck, text back, or any other pain that involves the back, arms, joints, or shoulders, see a chiropractor and enjoy life again. Even with all its painful moments, the world is still a beautiful place!

Author: Dr. Brent Wells

Dr. Brent Wells has been a trusted chiropractor since moving his family from Oregon to Alaska back in 1998 and founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab – B.S. from Univ. of Nevada, Doctorate from Western States Chiropractic College, volunteer for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Foundation, and member of the American Chiropractic Association. As a chiropractor his focus is on family, including his 3 children and wife of 20+ years, his clinics, and ongoing education.

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