From putting up curtains to picking up boxes, common activities at home or work can cause injuries1. We asked Dr Vilash Boodhoo, a chiropractor from Durban, about the most common injuries we can sustain at home or at work and how to avoid them.

“Fact is stranger than fiction and this also holds true for the way people injure themselves both at home and in the workplace,” Dr Boodhoo says.” I’ve had people presenting with severe lower back pain after brushing their teeth or trying to dry themselves with a towel after a shower,” he says. In particular, he recalls one patient who had severe lower back pain after killing a cockroach! 2

Dr Boodhoo says that fortunately most commonly sustained injuries are avoidable. “Even though common sense and experience tells us not to throw caution to the wind, human nature makes us try to push the limits”2.

He says that in his practice, the most common ailments that they see are lower back injuries as a result of incorrect lifting technique, both at home and in the workplace. This includes moving furniture, weightlifting at gym and lifting heavy objects in the workplace accounts for the bulk of acute lower back pain2.

“One should try to avoid lifting objects that are very heavy without assistance. Keep heavy objects close to your body. Avoid lifting off the floor and use your knees and hips to bend – NOT your back. Also remember that lifting and bending combined with twisting of the lower back is a recipe for severe back injury,” he says2.

Other common injuries include tripping and falling which may lead to sprained joints and strained muscles2. The most common soft tissues which can be injured include the muscles, tendons, and ligaments1. When an acute injury like this occurs, the RICE protocol can be very effective as an initial treatment. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

Rest – Take a break from the activity that caused the injury. Your doctor may recommend that you use crutches to avoid putting weight on your leg.

Ice – Use cold packs for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.

Compression -To prevent additional swelling and blood loss, wear an elastic compression bandage.

Elevation – To reduce swelling, elevate the injury higher than your heart while resting1.

“Although prevention is always better than cure, if you fall victim to an unfortunate injury, make sure that you have some important aids at your disposal to assist in early treatment of musculoskeletal injuries. Over and above the obvious plasters, scissors and bandages, your kit should include an instant ice pack and good quality zinc oxide strapping tape,” he says. “I would strongly recommend an over the counter anti-inflammatory gel that will assist most types of acute injuries. When applied directly to the affected area, they will help alleviate pain, swelling and discomfort for most musculoskeletal injuries including muscle strain and joint sprain2.”

Norflex® Gel is the first topical gel that offers everyday triple action3, which means that it provides anti-inflammatory (reduces the inflammation) 4, analgesic (relieves pain) 4 and local anaesthetic (numbs the affected area to reduce pain) properties5. Norflex® Gel was launched in South Africa this year to provide relief for strains and sprains as well as other muscle, tendon or ligament injuries4.

Should an injury take place, it is recommended that you consult your healthcare professional if your injury may be more serious. Here are some of the signs that an injury needs medical attention6:

  • You cannot take more than a few steps without severe pain
  • You cannot move the affected limb or joint
  • You experience severe pain directly over the bones of an affected joint,
  • You experience numbness in any part of the injured area

Disclaimer: This editorial has been commissioned and brought to you by iNova Pharmaceuticals. Content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. This editorial contains views from a health care professional and of their practice and medical judgement and are not necessarily that of iNova.For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

For full prescribing information, refer to the package insert. For more information, speak to your healthcare professional. Further information is available on request from iNova Pharmaceuticals. Name and business address: iNova Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Ltd. Co. Reg. No. 1952/001640/07. 15E Riley Road, Bedfordview. Tel. No. 011 087 0000. www.inovapharma.co.za.


  1. OrthoInfo – Sprains, Strains and Other Soft-Tissue Injuries (https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/sprains-strains-and-other-soft-tissue-injuries/) [online] June 2020 [cited] November 2022
  2. Q&A interview (unpaid) with Dr Vilash Boodhoo 11 October 2018
  3. South African Medicine Price Registry. Database of Medicine Prices. (http://www.mpr.gov.za/PublishedDocuments.aspx#DocCatId=21) [online] [cited] November 2022
  4. Virtual Medical Centre – Difflam Gel (https://www.myvmc.com/drugs/difflam-gel/) [online] 16 January 2008 [cited] November 2022
  5. Mayo Clinic. Sprains and strains (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sprains-and-strains/symptoms-causes/syc-20377938p=1) [online] [cited] November 2022