DEFINITION : Injury to the neck or spinal cord.
CONSIDERATIONS : When someone has a spinal injury, additional movement may cause further damage to the spine. The purpose of first aid is to prevent further harm to the victim until you can obtain medical help. If in doubt about whether a person has received a spinal injury, assume he or she has. A spinal cord injury is very serious because it can meant he loss of sensation and function in the parts of the body below the site of the injury.
CAUSES : Awkward positioning of the body - bullet or stab wound - direct trauma to the face, neck, head or back - diving accident - electric shock - exertion - twisting of the trunk
SYMPTOMS : Stiff neck - head held in unusual position - weakness - difficulty walking - shock (with pale, clammy skin; bluish lip and fingernails; and decreased consciousness) - paralysis of extremities - headache, neck pain, abdominal pain or back pain - numbness or tingling that radiates down an arm or leg - loss of bladder or bowel control
DO NOT : Do not bend, twist, or lift the victim's head or body. - DO NOT attempt to move the victim before medical help arrives unless it is absolutely necessary. - DO NOT remove a helmet if a spinal injury is suspected.
CALL IMMEDIATELY FOR EMERGENCY MEDICAL ASSISTANCE IF : There has been any injury to the neck or spinal cord. Keep the victim absolutely immobile. Unless there is urgent danger, keep the victim in the position where he or she was found. FIRST AID :
PREVENTION : Regular exercise, good posture, and lifting heavy objects correctly (letting your leg muscles do most of the work) all help prevent back problems.
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