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Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, First Aid ...

Spinal or Neck injury

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 :

  1. Check the victim's airway, breathing, and circulation. If necessary, begin rescue breathing and CPR. If you think the victim might have a head, neck, or spinal injury; lift the chin rather than tilt the head back when attempting to open the airway. Keep the victim's head, neck and back in line and roll him or her as a unit.
  2. Immobilize the victim's head and torso in the position found.
  3. If the victim must be moved, get several people to help. Use a sturdy support (such as a plank) as a stretcher. Together, roll the victim's entire body as a unit - keeping the head, neck, and back in a straight line - onto the stretcher.
  4. Immobilize the victim's head and torso in the position found. Place rolled-up towels, clothing, or blankets around the victim's head and torso. Use ropes, belts, tape, or strips of cloth to hold the victim in place on the stretcher. Carry the stretcher as horizontally as possible.
  5. If you are the only rescuer and the victim must be moved, use the clothes drag technique with victim lying face up or face down (however he or she was found).
  6. If the victim vomits or is choking on blood, carefully roll him or her on one side. Vomiting can mean internal injuries.
  7. Keep the victim warm to help prevent shock.
  8. Give first aid for obvious injuries, but keep the victim in the position found.

PREVENTION : Regular exercise, good posture, and lifting heavy objects correctly (letting your leg muscles do most of the work) all help prevent back problems.

Note: The medical knowledge base changes constantly. The information and knowledge on this subject may not be current or may become obsolete. Therefore, it is important that you always refer to the latest update available in the matter. The information provided on this site cannot be treated as current and up-to-date and cannot substitute professional medical advice / treatment and care. This site or its owners in no event shall be liable for any damages or injuries caused by use of any information contained on this site.