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What to do in Case of a Spinal Injury?

Elderly Patient Holding Aching Back

Spinal injuries can have long-lasting repercussions for those experiencing them, especially if the proper steps aren’t taken immediately after the injury. If you’re trying to assist someone who has a spinal injury, the first thing you need to do is call an ambulance to the scene. Under no circumstances should you attempt to move them as doing so could cause serious complications ranging from permanent paralysis to death.

How Do I Know If Someone Has A Spinal Injury?

The most prominent signs, especially when a head injury is involved, is someone fading in and out of consciousness. Those who have experienced a spinal injury will complain of severe pain in their neck or back. If the initial injury involved a severe blow to the head or back, you should treat them as if there is a possibility of a spinal injury. Numbness, paralysis, or weakness in their limbs, bowels, or bladder are other signs that they may have experienced a spinal injury.

What Do I Do If Someone Has a Spinal Injury?

As mentioned above, the first thing you should do is call 911. The first thing you should NOT do is make any attempt to move them from the injury site. Following this, you should do your best to make sure they cannot move by securing their head and neck in place with rolled sheets or heavy towels on either side. Do your best to avoid moving their neck or head at all while doing this. If CPR is necessary, do NOT tilt the head or neck back, but perform all other elements of the procedure. Do not remove anything they may be wearing on their head, such as a helmet.

What Should I Do If The Patient Must Be Moved?

If you absolutely have to move the patient before the medical staff arrives, do your best to keep the head and neck from moving. You want to minimize movement if at all possible, so only move them as far as you have to. If the patient is choking on blood, or having trouble breathing due to obstruction, get someone to help roll them on their side. One will take their head; the other will handle the body and work to keep the back, head, and neck in alignment as they get moved.

Spinal injuries can be the cause of lifelong injuries and have a serious impact on someone’s quality of life. When you’ve exhausted the first aid steps, all you can do is wait for the ambulance to arrive and get them to where proper care can be given. Once they’re stabilized, you’ll want a specialist to help them during their recovery and treatment following the injury. Call Dr. Diana Wilson at Neurosurgical and Spinal Consultants in Fort Worth, TX, to see what our team of experts can do for you. We help patients like you recover from injuries and work to restore as much movement and quality of life as possible through the process. Call for an appointment or consultation today!

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