First Aid for Spinal Injury


The spinal cord is a thick tissue that runs down the neck and back. It is protected by bones called vertebrae. If the spinal cord is damaged, this can cause paralysis. However, since the spinal cord has the protection from the vertebrae protect, it is not common to have such an injury. Note that only an X-ray can conclude if a spinal injury exists. If a spinal injury is suspected, the victim must be treated as though one does exist.

Recognition of spinal injury

  • Any fall where the head or neck has dropped more than two meters (just over head height on a medium male)
  • Dizziness
  • Head, neck or back discomfort
  • Head or back injury
  • Paralysis
  • Cerebrospinal fluid in the nose or ears
  • Difficulty moving the head
  • Pupils with poor reaction to light
  • Priapism
  • Mental disorder (such as paranoia or euphoria)


Life over limb: Immobilize the spine as best as you can, but Airway, Breathing, and Circulation should be priorities.

The victim should not be transferred or moved unless it is extremely urgent. Without moving the victim, check to see whether the victim is breathing or not. If they are not, CPR must be immediately initiated. The victim must be rolled but try to minimize movement of the spine. If the victim is still breathing, immobilize their spine. The simplest way to immobilize the spine is sandbagging. In spite of the name, it doesn’t essentially require bags of sand. Packing towels, clothing or bags of sand around the victim’s head is just fine. Make sure that you leave their face accessible because you’ll need to control their breathing.

If you must roll the victim over to begin CPR, take really good care to keep their spine immobilized. You may want to ask some bystanders for urgent help. Hands-on training is the only approach to learning the many different techniques which are vital in this situation.

Aquatic Spinal Injury Management

In some cases, spinal injuries are the consequence of a dive into shallow water. Lifeguards and lifesavers are those who have the special training to handle spinal injuries in the water. If you notice a victim in the water and did not see what happened to them, or you are not really sure if the victim has a spinal injury, instantly call for a lifeguard or other medical help.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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