Spinal injury


Definition

The spinal cord contains the nerves that carry messages between your brain and the rest of the body. The cord passes through your neck and back. A spinal cord injury is very serious because it can cause loss of movement (paralysis) and sensation below the site of the injury.

Alternative Names

Spinal cord injury; SCI

Causes

This EM Should be displayed at the top of the article section "Causes"

A spinal cord injury may be caused by incidents such as:

Symptoms

Symptoms of a spinal cord injury may include any of the following:

First Aid

Never move anyone who you think may have a spinal injury, unless it is absolutely necessary. For example, if you need to get the person out of a burning car, or help them to breathe.

Keep the person completely still and safe until medical help arrives.

If the person is not alert or responding to you:

DO NOT roll the person over unless the person is vomiting or choking on blood, or you need to check for breathing.

If you need to roll the person over:

Do Not

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your local emergency number (such as 911) if you think someone has a spinal cord injury. Do not move the person unless there is urgent danger.

Prevention

The following may lower your risk of spinal injury:

References

American Red Cross. First Aid/CPR/AED Participant's Manual. Dallas, TX: American Red Cross; 2016.

Kaji AH, Newton EJ, Hockberger RS. Spinal injuries. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 43. 

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