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Spinal injury: First aid Print/Conditions/Prevention

 Spinal injury: First aid Print

If you think someone may have a back or neck injury, do not move them until you know for sure. This can cause permanent paralysis or other serious complications. If you think someone may have a spinal injury, assume this is the case if they:

Spinal injury: First aid Print


  • There is evidence that shows there was a head injury, and the person's level of consciousness is changing.
  • The person is having a lot of pain in their neck or back.
  • If you get injured, it hurts a lot.
  • The person is having problems with weakness, numbness, or paralysis; they may also have trouble controlling their bladder and bowels.
  • The neck or body is not in the correct position.

If you think someone may have a spinal injury, do not move them until you have contacted a doctor.

  • Get help. Call 911 or emergency medical help.
  • Keep the person still.Make sure the head and neck are immobilized by using heavy towels or rolled sheets.
  • Avoid moving the head or neck. If the person does not show any signs of circulation (breathing, coughing, or movement), begin CPR. If the person's head or neck is still movable, tilt it forward to open the airway. Use your fingers to gently grasp the jaw and lift it forward. Do not begin chest compressions if the victim has no pulse.
  • Keep helmet on.If you are wearing a football helmet, do not remove it. The facemask should be removed if you need to breathe properly.
  • Don't roll alone. If you have to roll someone who is vomiting or choking, you need at least one other person to help. One of you should be at the head and the other along the side of the injured person. You need to work together to keep the person's head and neck safe. Make sure the person is lying on their left side with their head and shoulders in line with their left arm and leg. Then roll them onto their right side.
Spinal injury: First aid Print/Conditions/Prevention

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