What is the First Aid Treatment for a Spinal Injury? 

Damage to the spinal cord can occur in various ways, although the most common cause is external trauma. Non-traumatic injury to the spinal cord can result from causes such as tumours, blood loss or stenosis. So, what should we do when someone has a spinal injury?

This blog will discuss the importance of first aid and what treatments should be done for a spinal injury.

What is a spinal injury?

A spinal injury is a damage to the spinal cord that results in a loss of function, such as mobility and feeling. Frequent causes of spinal cord injuries are trauma (car accident, gunshot, falls, etc.) or disease (polio, spina bifida, Friedreich’s ataxia, etc.)

A person can "break their back or neck" yet not sustain a spinal cord injury if only the bones around the spinal cord (the vertebrae) are damaged, and the spinal cord is unaffected. In these situations, the individual may not experience paralysis after stabilising bones.

When to suspect a spinal injury?

The most critical indicator is the ‘mechanism of injury. How and what has happened to the patient involved in trauma. We are looking for any abnormal forces exerted on the back or neck.

Suspect spinal injury if the casualty has:

  • Sustained a blow to the head, neck or back (mainly resulting in unconsciousness)
  • Fallen from a height (e.g. from a horse)
  • Dived into shallow water
  • Had an accident involving speed (e.g. knocked down or a car accident)
  • Had a 'cave in' incident (e.g. crushing or collapsed rugby scrum)
  • Multiple injuries
  • Pain or tenderness in the neck or back after an accident (pain killers or other injuries could mask the pain - beware).

If you are in any doubt, treat the casualty for spinal injury.

What are the first aid treatments for spinal injury?

Treatment for spinal injury is broken down into two types.

If the casualty is conscious:

  • Offer reassurance and ask them not to move.
  • Keep the casualty in the position you find them unless they are in severe danger.
  • Hold the head still (or ask a helper to do this). Keep the head and neck in line with the upper body.
  • Call 999/112 for emergency help. Keep the casualty still and warm until help arrives.
  • If the casualty is breathing normally, the airway must be clear, so there is no need to tip the head back immediately (but you may have to tip it back and resuscitate if they are not.
  • Call 999/112 for emergency help.
  • Hold the head still. Keep the head and neck in line with the upper body.
  • If you have to leave the casualty, if they begin to vomit, or if you are concerned about their airway, you should put them into recovery. Keep the head and neck aligned with the spine while turning the casualty.
  • Keep the casualty warm and still. Constantly monitor breathing until help arrives. Only move them if they are in danger.

Managing the airway with spinal injuries:

  • Jaw thrust
  • Log roll
  • Recovery position.

What is the spinal recovery position?

If you have a helper, the spinal recovery position is a simple way to protect the airway whilst keeping the head, neck and spine.

  • Support the head by keeping the head, neck and upper body in line.
  • Ask your helper to move the arms and legs into a position ready for recovery.
  • On your count, the helper should roll the casualty into the recovery position, pulling equally on the far leg and the shoulder. You gently move the head to keep it in line with the body as the casualty is rolled.
  • Use a folded coat to support the casualty’s head in line.

How to prevent spinal injuries?

Following this advice might reduce your risk of a spinal cord injury:

  • Drive safely - Car crashes are one of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries. Wear a seat belt every time you're in a moving vehicle.
  • Check water depth before diving - Don't dive into a pool unless it's 12 feet (about 3.7 meters) or deeper, don't dive into an aboveground pool and don't dive into water if you don't know how deep it is.
  • Prevent falls - Use a step stool with a grab bar to reach high-up objects. Add handrails along stairways. Put nonslip mats on tile floors and in the tub or shower.
  • Take precautions when playing sports - Always wear recommended safety gear. Avoid leading with your head in sports.
  • Don't drink and drive - Don't drive while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. Don't ride with a driver who's been drinking.

Where can I find online training courses about first aid treatment for a spinal injury?

The Mandatory Training Group is the leading UK provider of accredited online training courses about first aid treatment for a spinal injury, including health and social care, education, local government, private companies, charitable and third sector organisations.

Alternatively, you can contact our helpful Support Team byclicking hereto tell us your online training course requirements for first aid treatment for spinal injury.

Online training courses for first aid treatment for a spinal injury

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Frequently asked questions and answers about first aid treatment for spinal injury online courses

Here at The Mandatory Training Group, we receive many questions about the online training courses for first aid treatment for a spinal injury. We have selected a few of these questions and answered them below.

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What is the First Aid Treatment for a Spinal Injury? - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

What is the First Aid Treatment for a Spinal Injury? - The Mandatory Training Group UK.

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