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First aid in injuries of the spine and spinal cord

Correctly given first aid in case of injury of the spine – the key to the preservation of life and human health. Injury to the vertebral column is a real danger and threatens severe consequences. Try to understand what types of spinal lesions there are and how quickly and correctly to help the victim.

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Types of injuries

Not to cause harm to the patient when providing first aid, you need to know the types of spinal cord injuries. Their klassificeret depending on localization, extent and depth of the lesion and the method of deformations of the musculoskeletal apparatus. By the nature of the injuries spinal injuries are divided into the following types:

  • Fracture – a violation of the anatomical integrity of the vertebrae and the muscles, blood vessels, and nervous tissues accompanied by the lack of physical activity and threaten life. More often diagnosed in the cervical spine.
  • Sprain – injury to joints of the joints offset from the above-located vertebra relative to the lower. Characteristic of the cervical spine, rarely occurs in the division of the lumbar region.
  • Injury – disorders of the spinal column, preserving the General structure of the spinal cord and in the particular vertebrae. Often accompanied by the formation of bruising, tissue necrosis and obstruction of the movement of cerebrospinal fluid through the spinal canal, damage to the nerve roots. Generally injured lower thoracic and first lumbar vertebrae, at least – the neck.
  • Rupture of the intervertebral disc – the protrusion of an internal part or a rupture in the outer layer, irritating and damaging the nerve root.
  • Compartment syndrome - pathological disorders of organs and systems due to poisoning of the blood toxins after a long massive crushing of soft tissue or constriction of the vessels of the extremities.
  • Paraplegia – paralysis of the upper and lower limbs as a result of injury to the spinal cord.

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According to the site of injury diagnosed injuries of the cervical, thoracic, lumbar spine, and the simultaneous failure of several parts. According to statistics the most common are disorders related to the lumbar-sacral Department, while in 25% of cases are diagnosed injuries of the cervical and thoracic parts.

Which can cause injury

To quickly navigate in the provision of timely assistance will help the knowledge of the mechanisms of damage. The most frequent causes of lesions of the spine, leading to severe consequences, include:

  • Falls from height and resulting in loss of consciousness;
  • Injury due to careless diving in the waters;
  • Accident (road traffic, domestic, industrial, etc.);
  • Disproportionate load on the spine;
  • Excessive exercise;
  • Trauma during childbirth;
  • Gunshot, stab wounds and lesions as a result of the explosions.
  • The aging of the body, leading to wear of the discs between the vertebrae and tissue desiccation or cartilage;
  • Massive blow on the back;
  • Chronic diseases, leading to fracture of the vertebral column (osteoporosis, tumor processes).

For different situations, leading to damage to the musculoskeletal system, is characterized by its statistics of lesions of different parts of the spine. In the case of transport accidents, in most cases, suffers cervical, production lumbosacral. Birth complications lead to elongation of the spine.

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Rules of first aid

Injury in the spine – a relatively severe damage to the body that carries the risk of life and health. At the slightest detection of lesions of the spine, it is crucial to undertake the necessary actions aimed at the provision of medical care, which depends on the condition of the person and his life. In such cases it is important to provide assistance before the arrival of specialists that require from the average person the necessary knowledge, experience and skill.

To the maximum extent possible correctly to help with injuriesspine, you must first determine the location of the lesion.


This segment of the spine is most often injured due to auto accidents. "Whiplash" is formed at the moment of sudden povedeniya, leading to a sharp flexion and extension of the neck.

The resulting cervical dislocation and multiple torn ligaments require compliance with the following principles of first aid:

  • Important psychological support of the victim in a state of severe stress;
  • If the injured person claims he is completely healthy, don't rush to agree: often, the lesion of the neck vertebrae accompanied by traumatic brain injury, the patient's condition may deteriorate after a certain time period;
  • Do not focus solely on injury of the musculoskeletal system, it is important to characterize the General condition of the patient: possible malfunction of other organs and systems.

The main action in the defeat of the cervical spine – the creation of the temporary stability to keep the spinal cord from mechanical injury, threatening hemorrhage and rupture of nerve fibers. You need to perform the following activities:

While in constraining conditions (clamping, jams) if possible, carefully remove the victim, holding hands, the neck and head.

  1. Lay on a flat hard surface. For a small extension of the neck and prevent further displacement of the vertebrae, place a small roll under the shoulders;
  2. Convince in the human consciousness in the mandatory observance of the rest. The patient in the absence of consciousness turn his head to one side as this will not allow getting vomit in the respiratory tract;
  3. In case of impossibility of transporting to a medical facility, call an ambulance.

If possible, put the victim on the neck with cotton-gauze collar as an additional means of support.


For lesions of the vertebrae of this segment, often combined with trauma to the thorax, characterized by external asymptomatic. Durable rib frame protects the spine, so the thoracic lesions rarely threaten human life.

This spinal injury is accompanied by a pronounced pain syndrome, inhibiting the lungs and heart. It is important to quickly deliver the victim to a medical facility for thorough examination and treatment.

First aid for injuries of the thoracic is to implement a series of actions to reduce the risk of complications:

  1. Place the victim on a flat hard surface;
  2. Free from hindering clothing chest;
  3. To prevent damage to the spinal cord do not allow the patient to make sudden movements;
  4. Give the victim painkillers that reduce the negative impact of pain on the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

If the damage thoracic segment of the spinal column must support the patient to the hospital, as the pain syndrome often leads to loss of consciousness.

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Injury of the lumbar segment of the spine is expressed by the spasm of muscles and is accompanied by pronounced symptoms. When providing first aid it is important to consider a number of factors:

  • Do not leave patient unattended;
  • Definitely shows a complete medical diagnosis for diagnosis (often confused with lumbago of the spine);
  • Prohibits a sitting position.

A common cause of injury to the lumbar segment is a drop or sudden lifting of heavy objects, provoking a sharp pain and a feeling of weakness in back and lower extremities. These symptoms are talking about the adoption of necessary measures of assistance:

  1. Position the victim on his back or belly. If satisfactory as you can stand;
  2. In position on the abdomen is placed under the chest high pillow. For moderate lumbar extension, the patient should focus elbows and forearms to the floor;
  3. Provide transportation to the hospital. To relieve pain give the victim a painkiller.

To support the lumbar segment it is possible to impose rigid wide belt on the patient.

How to determinefracture

To diagnose such an injury following clinical signs:

  • The unnatural pose of the victim and lack of consciousness;
  • The slightest of movements accompanied by severe pain; with little movement;
  • Complete paresis of the limbs and loss of sensation to talking about squeezing/breaking of the cord;
  • Stop breathing and the heart.

Important and urgent action in cases of suspected fracture of the spine is associated with recording of patient's body.

First aid for head injury and spine is reduced to a simple, but important to save the victim's life, the events:

  • Ensuring immobility of the patient;
  • Call specialists;
  • Psychological support;
  • Monitoring the condition of the victim.

What to do if you fracture?

Before proceeding to action, evaluate the overall condition of the victim:

  • To study the pulse and ability to breathe;
  • In the absence of signs of life to carry out artificial respiration and indirect heart massage by chest compressions to accompany 2 deep artificial inhalations;
  • To make the anesthetic injection (if any);
  • To stop the bleeding (if any).

In cases where spinal injury associated with diving, we recommend the following sequence of actions:

  • Pull out of the water;
  • Put back on a solid surface;
  • To provide rest;
  • To anchor the neck with the help of improvised means.

What not to do

First aid for spinal injuries and head and other injuries of the musculoskeletal system prohibits the following actions:

  • To lift and plant the victim;
  • Put on the soft cover;
  • To reduce displaced vertebrae;
  • To pull limbs;
  • To give drugs;
  • To transport the patient in other positions besides lying on your back or stomach.

In the case of transporting the victim to the medical facilities necessary to provide a hard surface (door, counter, etc.). When shifting, don't forget to support the head, preventing zaprokidyvaya top back and avoiding bending of the spine.

Remember that administering first aid, not only to help but also to harm the victim. It is important to correctly assess the situation and not try to do the impossible.