First Aid Spinal Injury

The spinal cord is a thick nerve that runs down the neck and back; it is protected by bones called vertebrae. If the spinal cord is injured, this can lead to paralysis. Since the vertebrae protect the spinal cord, it is generally difficult to cause such an injury. Note that only an x-ray can conclusively determine if a spinal injury exists. If a spinal injury is suspected, the victim must be treated as though one does exist.


  • Mental confusion ,Dizziness
  • Head, neck or back pain
  • Paralysis
  • Cerebrospinal fluid in the nose or ears
  • Resistance to moving the head
  • Pupils which are not equal and reactive to light
  • Head or back injury


Best Practice
Life over limb: Immobilize the spine as best as you can, but Airway, Breathing and Circulation take priority.

The victim should not be moved unless absolutely necessary. Without moving the victim, check if the victim is breathing. If they are not, CPR must be initiated; the victim must be rolled while attempting to minimize movement of the spine.

If you must roll the victim over to begin CPR, take great care to keep their spine immobilized. You may want to recruit bystanders to help you.

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