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First Aid for a Spinal Injury

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Topic Overview

The possibility of a spinal injury must be considered anytime an accident involves the head, face, neck, or back. Permanent paralysis may be avoided if the injured person is kept from moving (immobilized) and is transported correctly.

  • Do not move the person if you think he or she may have a spinal injury unless there is an immediate threat to his or her life, such as a fire. If there is immediate danger, keep the person's head and neck supported and in a straight line while you move him or her to a safe place.
  • Do not remove the person from the water if he or she has been in a diving accident. Float the person face up in the water until help arrives.
  • Call911or other emergency services to transport the injured person if you think he or she may have a spinal injury. This will reduce the risk of more injury to the spinal cord.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 16, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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