Join Now!      Login

Whole Person Wellness Program
 
healthy.net Wellness Model
Skip Navigation Links
 
 
FREE NEWSLETTER
   
   
   
 
Health Centers
Key Services
 
Antioxidants?
Which of the following is an antioxidant?
Vitamin E
Vitamin B
Calcium


 
 
 Emergency & First Aid: First Aid for Neck/Spine Injury 
 
Anything that puts too much pressure or force on the neck or back can result in a neck and/or spinal injury. Common causes are:
  • Accidents - with cars, motorcycles, snowmobiles, toboggans, rollerblades, etc.
  • Falls - especially from high places
  • Diving mishaps - from diving into water that is too shallow
  • A hard blow to the neck or back while playing a contact sport such as football
  • Violent acts such as a gunshot wound that penetrates the head, neck or trunk

Suspect a neck injury, too, if a head injury has occurred.

Some neck and spinal injuries can be serious because they could result in paralysis. These need emergency medical care. Others, such as whiplash, can be temporary, minor injuries.

A mild whiplash typically causes neck pain and stiffness the following day. Some people, though, have trouble raising their heads off the pillow the next morning. Physical therapy and a collar to support the neck are the most common types of treatment. It often takes three to four months for all symptoms to disappear.

Prevention

  • Use padded headrests in your car to prevent whiplash.
  • Drive carefully and defensively.
  • Wear seatbelts, both lap belts and shoulder harnesses.
  • Buckle children into approved car seats appropriate for their age.
  • Wear a helmet whenever you ride a bicycle or motorcycle or when you roller skate or roller blade.
  • Wear the recommended safety equipment for contact sports.
  • Take care when jumping up and down on a trampoline, climbing a ladder or checking a roof.
  • Check the depth of the water before diving into it. Do not dive into water that is less that 9 feet deep. Never dive into an above-ground pool.

NOTE: IF YOU SUSPECT A NECK OR BACK INJURY IN YOU OR SOMEONE ELSE, YOU MUST KEEP THE NECK AND/OR BACK PERFECTLY STILL UNTIL AN EMERGENCY CREW ARRIVES. DO NOT MOVE SOMEONE WITH A SUSPECTED NECK OR SPINE INJURY UNLESS THE PERSON MUST BE MOVED BECAUSE HIS OR HER SAFETY IS IN DANGER. ANY MOVEMENT OF THE HEAD, NECK OR BACK COULD RESULT IN PARALYSIS OR DEATH. IMMOBILIZE THE NECK BY HOLDING THE HEAD, NECK AND SHOULDERS PERFECTLY STILL. USE BOTH HANDS, ONE ON EACH SIDE OF THE HEAD.

Questions to Ask

Is the injured person not breathing and has no pulse?Yes: Seek CareGive First Aid
No
Perform CPR, but without moving the neck or spine and Seek Emergency Care. (See "CPR") But when you do the "Airway and Breathing" part of CPR, do not tilt the head back or move the head or neck. Instead, pull the lower jaw (chin) forward to open the airway.
Is the injured person not breathing, but has a pulse?Yes: Seek CareGive First Aid
No
Perform "Rescue Breathing" without moving the neck or spine and Seek Emergency Care.(See "Airway and Breathing".) But do not tilt the head back or move the head or neck. Instead, pull the lower jaw (chin) forward to open the airway.

Give first aid before emergency care:

  • Tell the victim to lie still and not move his or her head, neck, back, etc.
  • Immobilize the neck and/or spine. Place rolled towels, articles of clothing, etc. on both sides of the neck and/or body. Tie and wrap in place, but don't interfere with the victim's breathing. If necessary, use both of your hands, one on each side of the victim's head, to keep the head from moving.

    Note: If you must move someone with a suspected neck or spinal injury follow the above procedures and:

  • Select a stretcher, door or other rigid board.
  • Several people should carefully lift and move the person onto the board, being very careful to align the head and neck in a straight line with the spine. The head should not rotate or bend forward or backward.
  • Make sure one person uses both of his or her hands, one on each side of the victim's head, to keep the head from moving. If you can, immobilize the neck and/or spine by placing rolled towels, articles of clothing, etc. on both sides of the neck and/or body. Tie and wrap in place, but don't interfere with the victim's breathing.

    Note: If you suspect someone has injured his or her neck in a diving or other water accident:

  • Protect the neck and/or spine from bending or twisting. Place your hands on both sides of the neck and keep in place until help arrives.
  • If the person is still in the water, help the person float until a rigid board can be slipped under the head and body, at least as far down as the buttocks.
  • If no board is available, several people should take the person out of the water, supporting thehead and body as one unit, making sure the head does not rotate or bend in any direction.
Does the injured person have any of these signs or symptoms?
  • Paralysis
  • Inability to open and close his or her fingers or move his or her toes.
  • Feelings of numbness in the legs, arms, shoulders or any other part of the body.
  • Appearance that the head, neck or back is in an odd position.
Yes: Seek Care
No
Are any of these present following a recent injury to the neck and/or spine that did not get treated with emergency care at the time of the injury?
  • Severe pain.
  • Numbness, tingling or weakness in the face, arms or legs.
  • Loss of bladder control.
Yes: Seek Care
No
Do you suspect a whiplash injury or has pain from any injury to the neck or back lasted longer than one week?Yes:See Doctor
No
Self-Care

Self-Care/First Aid

If you suspect a whiplash injury:

  • See your doctor as soon as you can so he or she can assess the extent of injury.
  • For the first 24 hours, apply ice packs to the injured area for up to 20 minutes an hour.
    • To make an ice pack, wrap ice in a face towel or cloth.
  • After 24 hours, use ice packs or heat to relieve the pain.
    • Taking a hot shower for 20 minutes a few times a day is a good source of heat to the neck.
    • Use a hot water bottle, heating pad (set on low), or heat lamp, directed to the neck for 10 minutes several times a day. (Use caution not to burn the skin.)
  • Use a cervical pillow or a small rolled towel positioned behind your neck instead of a regular pillow.
  • Wrap a folded towel around the neck to help hold the head in one position during the night.
  • If you arm or hand is numb, buy or rent a cervical-traction device. Ask your doctor how to use it.
  • Take aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium for minor pain. [Note: Do not give aspirin or any medication that has salicylates to anyone 19 years of age or younger unless a doctor tells you to.]
  • Get plenty of rest.
 Comments Add your comment 

 About The Author
 
 From Our Friends
 

Home       Wellness       Health A-Z       Alternative Therapies       Find a Practitioner       Wellness Inventory
Healthy Kitchen       Healthy Woman       Healthy Man       Healthy Child       Healthy Aging       Wellness Center       Nutrition Center       Fitness Center
Stevia      Discount Lab Tests      First Aid      Global Health Calendar      Healthy Products       Privacy Policy     Contact Us
Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Are you ready to embark on a personal wellness journey with our whole person approach?
Learn More/Subscribe
Are you looking to create or enhance a culture of wellness in your organization?
Learn More
Do you want to become a wellness coach?
Learn More
Free Webinar