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Spinal Cord Injury - First Aid and Emergency Treatment Guide

Last Updated on Jun 20, 2011
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Overview

  • Spinal cord injury is otherwise called 'myelopathy' 
  • It results in an injury to the nerve fibers in the cord 
  • Can cause loss of physical sensation and mobility 
  • Spinal cord remains intact in most of the injuries 
  • Complete injury causes no movement/sensation below injury 
  • Incomplete injury-retains some movement/sensation below injury 
  • Physical therapy, ventilators, wheel chairs often required 
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Causes

  • Automobile accidents 
  • Diving accidents
  • Falls 
  • Shot by a gun 
  • Conditions like
    1. Polio
    2. Tumor
    3. Spina Bifida
    4. Friedreich's Ataxia

Symptoms

  • Loss of sensation 
  • Loss of motor functions 
  • Loss of bowel/bladder functions 
  • Sexual function can get affected 
  • Loss of involuntary functions, like breathing 
  • Inability to control rate of heart beat 
  • Inability to sweat 
  • Chronic pain 
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Treatment

Seek medical help or call for an ambulance as soon as possible. Meanwhile-

  • Move the person, if surrounding is not safe 
  • Immobilize the head, neck and body on both sides
  • Movements may dislocate vertebra and cause further injury 
  • If there is no sign of breathing, perform CPR 
  • Do not tilt head backward during CPR 
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Prevention

  • Always wear a seat belt while driving 
  • Use special seat belts for children and babies
  • Do not drink and drive 
  • Do not dive into a shallow pool area
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Comments

vijayphysio, India

it is knowledgeable as well as attractive.

dr.anusha, India

WHILE MOVING PERSON WITH SUSPECTED SPINAL CORD INJURY, THE FOLLOWING SHOULD BE KEPT IN MIND:
1. LOG OF WOOD METHOD SHOULD BE FOLLOWED.
2. MINIMUM THREE TO FIVE HELPERS SHOULD BE INVOLVED WHILE DOING THIS.
3. ONE HOLDING AT BACK OF NECK, ONE BEHIND CHEST AND THIRD AT THE LOW BACK AND LEGS.
4. ALL FIVE SHOULD COORDINATE IN SUCH A WAY THAT THE WHOLE BODY OF PERSON IS LIFTED IN TOTO WITHOUT CREATING ANY MOVEMENT OF SPINE.(LIKE LIFTING LOG OF WOOD)
5. THE ABOVE CAN BE DON BY KEEPING ONE PERSON AMONG FIVE AS LEADER AND HE SHOULD COUNT NUMBERS. THE MOMENT LEADER FINISHES COUNTING THREE ALL HELPERS SHOULD LIFT THE VICTIM AT A TIME.
DR.ANUSHA

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