Spinal injury

  • Alternative Names

    Neck injury

    First Aid

    Never move anyone who you think may have a spinal injury, unless it is absolutely necessary. For example, if you need to get the person out of a burning car.)

    Keep the person absolutely still and safe until medical help arrives.

    • Call the local emergency number, such as 911.
    • Hold the person's head and neck in the position in which they were found. DO NOT try to straighten the neck. Do not allow the neck to bend or twist.
    • Do not allow the person to get up and walk unassisted.

    If the person is not alert or responding to you:

    • Check the person's breathing and circulation. If necessary, begin rescue breathing and CPR.
    • DO NOT tilt the head back when doing CPR. Instead, place your fingers on the jaw on each side of the head. Lift the jaw forward.

    Do not roll the person over unless the person is vomiting or choking on blood, or you need to check for breathing. If you need to roll the person over:

    • Two people are needed.
    • One person should be located at the person's head; the other at the person's side.
    • Keep the person's head, neck, and back in line with each other while you roll him or her onto one side.

    Do Not
    • DO NOT bend, twist, or lift the person's head or body.
    • DO NOT attempt to move the person before medical help arrives unless it is absolutely necessary.
    • DO NOT remove a helmet if a spinal injury is suspected.

    Call immediately for emergency medical assistance if

    Call you local emergency number (such as 911) if you think someone has a spinal cord injury. DO NOT move the person unless there is urgent danger.