Spinal Cord Injury – First Aid

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Overview Of Spinal Cord Injury

  • Injury to the spinal cord is also known as ‘myelopathy
  • It is caused by an injury sustained to the nerve fibers in the spinal cord
  • If this is damaged it can cause problems with flexibility and general movement
    Injury to the spinal cord is also known as 'myelopathy'
    Injury to the spinal cord is also known as ‘myelopathy’
  • In most of the injuries, the spinal cord remains intact
  • Widespread injury results in no movement or any feeling surrounding the injury
  • Partial injury to the spinal cord involves some feeling and a bit of movement below the injury
  • Physical therapy and wheelchairs are usually vital to help victims of spinal cord injuries.

Causes Of Spinal Cord Injury

  • Accidents caused by vehicles
  • Accidents caused by diving
  • Spinal injury resulting in a severe fall
  • Damage sustained to the spinal cord by shots from a gun
  • Disorders like
    a. Spina Bifida
    b. Friedreich’s Ataxia
    c. Polio
    d. Tumor

Symptoms Of Spinal Cord Injury

  • The casualty will start to lose feeling in their limbs
  • There will be a loss of all main functions
  • Casualty’s will wet themselves due to loss of bladder control
  • Sex functions will also be affected
  • Breathing will be affected, particularly the lungs
  • The casualty will be unable to control their heart rate
  • Casualty’s will have problems with their sweat glands
  • There will be chronic pain affecting the spinal cord

Treatment Of Spinal Cord Injuries

Phone for an ambulance as soon as possible for medical assistance. In the meantime:

  • Transfer the casualty, if the surrounding area is not safe
  • Restrain the neck, body and head on either side
  • Movements could displace the vertebra and result in more damage
  • Carry out CPR if you notice that the casualty is not breathing
  • While you are performing CPR do not lean the head back.

Prevention Of Spinal Cord Injuries

  • When driving, make sure you always wear your seat belt
  • There are unique seat belts that you can use for kids and babies
  • Be responsible and don’t drink or drive
  • When swimming, make sure you don’t dive into the shallow end of the pool.

Related Video On Spinal Cord Injuries


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