Christopher Reeve, an American actor, is popularly known for his portrayal of fictional superhero Superman. Reeve, who was initially allergic to horses, gained love for horses while filming Anna Karenina, even joining competitions and winning. In the year 1995, Reeve’s horse made a refusal. The actor fell and obtained a cervical spinal injury, damaging his first and second vertebra, which left him paralyzed. He was paralyzed neck down and used a wheelchair for the remainder of his life. He died of cardiac arrest in 2004.
The spinal cord is one of the most important organs of the body. It is in charge of sending information from the brain to the different organs of the body and vice versa. Hence, spinal cord injuries, or myelopathy, are very serious and must be taken with utmost seriousness. Therefore, spinal injuries can lead to loss of physical sensation and mobility. Complete injury pertains to complete loss of sensation and movement below the injury, while incomplete injury pertains to partially preserving sensation and movement below the injury. Know a little about standard first aid training and surely it may help you save a life in the future.
There are many causes for spinal cord injuries, which include bullet or stab wounds, traumatic injury to the face, neck, head, chest or back, intense twisting of the middle body, falling from a great height, and even certain diseases. Some symptoms include unusual positioning of the head, numbness or tingling feeling, weakness, paralysis, shock and loss of consciousness.
Unless it is completely necessary, never move anyone suspected of suffering a spinal injury. Other than that, keep the person completely still and safe until emergency help arrives. Immediately call for emergency medical help. The injured person’s head and neck must remain in the position it was found. There is no reason to straighten the neck. More importantly, the neck should not be allowed to move, nor bending or twisting. Unnecessary movements may dislocate vertebra leading to more complicated injuries. Place heavy towels on both sides of the neck, if possible, to prevent movement. If the injured person is neither alert nor responding, check and monitor for the person’s breathing and circulation. Begin rescue breathing and CPR if essential. The head must not be tilted backwards when doing CPR, rather, position the fingers on the jaw on each side of the head and lift the jaw forward. This is the reason why CPR training is vital.
Unless the injured person is choking on blood or vomiting, do not roll the person to the side. However, if it is a must, two people will be needed to carry out this task. While one is positioned at the person’s head, the other one should be at the person’s side. It is necessary that the injured person’s head, neck and back in line with each other while he/ she is rolled onto one side.
It is absolutely necessary that immediate treatment through be given to persons suspected of sustaining a spinal cord injury. First aid courses teach the people on how to give proper treatment in emergency situations such as these as giving first aid to injured persons can lessen long term effects. People who suffer from spinal cord injuries usually require medicine and rehabilitation therapy for later treatment.