First Aid - Head, Neck and Spine Injury

The skull is a bony structure, and its purpose is protecting the brain from any damage.  If the injury to the head occurs, there is always a risk of brain damage.  Also, it should always be assumed, that if there is a risk of head injury then there is also a risk of spine injury and neck injury.

You should suspect a head, neck or spine injury in case of the following accidents:  

  • Car or motorcycle accident, even minor bump can cause internal head injury  
  • Fall from height  
  • Injury to the head, fight, sporting event, etc.
  • Electrocution

You should suspect a head, neck or spine injury if the symptoms below follow the accident:  

  • Lack of responsiveness or moaning  
  • Vision problems or confusion 
  • Trouble walking or moving  
  • Seizures, Vomiting, or Headache  

Steps for administering First Aid:  

  • As always, make sure the scene is safe for you and the victim(s)  
  • Phone or ask someone to phone 911  
  • Hold the neck and head so it does not move, twist, or bend  
  • Turn the victim only if: *victim is in danger, *if you need to check if the victim is breathing, *if the victim is vomiting          
  • If the victim does not respond, begin CPR

Important: If you must turn, make sure you are holding the head and neck in place to avoid/minimize movement, twisting or bending. Ideally, this requires two rescuers.