Alternate Names : Neck injury
The spinal cord contains the nerves that carry messages between your brain and body. The cord passes through your neck and back. A spinal cord injury is very serious because it can cause loss of movement (paralysis) below the site of the injury.
Overview & Considerations
When someone has a spinal injury, additional movement may cause further damage to the nerves in the cord and can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.
If you think someone could possibly have a spinal injury, do not move the injured person even a little bit, unless it is absolutely necessary (for example, if you need to get someone out of a burning car).
If you are not sure if a person has a spinal injury, assume that he or she does have one.
- Bullet or stab wound
- Direct trauma to the face, neck, head, chest, or back (for example, a car accident)
- Diving accident
- Electric shock
- Extreme twisting of the middle of the body
- Landing on the head during a sports injury
- Fall from a great height
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Review Date : 7/10/2009
Reviewed By : Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.