Neck and spine injuries are very serious injuries that can lead to paralysis and even death. If you are in a first aid situation where the victim has possible neck and/or spine injuries be very carefull. In serious cases the spinal cord could be severed resulting in paralysis. The extent of paralysis will depend upon the height of the spinal injury. The closer to the neck, the more extensive the paralysis.

Signs of neck and/or spinal injury:

  • Check if the victim's head or neck look deformed or in an odd position.
  • Check if the victim is feeling pain in the neck or across the spine.
  • Check if the victim is feeling numbness, tingling or weakness in legs, arms or other body parts. These are a clear sign of spinal injury.
  • Check for paralysis by actually pinching extremities such as finger and toes to check that the victim has feeling in those body parts. Ask the victim to squeeze your hand, move his feet, etec. If the victim is able to perform these operations then there is probably no spinal injury.
  • If there is the slightest chance of spinal injury, take all precautions and assume the worst.


  • Send for medical assistance as soon as possible.
  • Do not move the victim in any way and restrict the victim from moving himself. Even if the victim is in the water, try to stabilize the neck and back without moving the victim. If there is time wait for the medical assistance to arrive and let them take over. If this is not possible immobilize the neck and back using any tools that you might have to your disposal. Keep the head from making any rolling, sideways or up and down movement.
  • Check constantly for vital signs and signs of shock. Keep the victim warm.