The Assessment Criteria To Rule Out An Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury

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The Assessment Criteria To Rule Out An Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury


A patient is brought to the ER from a motor vehicle accident with a suspected whiplash injury. He is complaining of neck pain and is currently immobilized with a cervical collar. Identify the assessment and treatment criteria to rule out an incomplete spinal cord injury. Furthermore, highlight criteria that would indicate progression of the problem.

Expert Answer

This solution was written by a subject matter expert. It’s designed to help students like you learn core concepts The Assessment Criteria To Rule Out An Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury


Step 1/3
A patient has met with an accident and is suspected to have whiplash injury, is brought to emergency room or accident and emergency department:
First we will Identify the assessment criteria to rule out an incomplete spinal cord injury:
1. Neurological assessment : A neurological assessment will be performed to check for any signs of incomplete spinal cord injury. It will include examoning the patient for any sensory or motor deficits in the upper and lower extremities, and will examine the changes in the reflexes.
2. Imaging : X-ray for the cervical spine or ct scan (computed tomography) will be obtained to assess the fractures or dislocations in the cervical spine which may suggest an incomplete spinal cord injury.
3. Spinal stability : The spinal stability of patient will be evaluated to determine the risk of further injury. It involves assessing the abnormal movement or instability of the cervical spine.
A neurological assessment is important to check for any potential damage to the spinal cord that may have resulted from the whiplash injury. Imaging is very much important procedure because it helps to identify any physical damage to the cervical spine such as fracture or any dislocation in the cervical spine. Evaluation of spinal stability is also important because it helps to prevent any further damage to the spinal cord.
Step 2/3
After the assessment, we will go for the treatment criteria which is given below:
1. Immobilization : The patient’s cervical spine will be immobilized with a cervical collar or any device to prevent further damage to the spinal cord.
2. Pain management : The administering of pain medication to the patient will help to reduce the discomfort and accordingly will improve the comfort level of the patient.
Immobilization is essential to prevent any further movement and injury to the cervical spine, which may cause more damage to the spinal cord and worsen the condition. Pain management helps to reduce muscle spasms or strains, and also improve the comfort of the patient by relieving the pain.
Step 3/3
In this step we will explain the criteria that would indicate progression of the problem
1. Increasing pain : If the pain of the patient increases more and becomes severe with time, it indicates the worsening of injury.
2. Neurological changes : New and worsening changes in the neurological function such as sensation, reflexes or motor function will be carefully monitored with time.
3. Difficulty in breathing or speaking : The difficulty in breathing or speaking indicates compression of the spinal cord, which may be life-threatening and it requires emergency or urgent medical care and attention.
Increasing pain indicates further damage to cervical spine and it required urgent intervention. Neurological changes also tell us about the damage in spinal cord and nerve roots, and also requires immediate medication. Difficulty in breathing and speaking may lead to serious complications and should require urgent medical attention.
Final answer
In summary, a patient with a suspected whiplash injury caused by motor vehicle accident will first undergo for assessment to rule out an incomplete spinal cord injury. This involves neurological assessment, imaging and spianl stability evaluation. After this, the treatment criteria is given which involves immobilization with a cervical collar and pain management. At last, any signs of progression of the injury, such as increasing pain, difficulty in breathing, and new or worsening neurological deficits should be given urgent attention and intervention The Assessment Criteria To Rule Out An Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury

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