Atraumatic immobilisation of spinal area is a series of techniques put in place to transfer patients affected by cervical and/or spinal traumas on a rigid surface in order to avoid a worsening of their already negative health conditions. Spinal immobilisation of traumatised patient is one of the main tasks ruled by rescue teams; both partial (through cervical collars) and total (through spine boards, vacuum mattresses, pickup stretchers). The right immobilisation is reached using different devices, because each one has a specific function ensuring rigidity also in case of strong external stresses.
Experts agree that first aid immobilisation of traumatised patient is a compulsory technique to avoid secondary damages caused by the movement of already injured areas. In fact during transport patient is subject to a generic transmission of kinetic energy. So a wrong immobilisation worsens patient’s health conditions; this situation is called “transport pathology“.
During cervical area’s first aid immobilisation, once stabilised the necessity to use cervical collar and/or extrication devices, it’s necessary to keep under control other problems like

  • Somatic typology (standard vs stout)
  • Valuation of patients’ consciousness
  • Injuries’ type
  • Place that allows or not to use first aid specific devices
  • Number of rescuers
  • Rescuers’ experience
  • Transport time
  • Comfort of the used device

The characteristics of a sure and efficient immobilisation device allow to

  • Minimise patient’s movement
  • Use it also by only two rescuers
  • Be easy to use
  • Ensure an efficient immobilisation combined to patient’s comfort

Immobilisation of traumatised patient is one of the most frequent first aid interventions. The use of an immobilisation device is supported by experts but immobilisation must be correctly done and adapted at each specific rescue intervention. It’s important to underline that an incorrect immobilisation not only don’t diminish the outbreak of secondary damages, but can be the main cause of their appearance.