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The title of the correspondence in a medical journal was not particularly dramatic or catchy. The Evidence for Spinal Immobilization: An Estimate of the Magnitude of the Treatment Benefit, Annals of Emergency Medicine, Volume 48 • Number 2 • August 2006 But, it attracted my attention because of the number of spinal cord injuries experienced by my clients over the years. And, because of some personal experiences.

Apparently, there is an ongoing debate in the medical literature over the benefits of immobilizing the spine after a traumatic event, such as an motor vehicle crash. Some authors are questioning the benefit of doing this on a regular basis at accident scenes. There are no really comprehensive studies of the matter.

The letter published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine contained the following observations:

A systematic review of the MEDLINE literature from 1966 to January 2006 Week 2 allows an estimate of the potential benefit of spinal immobilization. Multiple reports show that approximately 5% of trauma patients have a spinal fracture; only 20% of this 5% have a cord injury. There are 10 independent reports of secondary deterioration without spinal immobilization, many “suddenly” and temporally related to “inappropriate management” while not immobilized.

Three of these give precise data for calculations: up to 3% to 16% of these cord-injured groups had deterioration out-of-hospital.

I vote to continue immobilization of the spine. What’s your vote?

The title of the correspondence in a medical journal was not particularly dramatic or catchy. The Evidence for Spinal Immobilization: An Estimate of the Magnitude of the Treatment Benefit, Annals of Emergency Medicine, Volume 48 • Number 2 • August 2006 But, it attracted my attention because of the number of spinal cord injuries experienced by my clients over the years. And, because of some personal experiences.

Apparently, there is an ongoing debate in the medical literature over the benefits of immobilizing the spine after a traumatic event, such as an motor vehicle crash. Some authors are questioning the benefit of doing this on a regular basis at accident scenes. There are no really comprehensive studies of the matter.

The letter published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine contained the following observations:

A systematic review of the MEDLINE literature from 1966 to January 2006 Week 2 allows an estimate of the potential benefit of spinal immobilization. Multiple reports show that approximately 5% of trauma patients have a spinal fracture; only 20% of this 5% have a cord injury. There are 10 independent reports of secondary deterioration without spinal immobilization, many “suddenly” and temporally related to “inappropriate management” while not immobilized.

Three of these give precise data for calculations: up to 3% to 16% of these cord-injured groups had deterioration out-of-hospital.

I vote to continue immobilization of the spine. What’s your vote?

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