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As an Emergency Medical Technician EMT when someone has a spinal injuryadditional movement may cause further damage to the spine EMTs must alwaysimmobilize the patients head and torso in the position found The purpose of an EMT isto prevent further harm to the patient until more professional medical help can beobtained If in doubt about whether a person has received a spinal injury always assumehe or she has A spinal cord injury SCI is very serious because it can mean the loss ofsensation and function in the parts of the body below the site of the injurySCIs are caused in many different ways Some of the most common ways aperson may obtain a SCI are- motor vehicle accidents bullet or stab wound divingaccidents electric shock awkward positioning of the body falls sports injuries such asfootball or diving industrial accidents assault and gunshot wounds Polio Spina Bifidaand Friedreichs Ataxia are some of the frequent diseases that cause SCI SCI may also beknow in other names such as spinal cord compression SCC and spinal cord traumaSCT According to an article in SCIs occur in approximately 12000 to 15000 peopleper year in the US About 10000 of these people are permanently paralyzed and manyof the rest die as a result of their injuries Most spinal cord trauma occurs to younghealthy individuals Males between the ages of 15 and 35 are most commonly affectedThe spinal cord is about 18 inches long and extends from the base of the braindown the middle of the back to about the waist It is composed of 33 bones calledvertebrae 31 pairs of nerves 40 muscles and numerous connecting tendons and ligamentsrunning from the base of the skull to the tailbone Between the vertebrae are fibrouselastic cartilage called discs These absorb shock and keep your spine flexible and cushionThe nerves that lie within the spinal cord are upper motor neurons UMNs and theirfunction is to carry the messages back and forth from the
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