Objective: Prehospital spinal motion restriction as a prevention technique for secondary neurological injury is a key principle in emergency medicine. Our aim was to evaluate the effectiveness of different cervical spinal cord motion restriction techniques of awake and cooperative healthy volunteers during extrication.Methods: Twenty-three healthy volunteers were asked to exit a car (unassisted) with a rigid cervical collar (CC condition) or without it (autonomous exit: AE; instructed exit: IE); they were also extricated by two rescuers after setting a rigid cervical collar and by using a long spine board (CC + XT condition). Eight 3D infrared cameras were calibrated around the vehicle to measure cervical spine angle, angular speed and acceleration in the sagittal plane. Surface wireless EMG electrodes were used to record superior trapezius, erector spinae and rectus abdominis muscle activity. All measures were recorded during two phases: device positioning (maneuver) and vehicle exiting.Results: The lowest range of motion was observed in CC during maneuver and exit (about 17°), the greatest in AE and IE (about 45°); when the extrication device was utilized along with the cervical collar (CC + XT) an increase, rather than a further decrease, in the range of motion was observed (about 25° during maneuver and exit). Larger values of angular speed and acceleration were observed in CC + XT when compared to CC, both during maneuver and exit (P < 0.001). The lowest EMG activity was observed during maneuver in CC and CC + XT; during exit a lower EMG activity was observed in CC + XT compared to CC (P < 0.001). Thus, when an extrication device is utilized (CC + XT), a lower active control of the cervical spine region is associated with faster and more brisk movements of the cervical spine compared to CC alone.Conclusions: Our findings support the idea that spinal motion restriction via rigid cervical collar of awake and cooperative trauma patients is effective in reducing cervical spine motion in the sagittal plane during vehicle extrication.
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