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When should a spine board be used?

A spine board should be used whenever there is a suspected injury to the spine. It is most commonly used by Emergency Medical Service (EMS) personnel when treating someone following a severe fall or automobile accident that has caused a possible spine injury. A spine board may also be used by athletic trainers and other sports medicine personnel to remove an athlete with a possible spine injury from the field of play so that they may be transported to a medical facility.

An individual should be placed on a spine board if he/she suffers an injury and has a combination of any of the following: complaints of pain in the area of the spine; numbness and/or tingling in their fingers, toes, arms, or legs; or loss or decreased ability to move their fingers, toes, arms, or legs.

(This answer provided for NATA by David McAllister, MAEd, ATC, LAT.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.