If you are ever in a situation where someone has a spinal injury and they cannot maintain an open airway, it is important to know how to properly position them in the recovery position. The recovery position is the best way to keep someone’s spine stabilised if they are not able to do so themselves.
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How to perform the recovery position for spinal injuries:
Performing the recovery position solo:
- Make sure the person is lying down on a flat surface. Try to keep the head and spine in a straight line while maintaining an open airway as much as possible.
- Place their closest arm to their side with the uppermost hand at cheek level, and the lower arm bent inward toward their chest.
- Straighten out the closest leg into a comfortable position, then bend the top knee onto that same side.
- Gently roll them onto their side, while still checking to make sure the back is straight and supported.
- Check for breathing by tilting their head up and looking down their chest.
Performing the recovery position with a helper:
- If you have a helper, one of you should still keep the head level and maintain an open airway, while the other rotates the casualty into the recovery posture according to the standard procedure above.
Performing the recovery position with four or more people:
If there are four or more people, the log roll method can be applied.
- While supporting the casualty’s head and neck to maintain an open airway, ask your assistants to gently straighten the victim’s limbs.
- Position two or three individuals on one side to assist the casualty as he is rolled, and two individuals on the other side to help support him or her.
- The team members that are preparing to roll the victim toward them must put their hands in the following arrangements. The person at the feet should place their hands under the far leg. To support the hip, one helper places one hand on top of the other beneath the furthest leg. Both arms and shoulders are supported by the third assistant.
- Instruct the helpers to roll the patient on your signal. Maintain an open airway at all times while keeping the casualty’s head, neck, and spine straight.
- When getting the patient onto their side, support the upper leg to maintain the spine straight. Continue to keep an open airway and keep the head, neck, and spine in a straight line until assistance arrives.
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