What makes clinicians decide to use spinal immobilisation? A review of the literature


Current practice of spinal immobilisation appears to be based heavily on historical practice rather than scientific precedence. Evidence shows that it is common practice to immobilise patients, yet studies demonstrating the benefit of this is limited. The decision made by the clinician to immobilise a patient is based on fear of reprisal, caution and ritualised practice rather than robust clinical assessment or a definitive criteria. A global, standardised criteria and robust immobilisation method is yet to be established.This article will examine and critically analyse existing literature surrounding patient immobilisation following a suspected or confirmed acute neck injury. In particular, literature on the use of a cervical collar and head blocks and the use of clinician decision tools will be critically analysed.

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