NCLEX RN Practice Question # 482

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Spinal cord injury

  • Immobilize the client on a spinal backboard, with the head in a neutral position, to prevent incomplete injury from becoming complete.
  • Prevent head flexion, rotation, or extension; the head is immobilized with a firm, padded cervical collar.
  • Logroll the client; no part of the body should be twisted or turned, nor should the client be allowed to assume a sitting position.


Spinal cord compression


  • Spinal cord compression occurs when a tumor directly enters the spinal cord or when the vertebral column collapses from tumor entry, impinging on the spinal cord.
  • Spinal cord compression causes back pain, usually before neurological deficits occur.
  • Neurological deficits relate to the spinal level of compression and include numbness, tingling, loss of urethral, vaginal, and rectal sensation, and muscle weakness.


  • Early recognition: Assess for back pain and neurological deficits.
  • Administer high-dose corticosteroids to reduce swelling around the spinal cord and relieve symptoms.
  • Prepare the client for immediate radiation and/or chemotherapy to reduce the size of the tumor and relieve compression.
  • Surgery may need to be performed to remove the tumor and relieve the pressure on the spinal cord.
  • Instruct the client in the use of neck or back braces if they are prescribed.

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