Study objective: To determine the effects of standard spinal immobilization on a group of healthy volunteers with respect to induced pain and discomfort.
Design: Prospective study.
Setting: University teaching hospital.
Type of participants: Twenty-one healthy volunteers with no history of back disease.
Interventions: Subjects were placed in standard backboard immobilization for a 30-minute period. Number and severity of immediate and delayed symptoms were determined.
Measurements and main results: One hundred percent of subjects developed pain within the immediate observation period. Occipital headache and sacral, lumbar, and mandibular pain were the most frequent symptoms. Fifty-five percent of subjects graded their symptoms as moderate to severe. Twenty-nine percent of subjects developed additional symptoms over the next 48 hours.
Conclusion: Standard spinal immobilization may be a cause of pain in an otherwise healthy subject.