Objective: To compare head motions that occur when trained professionals perform the head squeeze (HS) and trap squeeze (TS) C-spine stabilization techniques.
Design: Cross-over design.
Participants: Twelve experienced lead rescuers.
Main Outcome Measures: Peak head motion with respect to initial conditions using inertial measurement units attached to the forehead and trunk of the simulated patient. We compared both HS and TS during lift-and-slide (L&S) and log-roll (LR) placement on spinal board, and agitated patient trying to sit up (AGIT-Sit) or rotate his head (AGIT-Rot). The a priori minimal important difference (MID) was 5 degrees for flexion or extension and 3 degrees for rotation or lateral flexion.
Results: The L&S technique was statistically superior to the LR technique. The only differences to exceed the MID were extension and rotation during LR (HS > TS). In the AGIT-Sit test scenario, differences in motion exceeded MID (HS > TS) for flexion, rotation, and lateral flexion. In the AGIT-Rot scenario, differences in motion exceeded MID for rotation only (HS >TS). There was similar intertrial variability of motion for HS and TS during L&S and LR but significantly more variability with HS compared with TS in the agitated patient.
Conclusions: The L&S is preferable to the LR when possible for minimizing unwanted C-spine motion. There is little overall difference between HS and TS in a cooperative patient. When a patient is confused, the HS is much worse than the TS at minimizing C-spine motion.