During a conversation with my friend, Jon Politis, I learned of a solution to the pain and discomfort caused by spine boards.
It is well acknowledged that immobilization is uncomfortable. Prolonged immobilization causes pain and can make it challenging for hospital personnel to determine if spinal pain is from an injury or from the immobilization.
Two EMS Asst. Chiefs at Colonie EMS, Paul Fink and Ray Hughes III (both of whom I had the pleasure of learning from in my early EMS days), came up with a practical and inexpensive way to reduce this pain--bubble wrap!
This solution is cheap (bought in a large roll it works out to about 10 cents/patient) and effective. I'm guessing if patients were stressed they could calm themselves by popping the bubbles along the edge of the backboard on the way to the hospital.
I wonder why more squads don't do this? I'll bet a manufacturer will come out with a "medical-grade, hypoallergenic, OSHA approved, association-endorsed" product--which will still essentially be 10 cent bubble wrap...and cost $25.00 per disposable piece.
I'll stick with Paul and Ray's bubble wrap. It just makes sense.