First aid for bruised spine

A spinal bruise is a traumatic lesion of the soft tissues in the spine and surrounding areas. This violation is the result of a blow to the back or a fall and is accompanied by pain and a decrease in motor activity. If you do not provide assistance to the victim in time, there is a risk of dangerous consequences.

The essence of the violation

This term refers to trauma, which is accompanied by damage to the spine. The severity of the violation is determined by the cause of the damage. A bruise means trauma in which the spinal cord and vertebrae maintain integrity, and the conductivity of the nerve trunk is impaired.

Often the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid suffers. A back injury causes foci of necrosis and damage to nearby soft tissues.

Typically, these injuries are people of young and middle age. In the elderly, this violation occurs very rarely, which is associated with an insufficiently active lifestyle.


The following factors lead to the appearance of a bruise:

  • Falling on your back for various reasons – it can be a swoon, getting on a slippery surface, engaging in extreme sports, etc .;
  • Fall from high surfaces – a table, chair, roof;
  • A strong blow to the bottom of the reservoir at the time of diving;
  • Car crashes;
  • >

The severity and characteristics of spinal lesions are determined by many factors. These include the following:

  • Drop height;
  • Weight of a person;
  • Impact intensity;
  • Age category;
  • The condition of the musculoskeletal system and ligaments.

Most often, lesions are localized in the upper lumbar region, neck and lower thoracic region of the spine. Approximately 50% of bruises occur in these areas.


Bruises can have varying degrees of severity. By this criterion, the following types of injury are distinguished:

  1. Slight bruise. In this situation, only superficial tissues are affected – subcutaneous tissue, muscles, dermis. There are no neurological abnormalities.
  2. A bruise of moderate severity. This condition is characterized by a concussion of the spinal cord. Abnormal changes are associated with severe damage to nerve fibers, as a result of which their conductivity is lost. This condition is characterized by transient neurological abnormalities that disappear in a few hours or are present for 2-3 weeks.
  3. Severe bruise. This lesion is often supplemented by damage to the spinal cord. In addition to functional abnormalities, pathomorphological changes are observed. This group includes the appearance of necrotic foci and hemorrhage in the spinal cord. Neurological manifestations are more pronounced than in case of concussion. Recovery takes 3-5 weeks. There is a risk of residual effects. These include areflexia, loss of sensation, paresis.

clinical picture

Symptoms of spinal injury are determined by the location of the traumatic injury. With damage to the cervical spine, there is a risk of respiratory failure, nausea, fainting. Dizziness, pressure fluctuations, pains in the back of the head and around the neck can also be observed. Sometimes a bruise of the cervical spine provokes dry skin, narrowing of the pupils, problems with muscle reflexes.

With damage to the chest, there is a risk of pain in the affected area and discomfort in other organs of the chest area. In this case, the heart is most often affected. In addition, such an injury can provoke weakness in the muscle tissue of the legs or the entire body, erectile dysfunction, problems with urination and defecation.

Often there are problems with reflexes of muscles and tendons, girdle pain appears, coordination of movements suffers. In the area below the contusion zone, a loss of sensitivity is observed. Often such an injury provokes numbness of the lower extremities.

A bruise of the lumbar spine is accompanied by pain in the lower back and buttocks. Often there are problems in the functioning of the genitourinary organs, pain in the legs, loss of tendon reflexes. Often such an injury provokes general weakness, paresis, paralysis. A person may have a disturbed gait, lameness appears.

When the sacrum or tailbone is affected, problems arise in the functioning of the genitourinary organs, leg pain, impaired motor activity. A person may experience pain while sitting.

Separately, it should be noted compression contusion of the spine. This condition is characterized by flattening of the vertebra. Often, compression is localized in the region of the mid-thoracic spine. Such a defeat is associated with increased axial loads, falls from a great height, improper landing during jumps.

Compression of the spinal cord during stroke is associated with internal hematomas. Also, the cause may be irritation of the vertebral body with bone fragments. Such damage is very dangerous, since symptoms of compression can appear only after a few weeks. These include aching pain in the affected area, the appearance of radicular syndrome.

If treatment is not started in time, the process becomes acute. It is important to monitor your well-being and immediately consult a doctor if you lose sensitivity in your hands, weakness in muscle tissue, increased urge to defecate or urinate, or problems with an erection.

A severe bruise of the spine often provokes irreversible changes. These include the following:

  • Hemorrhage;
  • The death of some parts of the spine;
  • Damage to the cerebrospinal substance.

Such a bruise has pronounced manifestations and provokes dangerous consequences. These include acute blockage of blood vessels, the formation of infectious foci, the appearance of urethral sepsis, the development of traumatic bronchopneumonia. There is also a risk of bedsores and joint movement problems.

Methods of diagnosis

To identify a bruised spine, the doctor must conduct a series of studies. This category includes the following:

  1. Analysis of the symptoms of traumatic injury.
  2. Inspection and feeling of the affected area. During such procedures, the doctor has the opportunity to detect noticeable changes and feel the entire back area. This will determine the localization of the affected area.
  3. General tests of urine and blood. With their help, it is possible to determine significant changes in the body. Thanks to such studies, it is possible to >


In case of traumatic damage to the spine, you need to contact a vertebrologist. If this is not possible, you should consult a neurologist. The effectiveness of therapy directly depends on the timeliness of providing first aid to the victim.

Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologistShishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews.

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First aid

The key task at this stage is the immobilization of the affected spine. This will help to avoid aggravating the condition of the victim.

To do this, follow these steps:

    Lay the victim on his back. It must be placed on a firm and even surface. It is strictly forb >

Operative intervention

After the patient enters a medical facility, the doctor must evaluate the patient’s condition. If there is a displacement of the vertebrae, there is a need for their urgent traction and reposition. Then the affected part of the spine is immobilized. For this purpose, a special corset and collar are used.

Sometimes it is not possible to do without surgical intervention, which helps to eliminate the effects of damage and normalize blood circulation in the affected area. In addition, surgery is needed if conservative methods do not produce results for a long time.

Medication and physiotherapy

Upon receipt of such damage, the patient is prescribed analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs. This group includes nurofen, ketanes, indomethacin. Anticoagulants can be used to minimize the risk of blood clots. These include aspirin.

To cope with the swelling of tissues and achieve a local analgesic effect, ointments and gels are used. They include dip religion, diclofenac.

In difficult situations, resuscitation measures are indicated that contribute to the normalization of pressure, respiratory functions, and heart function.

A few weeks after the injury, physiotherapy may be prescribed to the patient. These include the following:

  • Water massage;
  • Reflexology;
  • Underwater pneumatic massage;
  • Massotherapy;
  • Physiotherapy.

Folk remedies

Such recipes only help with soft tissue lesions. They do not allow to cope with a bruised spine.

To eliminate puffiness in the area of ​​impact, you can use this tool: take 1 large spoonful of water, vinegar and sunflower oil. Soak the cotton cloth with the resulting product and attach to the affected area. Put compression paper on top and tie a warm scarf.

Also, fresh leaves of burdock, wormwood, cabbage, plantain help to cope with puffiness and inflammatory changes.

Possible complications

If you do not treat a bruised vertebra in time, there is a threat of dangerous consequences. These include the following:

  • Violation of urination and defecation;
  • Loss of full-fledged motor activity;
  • Erectile dysfunction;
  • Decreased sensitivity of the skin;
  • Coma.


The forecast is influenced by a number of factors:

  • A section of the spine that has been injured;
  • Age category and characteristics of the patient’s body;
  • Timeliness and correctness of medical care.

In simple cases, the patient can recover in a few months. With moderate bruises, this period takes from 1 year to several years. Complex concussions can leave consequences for life. This is due to incomplete restoration of nerve fibers, which leads to the loss of some functions.


To avoid damage to the spine, you must follow the rules of the road, adhere to safety precautions at work. It is also useful to play sports, which will help strengthen back muscles and strengthen the body’s defenses.

Bruising of the spine is a dangerous disorder that can lead to negative health consequences. To cope with the pathology and avoid complications, it is important to strictly adhere to all the doctor’s recommendations.

Shishkevich Vladimir

Shishkevich Vladimir, orthopedic and traumatologist, project editor-in-chief ExpertNews. It specializes in the treatment of diseases in orthopedic, traumatological, vertebrological profiles