A spinal injury is a trauma to the soft tissues of the back of the paravertebral region. The main causes of the occurrence are blows, falling on the back during sports, industrial and domestic injuries. Symptoms are manifested by pain of varying intensity, hematoma, swelling, and limited mobility.

With light injuries, only tissues are affected, and with moderate severity- loss of sensitivity of the limbs is possible. The most dangerous is a contusion of the cervical spine, leading to respiratory arrest. Treatment of bruises is conservative; the appointment determines the severity of injuries, and timely first aid is provided.

What are the causes of spinal injury?

Spinal contusion pathogenesis:

  • Structural scoliosis is a severe deformity of the spinal column in which the lateral curvature of the spine is combined with pathological rotation (rotation) of the spine around its axis.
  • mechanical common injuries – back injury when falling from a height, diving into water, road traffic accidents, household, and sports injuries
  • compression injury during jumping and unsuccessful landing on the feet
  • blows, excessive pressure on the lumbar region, one or both sides of the back, from the side
  • congenital anatomical features
  • the presence of degenerative changes that cause deformation of the spinal column.

Also, the causes of  spinal injury can be:

More than half of spinal injuries are the result of car accidents.

Also, the reasons may be:

  • falling from a height
  • head bangs when diving, falling
  • sports injuries
  • natural disasters, disasters
  • lifting weights
  • industrial injuries

Moreover, more often than others, the thoracic-lumbar spine (in the transition zone) is damaged in 50% of cases, less often, the cervical. Children and the elderly are more likely to be traumatized by this type. Among the adult population, spinal injuries are usually caused by young people leading an active lifestyle.

Symptoms of  spinal injury

If there is a suspicion of an injury to the stalker’s posture, familiarize yourself with the main symptoms of a spinal injury, first of all: acute pain of a specific localization in the area of ​​injury. Neurological symptoms may be present – neck pain, streak pain in an arm or leg, tremors, limb immobilization.

With the injury of the spine of any nature, edema of the tissues surrounding the spinal cord occurs, which leads to its compression. In this case, symptoms characteristic of spinal cord injuries appear.

  • It is characterized by pain in the neck, head. There may be disturbances in breathing, heart rhythm, limb sensitivity, weakness. With severe injuries, paralysis, spastic muscle contraction, and unilateral hypertonicity occur.
  • It manifests itself as pain in the back of the chest wall, which can be given to the heart. The sensitivity of the hands, less often the legs, is impaired. Painful sensations intensify with inhalation and exhalation.
  • It leads to disruption of the genitourinary system, and urological disorders appear. The pain is localized in the lower back. The sensitivity of the lower extremities, motor functions are impaired.

Sometimes there are simultaneous injuries in different parts of the spinal column with complex mixed symptoms.

So, injury of the lumbar and sacral spine is expressed by the following symptoms:

So, injury of the lumbar and sacral spine is expressed by the following symptoms
  • pain, fever in the area of ​​injury
  • limitation of mobility, sometimes deformity of the spine
  • reflex muscle contraction
  • swelling, bruising, wounds, or abrasions of tissues

In moderate and severe forms, the internal organs of the injured area suffer. For example, a contusion of the sacral spine (spine) during a fall is characterized by damage to the pelvic organs. Basically, the genitourinary and excretory systems suffer, and there are problems with urination, defecation.

Also, disorders of the motor system develop, the sensitivity of the lower extremities decreases due to damage to the nerve fibers. Similar symptoms are shown by an injury of the lumbar spine.

Development stages injury of the spine

Traumatologists have identified three degrees of severity of the condition:

Light or the first, as a result of which the skin, subcutaneous muscles, and fatty tissue suffer – purely superficial tissues. There are no manifestations of neurology.

The second (moderate) is characterized by symptoms of spinal cord concussion – a reversible impairment of conduction, sensitivity, and decreased reflexes.

Severe contusion of the spine, accompanied by a contusion of the spinal cord – there are hemorrhages, foci of necrosis of the spinal tissues, dysfunction, disorders of sensitivity and paresis, hypo- or hyperreflexia.

In moderate and severe forms, the internal organs of the injured area suffer. For example, a contusion of the sacral spine (spine) during a fall is characterized by damage to the pelvic organs. Basically, the genitourinary and excretory systems suffer, and there are problems with urination, defecation.

With the injury of the thoracic region, breathing difficulties are possible. Stage three bruises lead to respiratory arrest and death. The prognosis directly depends on the timely provision of medical assistance to the victim.

How is spinal injury diagnosed?

Providing first aid for this type of injury requires special knowledge and extreme caution. It is forbidden to move the patient unless absolutely necessary. Any transportation of such a patient is carried out in a horizontal position on a solid stretcher or shield.

Mild spinal injuries can be treated on an outpatient basis. The patient is prescribed bed rest, nootropic and blood circulation-improving drugs, and later exercise therapy and physiotherapy. This recovery requires constant medical supervision.

Treatment of uncomplicated moderate and severe injuries is carried out in a trauma hospital under the supervision of a neuropathologist, meteorologist, and other narrow specialists as required. Treatment of injuries complicated by impaired conduction of the spinal cord and roots only takes place in a specialized neurosurgical department. It takes a long time and requires significant material resources. There are two directions of treatment – conservative and surgical.

Diagnostics of spinal injury

Diagnostics of spinal injury

The clinical picture allows you to establish the primary diagnosis. Clarification of the diagnosis requires examination in a clinical setting. For this, modern diagnostic equipment is used. As reliable diagnostic methods for spinal injuries, X-ray, MRI, and instrumental examination methods are prescribed. Lumbar puncture, myelography, and vertebral angiography supplement the data for assessing the severity of the injury.

How is spinal injury diagnosed?

Diagnostics is based on the following steps:

  • physical examination
  • X-ray or CT scan to check for possible displacement or fracture
  • MRI to detect damage to internal organs, spinal cord, localization of hemorrhages or necrotic foci

Which doctor should I visit?

After receiving spinal injury, they turn to a traumatologist; in case of severe pain syndrome, a neurologist’s consultation will be required. Further treatment and rehabilitation are carried out by a physiotherapist, masseur, and exercise therapy doctor.

How is spinal injury treated?

Treatment of contusion of the cervical, lumbar and thoracic spine is predominantly conservative. It includes a complex consisting of drug therapy and physiotherapy procedures. A prerequisite is the immobilization of the spine, wearing special fixing collars and corsets.

Pain relievers and anti-inflammatory reparative agents are used. Correction of microcirculation disorders and relief of spastic syndrome with paresis are shown.

From physiotherapeutic practices, therapeutic massage, UHF, magnetotherapy, electrophoresis with a compress of drugs, ultrasound, and laser treatment are used.

Rehabilitation after spinal injury

The specialists of the CMRI clinics have developed effective methods for the rehabilitation of patients after spinal injuries using physiotherapy, therapeutic massage, classes on the Reafit, Aidflex MFTR medical simulators, and physical therapy programs. The complex is aimed at restoring motor function, eliminating pain, preventing complications.

Consequences of spinal injury

The consequences of traumatic spinal injuries are expressed through:

  • decreased support function of the damaged spine
  • compression injuries, muscle damage, spinal cord
  • impaired blood supply, nerve conduction
  • the development of osteochondrosis


Preventive measures include avoiding traumatic situations, following the rules of recreation on the water, and observing road safety. With a healed spinal injury, moderate physical activity is required, and a decrease in stress.