A spinal bruise is also referred to as a spinal contusion. Bruising occurs when blood vessels or capillaries are injured enough to leak blood into the nearby area. If this type of injury affects your spinal cord, you could experience an assortment of potentially serious symptoms, especially if nerves that send signals from your spinal cord to your brain are affected. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at signs that suggest you may have a serious spine bruise.
If a spinal bruise is affecting nerves around your spinal cord, you may notice numbness or tingling sensations that affect certain extremities. The area that’s affected will depend on the location of the contusion. For example, if the bruise is in the middle or upper back area, you might have numbness or tingling sensations in your arms or shoulders. The thighs, hips, buttocks, or legs can be affected by a spinal bruise in the lower (lumbar) spine area. If the nerves are severely compressed, treatment may require a surgical procedure such as a lumbar foraminotomy. Los Angeles patients who have persistent numbness or tingling should see a spine specialist as soon as possible.
When a spinal bruise is more extensive, signs and symptoms can be more disruptive to daily life. For some people, this means experiencing symptoms that feel like electric shocks and/or burning sensations in nearby extremities.
Symptoms related to a serious spine bruise can be similar to those often experienced with spinal cord trauma. Symptoms of this nature might include:
• Loss of sensation or movement
• Difficulty breathing
• Painful muscle contractions (muscle spasticity)
• Increased heart rate and/or irregular blood pressure
• Issues with bladder or bowel functions
• Speech-related changes
• Difficulty with attention span and/or memory problems
In some cases, a spinal cord injury (SCI) may be complicated by spinal bruising. If this happens, it can be difficult to determine which symptoms are related to the SCI and which ones may be due to the spinal contusion. It could take several days or weeks to determine which symptoms are temporary and related to bruising and which are more permanent in nature because of injury to the spinal cord itself.
MRI scans are often performed to determine the full extent of the injury and identify which nerves are affected. Such testing can also confirm or rule out other possible issues with your spinal cord. Treatment may involve:
• Medication to reduce swelling
• Physical therapy to promote optimal healing and recovery
• Surgery to relieve nerve pressure or correct issues with the spinal cord
Car accidents and contact sports injuries are two of the more common reasons spinal bruising occurs. You may be able to reduce your risk of sustaining a spinal bruise or spinal cord injury by wearing your seat belt properly and using protective gear when playing sports involving direct body contact. If you do sustain a hard impact to your spine, err on the side of caution and see your doctor or a Los Angeles spine surgeon right away.
If you’ve had an injury that’s caused any of the symptoms listed above, don’t wait to see a spine specialist for prompt diagnosis and treatment. Call The Spine Institute today for an appointment with one of our pioneering physicians, who will be able to make a personalized diagnosis and devise a customized treatment plan to alleviate your pain. Reach out to one of our friendly representatives today at 310-828-7757 to schedule your in-person consultation.