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Back Bruise (Contusion)

You have a bruise (contusion) to your back. There is swelling and some bleeding under the skin. The skin may be purplish. You may have muscle aching and stiffness in the area of the bruise. There are no broken bones.

Bruises heal on their own, without further treatment. But pain and skin discoloration may take weeks to months to go away. 

Home care

  • Rest. Don't do any heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, or any activity that causes pain.

  • Ice the area to reduce pain and swelling. To make an ice pack, put ice cubes in a plastic bag that seals at the top. Wrap the bag in a clean, thin towel. Don't put ice or an ice pack directly on your skin. Ice the injured area for 20 minutes every 1 to 2 hours the first day. Continue with ice packs 3 to 4 times a day for the next 2 days, then as needed to ease pain and swelling.

  • Take any prescribed pain medicine. If none was prescribed, take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen to control pain, unless you have other health conditions that prevent taking these medicines. If you are unsure about medicines, ask your healthcare provider before you leave the hospital.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised. Call if you are not better in 1 to 2 weeks.

When to get medical advice

Call your healthcare provider for any of the following:

  • New or worsening pain

  • Increased swelling around the bruise

  • Pain spreading to one or both legs

  • Weakness or numbness in one or both legs 

  • Loss of bowel or bladder control

  • Numbness in the groin or genital area

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38ºC) or higher, chills, or as directed by your healthcare provider

Online Medical Reviewer: Eric Perez MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Kenny Turley PA-C
Online Medical Reviewer: Maryann Foley RN BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2020
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