Strenuous Back Massage Can Cause Spinal Injury

HealthDay News — Strenuous back massage can cause traumatic spinal subdural hematoma, according to a case study published in Spine.

Praful Maste, MD, from Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital in Anyang-si, South Korea, and colleagues describe a case of a patient diagnosed with traumatic spinal subdural hematoma after vigorous back massage. The patient, a 41-year-old male, was brought to the hospital with severe back pain, motor and sensory impairments of the bilateral lower extremities, and urinary dysfunction. An acute subdural hematoma was revealed in the thoracolumbar region on magnetic resonance imaging.

The researchers found that complete motor power recovery with only minor sensory deficit was achieved after two weeks of hospitalization. No residual neurological deficits were seen at a follow-up of more than 12 months.

“Spinal subdural hematoma secondary to physical trauma is quite rare,” the authors write. “This case brings new information that traumatic spinal subdural hematoma can be caused by violent massage.”


  1. Maste, P et al. Spine. 2014;doi:10.1097/BRS.0000000000000629.