Spinal Cord Hemorrhage Follow-up

  • Author: Richard M Zweifler, MD; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
Updated: Mar 11, 2014

Further Outpatient Care

After the patient is discharged from inpatient care, outpatient therapies continue. Medical treatments are frequently necessary for the late complications of spinal cord hemorrhage, especially spasticity, pain, and neurogenic bladder.


Further Inpatient Care

Once the patient with spinal cord hemorrhage has been treated, whether medically, via interventional radiology, or surgery, rehabilitation can begin. Usually this is accomplished in an inpatient rehabilitation setting.


Inpatient & Outpatient Medications

See the list below:

  • Spasticity secondary to spinal cord hemorrhage is treated in similar ways to spasticity secondary to spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis. Drugs include baclofen, tizanidine, and diazepam.
  • Pain following spinal cord hemorrhage, other than pain directly secondary to spasticity, is treated similarly to neuropathic pain syndromes such as those in multiple sclerosis. Drugs include gabapentin, amitriptyline, and carbamazepine.
  • Bladder complications of spinal cord hemorrhage are similar to those of spinal cord injury or multiple sclerosis. Consultation with a urologist may be necessary. Drug therapy with anticholinergic agents may be beneficial for reflex uninhibited bladder (ie, failure to store), and intermittent self-catheterization is essential in patients with inability to void (ie, failure to empty).


Avoid lumbar puncture in patients with hematologic disorders or in those treated with prescribed anticoagulants.



Prognosis varies but generally is correlated with severity of deficit. A more favorable outcome is seen in patients receiving prompt diagnosis and surgical intervention.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Richard M Zweifler, MD Chief of Neurosciences, Sentara Healthcare; Professor and Chair of Neurology, Eastern Virginia Medical School

Richard M Zweifler, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Neurology, American Stroke Association, Stroke Council of the American Heart Association, American Heart Association, American Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Howard S Kirshner, MD Professor of Neurology, Psychiatry and Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vice Chairman, Department of Neurology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine; Director, Vanderbilt Stroke Center; Program Director, Stroke Service, Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital; Consulting Staff, Department of Neurology, Nashville Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Howard S Kirshner, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Neurological Association, American Society of Neurorehabilitation, American Academy of Neurology, American Heart Association, American Medical Association, National Stroke Association, Phi Beta Kappa, Tennessee Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Helmi L Lutsep, MD Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Neurology, Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine; Associate Director, OHSU Stroke Center

Helmi L Lutsep, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Neurology, American Stroke Association

Disclosure: Medscape Neurology Editorial Advisory Board for: Stroke Adjudication Committee, CREST2.

Additional Contributors

Rodrigo O Kuljis, MD Esther Lichtenstein Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology, Director, Division of Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, Department of Neurology, University of Miami School of Medicine

Rodrigo O Kuljis, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Neurology, Society for Neuroscience

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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T2-weighted sagittal MRI of the cervical spine shows mixed signal intensity within the spinal cord consistent with posttraumatic intramedullary hemorrhage. The hypointensity reflects deoxyhemoglobin and the hyperintensity reflects either early hemorrhage or edema. The C6 vertebral body is distracted from C7 with extensive ligamentous injury. Courtesy of Francis G. Greiner, MD, Department of Radiology, University of South Alabama College of Medicine.
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