Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Injury of the Low Back Skin Wound

Minor cuts, abrasions and puncture wounds to the back that do not require medical care can be treated at home. Initial care includes:

  • Control bleeding with direct pressure.
    • Use a gauze or clean cloth directly on the wound.
    • Maintain the pressure, constantly, for at least 10 minutes.
    • Do not look at the wound.
  • Clean the wound with mild soap and water. Running water can help remove dirt.
  • You may gently dab the wound with hydrogen peroxide to remove clotted blood or debris. Do not scrub or re-injure the wound.
  • Be sure there is no dirt or other foreign material left in the wound.
  • A butterfly bandage can be used to close very small, clean cuts.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment and a dry dressing.
  • Cover the wound with gauze or elastic bandage. Wounds to the face may be left uncovered.
  • Keep the wound clean and dry.
  • Protect and rest the injured area.
  • Elevate the injured body part.

Ongoing care for minor skin wounds includes:
  • Abrasions may be cleaned 2-3 times a day with a mild soap such as dilute baby shampoo.
  • Abrasions to the feet need special care. These tend to become infected very easily. Clean foot abrasions three to four times a day and wear an open shoe.
  • Gently clean scabs of the face with a warm, wet, soft cloth and hydrogen peroxide - try not to cause bleeding. Do not disturb dry scabs in other parts of the body.
  • Dry the wound gently, and completely, with a clean towel or gauze.
  • Apply an antibiotic and a dressing as needed.

Tetanus Considerations
A tetanus shot is necessary right away if you have not had three tetanus shots in the past.

If you have received three tetanus shots in the past, you need a tetanus shot within three days for:
  • A dirty wound and you have not had a tetanus shot in the past five years
  • A clean, minor wound and you have not had a tetanus shot in the past ten years

Continue to Injury of the Low Back Taking Control

Last Updated: Nov 4, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Injury of the Low Back References
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  2. Rugulies R, Krause N. Job strain, iso-strain, and the incidence of low back and neck injuries. A 7.5-year prospective study of San Francisco transit operators. Soc Sci Med. 2005 Jul;61(1):27-39. [1584795]
  3. Smith D, McMurray N, Disler P. Early intervention for acute back injury: can we finally develop an evidence-based approach? Clin Rehabil. 2002 Feb;16(1):1-11. [11837522]
  4. Tveito TH, Hysing M, Eriksen HR. Low back pain interventions at the workplace: a systematic literature review. Occup Med (Lond). 2004 Jan;54(1):3-13. [14963248]
  5. van der Roer N, Goossens ME, Evers SM, van Tulder MW. What is the most cost-effective treatment for patients with low back pain? A systematic review. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2005 Aug;19(4):671-84. [15949783]
  6. van Tulder MW, Koes BW, Bouter LM: Conservative treatment of acute and chronic nonspecific low back pain. A systematic review of randomized controlled trials of the most common interventions. Spine 1997 Sep 15; 22(18): 2128-56. [9322325]
  7. Wassell JT, Gardner LI, Landsittel DP, Johnston JJ, Johnston JM. A prospective study of back belts for prevention of back pain and injury. JAMA. 2000 Dec 6;284(21):2727-32. [11105177]
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