Spinal Infections Symptoms & Treatments
A spinal infection is a rare but serious disease that occurs when bacteria, fungi, or viruses infiltrate the tissues of the spine, including the vertebrae, spinal discs, meninges, spinal canal, and even the spinal cord. Spinal infections can cause serious damage to your spine.
Risk Factors & Causes of Spinal Infections
Spinal infections can range from mild to severe, such as osteomyelitis. If you’ve recently had spine or pelvic surgery, your risk of contracting a spinal infection increases dramatically. Other diseases that increase your risk include diabetes, cancer, HIV, and malnutrition.
What are the Symptoms of a Spinal Infection?
A spine infection is considered an emergency and should be treated immediately; 20% of these infections are fatal, so seek immediate treatment at your local ER or contact your orthopedist.
How are Spinal Infections Diagnosed?
A combination of imaging studies and lab work can be used to diagnose spinal infections. Lab work may include looking at white blood cell counts or markers for inflammation. Your doctor may also use a blood culture to try to isolate the specific pathogen causing your pain, but blood cultures are only successful in about half of the time.
What happens if you have an infection in your spine?
Intervertebral disc space infections cause severe back pain, fever, chills, weight loss, muscle spasms, and painful or difficult urination. Cervical spine infections cause neck pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. Spinal canal infections cause severe back pain, tenderness, and fever.
Can you have a spinal infection without fever?
Patients with a spine infection may or may not have a fever (temperature 101 degrees), as well as tenderness and spasm with decreased lumbar range-of-motion.
What does a spinal abscess feel like?
Sharp pain that can radiate to your arms or legs, weakness that worsens quickly, loss of sensation below the abscess, and paralysis below the abscess
How long can a spinal infection last?
Can vertebral osteomyelitis be treated without surgery? Spinal infections are frequently treated without surgery. IV antibiotics are administered in the hospital or outpatient facility and may be continued at home for 4 to 6 weeks, while oral antibiotics may be required for several months.
How serious is an infection in the spine?
Spinal infections, unlike the common cold, can cause serious damage to your spine. When spinal discs become inflamed from disease, they may begin to break down or even decay, and if the vertebral bodies become infected, the bones that make up your spinal column may crack or fracture.
Is back pain a sign of infection?
Back infection: A fever and a tender, warm area on the back could indicate a spine infection; other infections include pelvic inflammatory disease, bladder infections, and kidney infections.
What does osteomyelitis pain feel like?
Pain, swelling, redness, and a warm sensation over a bone; a very high temperature (or you feel hot and shaky); and a general feeling of ill health.
Can a bacterial infection make your back hurt?
According to new research, bacteria may be the cause of 40% of chronic lower back pain (CLBP), and that an antibiotic could help a significant number of people with lower back pain caused by a herniated disc and swelling in the spine.
What organs can cause lower back pain?
Organs such as the kidneys, pancreas, colon, and uterus are also located near your lower back, and all of these can cause pain in the left side of your lower back. While some of these require treatment, the majority aren’t serious.
How is spinal abscess diagnosed?
There are a variety of tests that can be performed, including:
- Complete blood count
- CT scan of the spine
- abscess drainage
- Gram stain and abscess material culture
- MRI of the spine
How do you treat a spinal abscess?
Surgery and antibiotics or antifungals are usually used to treat spinal epidural abscesses, but antibiotics may be used alone in some cases. Antibiotics are usually given for 4-6 weeks.
How do you get rid of an abscess in your lower back?
Antibiotics alone will not usually cure an abscess; instead, it must open and drain in order to improve. Sometimes this happens naturally, but most abscesses must be opened with the help of a warm compress or by a doctor in a procedure called incision and drainage (IandD).
What are the 3 stages of sepsis?
Sepsis is divided into three stages: sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock.
Is spinal infection contagious?
No, bone infections aren’t contagious, but the bacteria that cause osteomyelitis can spread from person to person.
What can cause inflammation of the spinal cord?
Back or neck pain, weakness or sensation changes in the arms or legs, or loss of bladder or bowel control are common symptoms of transverse myelitis. The exact cause is often unknown, but it can occur as a result of infections or in people with autoimmune diseases.