To all the dancers, artists, corporate professionals, business owners, and every man and woman standing and sitting, let us all thank our spine. The spine acts as the base of our building, i.e., the body; once there’s a crack, damage, or even infection, it becomes difficult for your body to function normally.
The spinal pain can restrict activities for days, years, or even a lifetime. Therefore, it is essential to be cautious of the indications your spine sends. Diagnosing red flags of spinal infection at home is complex; thus, it is wise to consult our spine infection specialist doctor in Ahmedabad – Dr. Tarak Patel. However, it is still essential to understand the types of spinal infections and their general symptoms, and thus this blog.
What is a Spinal Infection?
It is undoubtedly a medical condition that can affect the spinal cord, vertebral column, and discs. Spinal infection can be a result of microorganisms invading any part of your spine. In addition, spinal trauma and post-surgery complications can also cause a spine infection. Spinal tuberculosis is a chronic bacterial infection that is highly prevalent in the Indian population and affects the dorsal spine, followed by the lumbar spine. In contrast, other pyogenic or acute bacterial infections primarily affect the lumbar spine.
While the symptoms vary with the type of infection, some general signs can be back pain, neuro problems, and fever. Having an early-stage diagnosis and receiving treatment is essential to prevent severe complications such as paralysis and spinal deformations. Let us now look into a few spinal infections.
Types of Spinal Infection
1. Vertebral Osteomyelitis
Also known as spinal osteomyelitis and spondylodiskitis, vertebral osteomyelitis accounts for about 3% to 5% of osteomyelitis cases yearly. Osteomyelitis is a condition caused by bacteria that affects the bone marrow and several tissues surrounding bone. Due to a lack of specific clinical presentation, a delay in diagnosis is common and sometimes can even extend to months.
Vertebral osteomyelitis, a severe condition destructing the vertebral bones and surrounding tissues, can be associated with abscess collection. Bacterial infection is the primary cause of this condition that most commonly affects the lumbar spine. However, any spinal injury or post-surgery complication can also cause vertebral osteomyelitis. In addition, certain immune-weakening medical diagnoses, such as cancer and diabetes, can increase the risk of this condition. If it remains untreated, it can lead to severe complications such as paraplegia, spinal deformation, and death.
The diagnosis usually involves analysis of medical history followed by a physical examination, blood tests, and imaging tests like nuclear imaging and computed tomography. However, the identification of vertebral osteomyelitis is challenging as the infection may not always accompany apparent symptoms. Hence it is wise to consult a spine specialist in case you suffer from prolonged back pain or experience some of the symptoms mentioned below.
- Fever & chills
- Weight loss
- Any pain or difficulty while urinating
- Intense backache
- Uncontrollable bladder or bowel movements
- Muscle cramps
- Neurological issues such as numb or weak arms and legs
One of the rare and severe spine infections – Discitis, affects the thoracic or dorsal spine as a result of tuberculous spondylodiscitis. On the contrary, discitis caused by pyogenic or bacterial infection majorly affects the lumbar spine. Children and senior citizens are more prone to this spinal disease, resulting in a disc infection or inflammation between each spinal vertebrae. As a result, the disc goes through abnormal pain and pressure, ultimately impacting your movability.
Bacterial or viral infection, such as skin or urinary infections that spread easily, is a major cause of discitis. In addition, a weak immune, trauma to the spine, and spinal injury or surgery are potential causes of this disease.
The diagnosis primarily involves blood tests, physical exams, and imaging tests like MRI, CT scans, or X-rays. After the diagnosis, doctors may suggest antibiotics to cure the infection, pain relievers, and rest. The entire treatment, however, depends upon the diagnosis, and surgery is definite in case of red flags during the diagnosis. Hence, it would be best to visit a spine specialist if you experience the symptoms mentioned underneath to get a correct diagnosis and begin the treatment. The symptoms are.
- Severe backache
- Posture change
- Stiff back
- Difficulty or inability to perform routine tasks
- Discomfort or pain in the abdomen
- Decreasing appetite
The Final Call!
Your body gives indications when things go wrong, and in the case of spinal infections, it may be through several symptoms. The best is to consider a visit to a spine specialist, get a diagnosis, and start with the appropriate treatment. In case you look forward to visiting an experienced and trusted spine surgeon for lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spine infection treatment in India, we at IndoSpine hospital have always got your back.