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Spinal infections like discitis and osteomyelitis can cause serious health conditions. The extent of damage to the nervous system depends on the severity of the infection and where in the spine it occurs. Our neurospine surgeons at DOCS Health offer spinal infections treatment for discitis and osteomyelitis in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine at our medical center in Los Angeles.

Discitis and osteomyelitis are separate infections that can occur in the spine, but often occur together. Discitis is an infection of the discs in the spinal column, while osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone or vertebrae. Osteomyelitis is often caused by discitis, when the infection spreads from the disc to the bone, which can occur in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine. Discitis is caused by a bacterial infection that is spread through the bloodstream from another part of the body.

Cervical Spinal Infections

Both discitis and osteomyelitis can occur in the cervical spine. The most common symptoms are pain and stiffness in the neck, but patients may also experience fever, chills, nausea and limited motion of the neck.

Thoracic Spinal Infections

When discitis, osteomyelitis or both occur in the thoracic spine, the most common symptom is back pain at the level of infection. Patients may also have a fever and tenderness at the area. The inflammation can cause nerve root irritation that can result in radiculopathy or neuropathic pain or symptoms such as gait problems, loss of bladder control and weakness.

Lumbar Spinal Infections

When discitis or osteomyelitis occurs in the lumbar spine, there can be localized pain and tenderness. Patients may have difficulty standing or sitting for long periods. Patients may have a low-grade fever, chills and nausea. The lumbar spine is the most common area of the spine to experience osteomyelitis.

Treatment for spinal infections can include antibiotics to fight the infection, but may also require other therapies for the spine. If the vertebrae or discs are severely damaged from the infection, surgery may be required to restore spine stability.

Spinal infections can go undetected and undiagnosed, leading to serious damage to the spine. If you suspect you may have a spinal infection, contact our team at DOCS Health. We can perform advanced diagnostic tests and perform spinal infection treatment if needed.