Discitis is a low-grade infection that affects the disc space between two vertebrae. Although discitis is uncommon, children under ten are usually the ones affected by this condition which is the result of an inflammation caused by staphylococcus, viruses or other inflammatory processes.
Discitis is characterized by the slow onset of severe back pain and may or may not be associated with fever, chills, sweats, feeling tired, loss of appetite or other symptoms. The diagnosis is usually made by seeing narrowing of the disc space between two vertebrae and a bone scan that shows that the disc and adjacent vertebrae are "hot" on the scan. This condition can be very painful and is often aggravated by any movement of the spine. The pain often travels to other parts of the body including the abdomen, hip, leg, or groin. It usually occurs in the lower (lumbar) back and upper (thoracic) back.
It is a non-tubercular infection of the spine. The adjacent vertebral margins of the infected disc become eroded, with the degree of erosion depending on the amount of destruction resulting from the infection. The areas of erosion become recalcified as the healing process occurs and eventually an interbody fusion is evidence of a successful resolution of the disease.
Young children with this condition are usually irritable and uncomfortable and refuse to sit up, stand or walk. The treatment of discitis generally involves antibiotics, rest, and a brace. Surgery is rarely needed.
Click here to find a doctor who treats discitis.
The materials on this Web site are for your general educational information only. Information you read on this Web site cannot replace the relationship that you have with your health care professional. We do not practice medicine or provide medical services or advice as a part of this Web site. You should always talk to your health care professional for diagnosis and treatment.