Bacterial or fungal infections like discitis, epidural abscess or osteomyelitis can affect the spinal cord and surrounding structures. If you have been diagnosed with or suspect a spinal infection, it’s important to reach out to an expert team like the Orthopaedic Spine Program at Rochester Regional Health to be assessed and treated quickly.
Spinal infections are caused by either a bacterial or fungal disease that infects the bones, tissues, ligaments, or other structures in your neck or back.
Symptoms of a spinal infection are typically back or neck pain that becomes more severe over time and is not relieved by medication or other treatments. You may also experience a fever, stiffness of the neck or back, headache, or numbness, tingling or weakness in the legs or arms.
The first line of defense against a spinal infection, once diagnosed, often includes intravenous administration of either an antibiotic or antifungal therapy, depending on your infection.
Surgery may be recommended if your condition does not improve, if your spine is becoming unstable, or you are experiencing significant neurological symptoms. A common surgical procedure used by our Rochester Regional Health Orthopaedic Spine team is debridement, which is performed under general anesthesia and involves cleansing and removing the infected spine tissue or bone. As you recover, you’ll typically receive a long course of IV or oral antibiotics. Spinal stabilization is often required in the form of bracing or spinal instrumentation as well.