Spinal discitis is a medical condition categorized by the onset of inflammation between intervertebral discs of your spine. These discs are located between your vertebrae and act as cushions to facilitate movement, but when swelling develops in this area, pressure and pain can set in. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at the causes, symptoms and treatment options for discitis.
Causes and Symptoms of Discitis
Spinal discitis is typically caused by the presence of an infection. It can be caused by either a viral or bacteria infection, or as a result of an autoimmune disorder. The infection or autoimmune disorder leads to an inflammatory response from the body, which leads to swelling, pressure and compression the the space between the spine discs. It is most common in younger children, but can affect adults as well.
Symptoms of the condition include:
- Localized spine pain
- Postural changes
- Spinal stiffness
- Difficulty performing normal daily tasks
- Abdominal discomfort
Diagnosis and Treatment
Since it can be caused by an infection, your doctor can diagnose the condition with a wide range of tests. Aside from the standard x-ray or MRI, your back specialist can detect the presence of the condition with blood tests, bone scans and even tissue tests like a spinal biopsy.
If your spine specialist diagnoses you with discitis, they’ll walk you through your treatment options. Depending on your root cause, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat the bacterial infection or anti-inflammatory medications to take care of the autoimmune response. Steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can also help with the condition in some cases. Some patients may also be prescribed bed rest, limited physical activities or supportive back braces while they recover from the condition. The vast majority of people have very good long-term outcomes when caring for their discitis with the above methods.
In very rare cases, more invasive operations like surgery may be necessary. Discitis typically resolves with the above treatment options, but if the swelling affected the stability of some spinal structures, then a minimally invasive reconstructive operation may be necessary.
So if you have been battling any of the above symptoms, or your primary care doctor believes you are dealing with swelling between your spinal discs, reach out to Dr. Chang and his team of specialists. They’ve helped numerous patients treat their discitis and get back to their normal life, and he can do the same for you. For more information, contact his office today at (651) 430-3800.