A spinal infection is a very serious condition that needs to be treated as soon as possible. Although these types of infections are rare, their effects can be devastating to the body. It is important to know the common spinal infection symptoms, in order to know when to seek medical help.
What is a spinal infection?
A spinal infection is an infection that can occur anywhere in your back. The infection might occur in an intervertebral disc, which are the fibrocartilage discs that separate your vertebrae, and allow your spine to bend and move. They may also occur in the actual bones of your spine (the vertebrae), or the dural sac, which is the membrane that surrounds your spine. Spinal infections can also occur in the neck, as this is still part of your spine (also known as the cervical spine). They mostly occur after spinal surgery, but can also occur due to other infections in the body.
What are the main symptoms of a spinal infection?
Spinal infection symptoms can vary depending on the infection, and the person. But if you are suffering from any of the following, it may be possible that you have a spinal infection:
- Back pain
- Weight loss
- Fever or chills
- Muscle spasms
- Difficult and/or painful urination
- Stiff neck
- Redness and tenderness around your wound (if you have recently had a back surgery or wound)
- Numbness or tingling
- Weakness in arms and/or legs
Spinal infections are quite rare, however there are certain risk factors that can increase your risk of contracting this type of infection. Major risk factors for spinal infections include:
- Recently undergoing an invasive spinal procedure (such as a surgery)
- Being elderly
- Having diabetes
- Abusing drugs and/or alcohol
- A lack of a functioning immune system (due to factors such as cancer, frequent steroid use, HIV/AIDS)
- Poor nutrition
Can a spinal infection be treated?
Yes, a spinal infection can be treated, but it is important to seek medical help as soon as possible, in order to prevent it spreading and causing long-term effects. The treatment process can often take longer than treating a normal infection, due to its placement in the spine.
First, your doctor or other medical specialist will need to determine that you do have a spinal infection, and if so, what type. You will be asked a lot of questions about your medical history, and will be screened for the aforementioned spinal infection risk factors. The doctor will run some diagnostic blood tests on you, to determine whether or not you do have a spinal infection, and if so, what kind. One of the most common tests that are run are tests for blood cultures. These provide doctors with a sample of blood, and if there is any infection in your bloodstream, it will be evident here. These tests measure your white blood cell count, and Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). If these counts are abnormal, this indicates the presence of an infection in your body.
You might also need to undergo a series of visual tests, in order to determine that the infection definitely is in your spine. A very common method is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI’s are able to indicate any irregularities in the spinal area, which would indicate the presence of a bacterial infection. This type of image is also able to pinpoint the exact area of the infection, so that where necessary, local treatments can be administered to the correct spot.
The majority of the time, spinal infections can be treated with antibiotics or antifungal treatments, just like any other infection. Depending on the severity of the infection, you may take the antibiotics orally, or they may need to be administered intravenously. The course of treatment will vary depending on the severity of the infection, but can last from a week, up to twelve weeks.
Depending on the severity of your spinal infection, you may require some kind of physical therapy, to help heal your spinal tissue and help you regain mobility of your back. Your medical team will work with you to determine whether this type of treatment will be helpful or necessary. There are also a variety of other treatment options available if you are feeling pain in your neck or back as a result of a spinal infection.
Surgery is often a last resort to get rid of a spinal infection. It may be necessary to remove infected tissue that will not get better, or if you are unresponsive to the antibiotics. Surgery will allow medical professionals to clean the area of all the infection, and fix any damage to the spine that has occured as a result of the infection. Spinal surgery has a lot of risks (as with any surgery), but when performed by a team of experienced professionals, the benefits of such a surgery outweigh the risks.
Where is the best place to treat a spinal infection?
If you think you are displaying any spinal infection symptoms, seek medical help as soon as possible, to prevent the infection from spreading. One type of medical professional that can help you is a pain doctor, working in a pain treatment clinic.
A pain treatment clinic is a type of medical facility that houses a number of different professionals, who all work to alleviate pain in patients, through their different specialties. Because they treat many forms of back pain, they will also be able to help you diagnose your spinal infection, and provide you with the necessary treatment options. A pain treatment clinic will work with you throughout the process of your spinal infection, without needing to refer you to different specialists.
Pain treatment clinics will help you if you have spinal infection symptoms
As with any type of medical treatment, it is important to research where you are going, to ensure that you are receiving the best care possible. Pain Treatment Specialists are one of the leading pain management centers in New York and New Jersey. Our team of pain doctors are Ivy-League educated, and focused on providing you with the highest-quality care possible. All of our facilities in each of our locations are top of the range, and we are constantly updating our equipment and procedures to reflect new information and treatment techniques, so that our clients receive the best treatment. We operate as part of the VIP Medical Group, who are consistently rated as having some of the best pain treatments on the market.
Pain Treatment Specialists operates from a number of different locations throughout NY and NJ. We are also covered by most insurances, including Medicare. We provide you with treatment that is not only the best on the market, but incredibly convenient. If you wish to book an appointment for your spinal infection symptoms, you can do so by booking online, or you can speak directly to one of our friendly staff at (855) 383-7054.