Discitis is the infection between the discs of vertebrae. This is usually diagnosed with the symptom of severe back pain. Though the symptom is common and can be easily confused or mistaken for a chronic or age related back condition, Discitis must be diagnosed and treated while its affliction is fresh. It is rare in nature and causes lesions in the space between the discs.
This infection can affect any age group though it mostly afflicts children and symptoms apart from severe pain, may also include fever, chills and inability to bend or flex the spine. In this article we will discuss various causes of this condition.
Causes Of Discitis
Bacterial And Viral Infection
As mentioned this condition arises out of infection between the discs of spine. Bacterial and viral infection is a known cause of discitis. Mostly Salmonella class of bacteria is known to cause discitis.
Many studies have shown that the affliction of discitis begins with such infections but the infection itself is not key to discitis spreading from one disc to another or even in making the condition severe. Bacterial infection was considered to be the only reason behind this condition until more recent studies and observations showed that some infections were caused by virus as well.
Post Operative Phase
Many patients who have had surgeries, especially the ones where spine was involved are at a high risk of this infection. In many cases this condition develops much after the invasive surgical procedure has been done, at times almost 20-30 weeks later. Main reason suspected is the use of intravenous methods of administering medicines and saline solution and use of surgical tools during the operation. However, a course of antibiotic taken for a few weeks seem to work in most of the cases without any further complications.
Our immune system is the army that defend our body from getting attacked by outside infections and also pushes out and cleanses our body internally in a regular fashion. However, without any known cause sometime the immune system begins to attack our own body.
It damages our cells and tissues in a manner it would do to an external infection. This condition is known as auto immune disorder which is one of the leading causes behind discitis.
People or children who have weak immune systems are an easy prey to infections like discitis. Discitis may not originate directly in the spine but the infectious bacteria or virus spreads and is transported through the bloodstream. Usually the immune system fights off the infection while it enters the body or blood but a compromised immune system is unable to do so. This can lead to lodging of infection in various parts and organs of the body including spine.
Intravenous Drug Intake
Drug abusers are at a very high risk of developing this condition. The syringes that they may use or share do not conform to the sterilisation standards required for the body. Besides the handling of the syringe is also not proper.
This risky behaviour can easily introduce infection causing bacteria in the blood stream and bones in the body. Though infection is common amongst the drug users but discitis is likely to occur when the back or spine is compromised by any other injury or inflammation.