Treatment for Spinal Infections


Our spine specialists provide treatment for common spinal infections.

  • Vertebral Osteomyelitis: These infections can develop anywhere in the spine, but most often occur in the lumbar spine and can cause pain in the neck or back, arm or leg, fever, weight loss, muscle spasms and problems with walking or using your hands.
  • Discitis: This uncommon infection can occur on its own or after surgery. Symptoms include severe pain with spine movement, radiating pain in various body regions, and fevers and chills.
  • Spinal Epidural Abscess: Most commonly found in the lumbar region, these infections can cause weakness, skin boils, back pain, arm or leg pain, spine tenderness, and bowel, bladder and abdominal issues.


Treatments for Spinal Infections

Intravenous Antibiotic Therapy: The intravenous antibiotic treatment usually takes about four to six weeks, and then is usually may be followed by about two weeks of oral antibiotics. For infection caused by tuberculosis, patients are often required to take three drugs for up to one year.

Bracing: Bracing is recommended to provide stability for the spine while the infection is healing. It is usually continued for 6 to 12 weeks, until either a bony fusion is seen on X-ray, or until the patient’s pain subsides. A rigid brace works best and need only be worn when the patient is active.

Surgery: Often these infections require surgical drainage and debridement (cleaning the infection out), and fusion to restore stability to the spine afterwards.