Osteomyelitis – A Rare Spinal Bone Infection

Category: Back Pain, Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: May 13, 2014

osteomyelitisOsteomyelitis is a rare condition that infects a person’s bones. This article will lay out the causes and symptoms of Osteomyelitis, and also discuss some options for treating the condition.

What Causes Osteomyelitis?

Osteomyelitis is most often caused by the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. The condition is fairly rare but the chances of contracting it can be increased by any of the following pre-existing conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • AIDS
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Alcohol abuse

The condition can be found in both children and adults.

Signs & Symptoms

Osteomyelitis comes in two forms: acute and chronic. Both types have similar symptoms that develop over roughly 10 days, including:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling & tenderness
  • Severe back pain (when the osteomyelitis is in one of the vertebrae)

If the condition is not treated quickly, the infection can spread to other areas of the body and possibly require surgery or amputation. It goes without saying that osteomyelitis needs to be identified and treated as quickly as possible.

How to Treat

The very first step in treating osteomyelitis is correctly diagnosing the condition. Symptoms of osteomyelitis are similar to numerous other conditions so it is important to rule out all other possibilities first. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, your physician will attempt to stop the infection using antibiotics. When antibiotics fail to work, or when the osteomyelitis is severe, surgery may be necessary to extract the infected bone and tissue. If caught soon enough, this can prevent the need to amputate the infected area.

There are also several actions you can take to prevent the infection. Clean and sanitize any cuts that you or your child get and keep an eye out for the common symptoms, especially if you suffer from diabetes.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your physician about diagnosing the condition and the best possible treatment options for your situation.

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