Infections of the spine can involve any of its structures – including bone infection (osteomyelitis), disk infection (diskitis), the space between the dura lining the spinal cord/nerves and the bone (epidural abscess), and in the spinal fluid (meningitis). Certain groups (diabetic, IV-drug using, otherwise immunocompromised patients) are more likely to develop infections, but we have seen these occasionally in other people without these problems as well. Treatment depends upon the type of bacteria/other cause, and so biopsy and culture result can help decide treatment with the proper antibiotics/medications. Loss of movement, bowel or bladder incontinence (loss of control), and enlargement despite medical treatment causing severe symptoms are all reasons to try to intervene quickly by draining the abscess/removing infected areas as much as possible.
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