Locations Main Campus: Chesterfield, MO 63017   |   Locations
314-434-1500 314-434-1500   |   Contact Us

Multimedia Encyclopedia


 
E-mail Form
Email Results

 
 
Print-Friendly
Bookmarks
bookmarks-menu

Diskitis

Disk inflammation

 

Diskitis is swelling (inflammation) and irritation of the space between the bones of the spine (intervertebral disk space).

Causes

 

Diskitis is an uncommon condition. It is usually seen in children younger than 10 years and in adults around 50 years of age. Men are more affected than women.

Diskitis can be caused by an infection from bacteria or a virus. It can also be caused by inflammation, such as from autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases are conditions in which the immune system mistakenly attacks certain cells in the body.

Disks in the neck and low back are most commonly affected.

 

Symptoms

 

Symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Difficulty getting up and standing
  • Increased curvature of the back
  • Irritability
  • Low-grade fever (102°F or 38.9°C) or lower
  • Sweating at night
  • Recent flu-like symptoms
  • Refusal to sit up, stand, or walk (younger child)
  • Stiffness in back

 

Exams and Tests

 

The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask about the symptoms.

Tests that may be ordered include any of the following:

  • Bone scan
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • ESR or C-reactive protein to measure inflammation
  • MRI of the spine
  • X-ray of the spine

 

Treatment

 

The goal is to treat the cause of the inflammation or infection and reduce pain. Treatment may involve any of the following:

  • Antibiotics if the infection is caused by bacteria
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines if the cause is an autoimmune disease
  • Pain medicines such as NSAIDs
  • Bed rest or a brace to keep the back from moving
  • Surgery if other methods don't work

 

Outlook (Prognosis)

 

Children with an infection should fully recover after treatment. In rare cases, chronic back pain persists.

In cases of autoimmune disease, the outcome depends on the condition. These are often chronic illnesses.

 

Possible Complications

 

Complications may include:

  • Persistent back pain (rare)
  • Side effects of medicines

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

 

Call your provider if your child has back pain that does not go away, or problems with standing and walking that seem unusual for his or her age.

 

 

References

Gutierrez K. Diskitis. In: Long SS, ed. Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 80.

Mistovich RJ, Spiegel DA. The spine. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 679.

Waldman SD. Diskitis. In: Waldman SD, ed. Atlas of Common Pain Syndromes. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 80.

 
  • Skeletal spine

    Skeletal spine - illustration

    The spine is divided into several sections. The cervical vertebrae make up the neck. The thoracic vertebrae comprise the chest section and have ribs attached. The lumbar vertebrae are the remaining vertebrae below the last thoracic bone and the top of the sacrum. The sacral vertebrae are caged within the bones of the pelvis, and the coccyx represents the terminal vertebrae or vestigial tail.

    Skeletal spine

    illustration

  • Intervertebral disk

    Intervertebral disk - illustration

    The vertebral column is made up of 26 bones that provide axial support to the trunk. The vertebral column provides protection to the spinal cord that runs through its central cavity. Between each vertebra is an intervertebral disk. The disks are filled with a gelatinous substance, called the nucleus pulposus, which provides cushioning to the spinal column. The annulus fibrosus is a fibrocartilaginous ring that surrounds the nucleus pulposus, which keeps the nucleus pulposus in tact when forces are applied to the spinal column. The intervertebral disks allow the vertebral column to be flexible and act as shock absorbers during everyday activities such as walking, running and jumping.

    Intervertebral disk

    illustration

    • Skeletal spine

      Skeletal spine - illustration

      The spine is divided into several sections. The cervical vertebrae make up the neck. The thoracic vertebrae comprise the chest section and have ribs attached. The lumbar vertebrae are the remaining vertebrae below the last thoracic bone and the top of the sacrum. The sacral vertebrae are caged within the bones of the pelvis, and the coccyx represents the terminal vertebrae or vestigial tail.

      Skeletal spine

      illustration

    • Intervertebral disk

      Intervertebral disk - illustration

      The vertebral column is made up of 26 bones that provide axial support to the trunk. The vertebral column provides protection to the spinal cord that runs through its central cavity. Between each vertebra is an intervertebral disk. The disks are filled with a gelatinous substance, called the nucleus pulposus, which provides cushioning to the spinal column. The annulus fibrosus is a fibrocartilaginous ring that surrounds the nucleus pulposus, which keeps the nucleus pulposus in tact when forces are applied to the spinal column. The intervertebral disks allow the vertebral column to be flexible and act as shock absorbers during everyday activities such as walking, running and jumping.

      Intervertebral disk

      illustration

    Tests for Diskitis

     

       

      Review Date: 9/22/2016

      Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

      The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
      adam.com

       
       
       

       

       

      A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.



      Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.