Do you have a severe headache coupled with back pain or a stiff neck symptoms? You could have a spinal infection, although this type of infection is relatively rare. But because your symptoms indicate a potential for this serious health condition, you should have it checked by a health care professional just to be sure.
Spinal infections can occur anywhere along your spine, from the neck down to the lower back. Its most common cause is a bacterial infection, particularly staph and strep. Yet, tuberculosis is also prevalent in parts of the world where its incidence is high. And in rare cases, an infection of the spine is caused by a fungus or virus.
An infection can develop in various components of your spinal column and are typed based on which one, for instance:
- discitis ~ infection in disc space
- meningitis ~ infection of meninges
- osteomyelitis ~ infection of spin bones
- subdural abscess ~ infection in subdural space
- epidural abscess ~ infection in space around dura
- intramedullary abscess ~ infections in spinal cord
However, a breach of this membrane via surgery and bloodstream are two potential routes for entry. Therefore, spinal surgery and bacteremia cause a high risk for a spinal infection. Some of the other risks factors are:
- other joint infections
- immune suppression
- back, neck skin boils
- major dental procedures
- chronic ear infection, sinus infection
- human immunodeficiency virus infection
These symptoms can range from very severe to hardly noticeable. And your pain will usually worsen with standing up.
Spinal infections that are left untreated can cause spinal cord compression, permanent paralysis, nerve damage and even death. Treatment is non surgical whenever possible and starts with antibiotics or anti-fungal drugs.
With an abscess, urgent laminectomy surgery might be necessary to drain and wash bacteria infected tissue.
So, if you have a headache with back pain or stiff neck, get with a health care professional ASAP.