Discitis is a condition in which a patient develops an inflammatory lesion of the intervertebral disc. This is also referred to as a disc infection. This condition is most often seen in children, and can cause debilitating back pain. Because discitis can occur in young children, often the diagnosis is not immediate. When the child lacks the verbiage to explain the pain or symptoms, many parents feel helpless while their children suffer through the pain. If you or your child has been diagnosed with discitis, understanding the condition, symptoms and treatment can help you.

Causes and symptoms

Though the overall cause for discitis is not widely agreed on in the medical world, most physicians agree that at least a portion of cases are caused by a bacterial infection. However, though the cause is uncertain, the symptoms are commonly similar in all cases, and they may include:

  • Fever
  • Refusal to sit, stand, or walk (in younger children)
  • Difficulty getting up and standing
  • Increased curvature in the back
  • Abdominal pain
  • Irritability
  • Stiffness
  • Back pain

Treatment options

If your physician believes the discitis has been caused by an infection, they will likely recommend using antibiotics to treat the condition. Some physicians also recommend pain medication and anti-inflammatory medication to ease the discomfort caused by discitis. Physicians recommend limiting movement while recovering from discitis. In young children, a body brace is recommended in order to expedite healing and increase comfort. Make sure to talk to your physician if you or your child is suffering from pain associated with this type of condition. A healthy recovery is based upon a proper diagnosis, so be sure to explain the symptoms accurately for the best treatment and quicker relief.