Osteomyelitis is an infection of the bone, usually caused by a damaged or broken bone in the body being exposed to germs. While this is a rare condition, the most common location for this condition to occur is in older adults with bone damage in the spine. This bone damage can be a result of a degenerative spine condition left untreated or arthritis of the spine. This infection is most commonly carried to the bone through the bloodstream, making the condition uncommon in healthy adults. Other causes of osteomyelitis are injury, leaving the damaged bone susceptible to germs and infection in the body.

This condition can become very serious if not treated. If you suspect that you have osteomyelitis, you should consult your physician immediately. Your physician will most likely ask you a series of questions about your medical history and symptoms, and order an MRI test to view your bones and diagnose whether or not you have osteomyelitis.

Transmission and symptoms of osteomyelitis

The transmission of osteomyelitis may vary depending on the circumstances surrounding the infection. The most common route for the infection to reach the bone marrow is through the bloodstream. This is commonly seen in people who have received blood fusions, or receive drugs or medication intravenously. This condition can also be spread through injury or operation. In rare cases, this condition can be directly infected into the marrow.

The symptoms associated with osteomyelitis are similarly aligned with common infection-related pain and symptoms, including:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Lethargy
  • Irritability
  • Pain in a localized area
  • Swelling
  • Warmth and redness
  • Weight loss
  • Circulation decrease
  • Neural compression

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should consult your physician to determine the best course of treatment for your condition.

Treatment of osteomyelitis

If you are diagnosed with osteomyelitis, your physician will probably start you on a regimen of antibiotics to eliminate the infection. Once the infection is gone, your physician may proceed with alternative treatment for the damaged bone in your body. For example, if you have a damaged vertebra in the spine that has been exposed to an infection, your physician may recommend that you undergo spine surgery to treat the damaged bone and prevent future spinal injury.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer several minimally invasive treatments for spine conditions. Our patients experience patient-centered care in a world-class surgery center. Because of our devotion to medical advancement and patient-centered care, more than 50,000 patients have found relief from chronic neck and back pain with our minimally invasive procedures.

For information about our minimally invasive spine surgery and how we can help treat your spine condition, please contact our Care Team today.