What is Diskitis?Diskitis is an inflammation, irritation, and swelling of the intervertebral disk space (the space between the bones of the spine).
What are its symptoms?Cited below are some of the symptoms of diskitis:-
- Back pain
- Stiffness in back
- Increased lordosis
- Abdominal pain
How is it caused?
- Diskitis is an uncommon condition, which is usually seen in children younger than age 10 years. It can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection or other inflammatory processes, such as auto-immune diseases (conditions in which the immune system mistakenly attacks certain cells in the body).
- The thoracic (upper back) and lumbar (low back) disks are most commonly affected.
- Affected children may have a low-grade fever (less than 102 degrees Fahrenheit), back pain and stiffness, and abdominal pain.
- If they walk, it is with increased curvature of the back and they may have difficulty getting up and standing.
- Young children are generally irritable and uncomfortable and may refuse to sit up, stand or walk.
- The refusal to walk is often misinterpreted by the parents as being related to a lower limb injury. Diskitis can also be confused with problems related to hip pain.
How is it diagnosed?Following are the tests used to diagnose the condition:
- X-ray of the lumbosacral spine (may show narrow disk space or abnormalities of the vertebral bodies)
- MRI of the spine (may show inflammation of the disk space)
- Bone scan (usually shows increased uptake in the region of inflammation)
- CBC (shows elevated white blood cells)
- ESR (elevated, test for inflammation)
How can it be treated?
- The goal is to treat the cause of the inflammation and reduce pain. Anti-staphylococcal antibiotics may be given in cases of suspected infections. Auto-immune diseases are often treated with anti-inflammatory medications.
- Resistant cases may be treated with steroids, although the diagnosis of infection should be excluded first. Pain may be relieved with oral pain killers (analgesics) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS).
- Bed rest or immobilization (which may require a body cast) may be recommended in some cases.