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Discitis infection

arlesteraarlester Posts: 30
edited 01/20/2018 - 12:18 PM in Lower Back Pain

Hi all

I found an old thread covering the topic but seems to have been discontinued. 

I had L5/S1 Discectomy surgery which was very successful. Zero pain post op and amazing recovery. 100% fit and well just 2 weeks post surgery. 

Started physio 3 weeks post surgery on the surgeons recommendation. To keep continuity,  I had the physio within the hospital so medical records etc were to hand.  On the 3rd visit which was 6 weeks post surgery, I felt a pop after carrying out what I now know to be an unsuitable exercise prescribed by the physio. Following week couldn't move. Alot of lower back pain. 

Follow up appoint with surgeon and he sent me for MRI with contrast. Fortunately showed no structural damage and all discs looked fine but pain was quite bad.  Key things that triggered pain was any form of laying down seems to bring on the pain. Couldn't do any exercises like knees to chest or knee rolls. They literally induced tears.  Then I started to loose power when getting up from laying down and suffered back spasms and cramps. Had to go back onto meds Inc diazepam at night to relax the muscles which didn't do anything. Eventually, regular naproxen seems to help. 

2 further visits to surgeon and an MRI and bloods have revealed a halo around the disc. The bloods show some abnormalities as well. The surgeon has said he cannot say it's an infection or discitis but rather than wait, he will treat it as if it is. 

Prescribing 24 antibiotics per day for 2 weeks, and the potential for an admission for IV antibiotics thereafter.  I'm due for a further blood test this week and scans.  The process seems to be comparing scans and bloods for key indicators.  Whilst I'm confident in the treatment, it seems not an easy thing to identify and almost have to wait and see. It also isn't easy to identify pain and progress as the naproxen seems to be working for now.  

Key things that cause pain are: when walking, small divot in the pavement cause a severe pain likened to being kicked in the kidneys or landing on your tail bone. Really painful. When laying in bed and placing my feet flat to push over from back to side is very painful. Any sort of trying to roll in bed hurts.  The good old classic log roll is very painful. Coughimg, sneezing all hurts. It's a deep pain. 

Can now manage seated knee to chest, hamstring stretches, and piraformous hip stretches and walking 30 mins per day.  I am now over 3 months post surgery.  

Knowing medical evidence isn't allowed, has anyone experienced this?  And any tips? 

Googling it shows research that suggest antibiotics for lower back pain is gaining momentum as the undiagnosed infection is a potential cause. 

Thanks in advance.  



  • Sounds like you had two different MRI’s in a relatively short time span after you felt the pop in your back. 

    It puzzles me that the first one came back normal but the second one didn’t.

    Is that correct? Or did I read that wrong?

    If correct did you have another type of incident after you felt the pop but before you had the second MRI?

    I’m just kind of confused.

  • arlesteraarlester Posts: 30
    edited 01/20/2018 - 12:36 PM

    Hi and thanks for your reply.

    You've read that exactly right and hence the concern from the surgeon. The first MRI showed no damage bar post surgical inflammation you'd expect but not this 'halo',  the second was approx 6 weeks after where this 'halo' shows. As mentioned, surgeon can't be sure it's infection and could just be post surgical manifesting later but is treating with extreme caution. 

    Post surgery, I've not suffered any falls, bumps or anything that would suggest an injury and have not been able to do any real exercise since.  The finger is pointing towards the rogue physio exercise. My general doctor explained a simple torn muscle post surgery can bleed and cause the bacteria that exists in your body normally day to day, to be the cause of the infection IF it's infected.  Like I mentioned in first post, impossible to be 100% sure what's what at the moment.  

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