Here’s Why Back Pain With Fever Should Not be Taken Lightly



Back pain, as common as it is, has many different causes. Most of them are mechanical in nature and caused by an undue amount of stress or strain on the back muscles.

But if the back pain is accompanied by fever and bladder or bowel problems, it could be due to a rare disorder caused by an infection in the epidural space.

What is a Spinal Epidural Abscess?

In Spinal Epidural Abscess, there is the accumulation of pus in the epidural space, which can compress the spinal cord. It is often accompanied by an underlying infection.

Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli are the most common bacterial causes of this disease. The exact cause, however, cannot be determined in as many as 30% of cases.

A 2017 study has revealed that the number of Spinal Epidural Abscess cases has increased in recent years. This rise in number was linked to the increasing number of people who inject drugs and the surge in invasive spinal procedures.

Because of the high probability of nervous system damage and even death, there should be no room for misdiagnosing this disease. You should get treatment only from the best spine experts. Choosing a spine surgeon in Palm Beach County is a critical step in your treatment process. Don’t hesitate to contact us for inquiries.

Who is at risk from a Spinal Epidural Abscess?

A Spinal Epidural Abscess is more likely to develop in people who:

  • underwent back surgery 
  • had an invasive procedure done to the spine
  • have infections of the bloodstream
  • developed boils on the back or scalp
  • inject drugs
  • have vertebral infections (vertebral osteomyelitis)
  • have a weak immune system due to other diseases, such as Cancer, AIDS, Diabetes Mellitus, and Alcoholism

Signs to watch out for

This disease starts with localized, unexplained back pain. But once the spinal nerve is pinched or compressed, the pain may begin to radiate to the hip and legs, accompanied by muscle weakness, numbness, and tingling sensation. The problem area may also feel tender when tapped or percussed, and the symptoms often worsen when the patient lies down.

Since there is an infection, the body’s attempt to kill the bacteria can lead to a higher than normal body temperature.

Why you should seek medical help immediately

For this disease, early diagnosis and prompt treatment are crucial to achieve the best outcome and prevent complications, which may include:

  • Chronic back pain
  • Brain damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Bone infection
  • Meningitis
  • Brain and Spinal Cord Abscess

In the worst cases, delaying treatment can lead to the nervous system becoming irreparably damaged and death may even occur.

Therefore, we strongly urge that if you feel the signs and symptoms mentioned above, or experience unexplained back pain, seek immediate medical attention. For non-emergency issues, you can request a consultation with our orthopedic spine surgeon in Fort Lauderdale.

What is the best treatment for Spinal Epidural Abscess?

Our doctor will need to take your medical history, perform physical assessments, and run imaging studies like MRI or CT scan to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.

If Spinal Epidural Abscess is confirmed as the underlying cause of your pain, then a customized treatment plan will be developed. Depending on your specific condition, this treatment may involve both medical and surgical approaches. For a majority of cases, this includes:

  • Antibiotics therapy
  • Pus (abscess) drainage

Because rapid deterioration may occur at any time, prompt surgical decompression and pus drainage are the standard treatment for this condition and are performed to release the pressure from the spinal cord. 

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Learn more about Spinal Epidural Abscesses from our spine surgeon in Delray Beach

Don’t let back pain take over your life. If you are suffering from constant discomfort in your back, our orthopedic spine specialist is ready to help. 

Dr. Hepler is an adult and pediatric spine surgeon. He treats all cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine conditions, and provides spinal stenosis treatments. 

He also offers non-operative treatment options, such as pain medications, steroid injections, and physical therapy.

If you would like to learn more about our orthopedic spine surgeon, please Contact Us. 

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.