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Diskitis is a low-grade infection that affects the disc space between two vertebrae. Although discitis is uncommon, children under ten are usually the ones affected by this condition which is the result of an inflammation caused by staphylococcus, viruses or other inflammatory processes.


  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Back pain
  • Stiffness in back
  • Increased lordosis
  • Refusal of younger child to walk
  • Abdominal pain

  • Causes:
    Discitis is an uncommon condition, which is usually seen in children younger than age 10.

    Discitis can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection or other inflammatory processes, such as auto-immune diseases. The upper back and low back disks are most commonly affected.

    Affected children may have a low-grade fever, 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. Discitis can also be confused with problems related to hip pain.

    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 or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS); consult your health care provider for the best choice of medications.

    Bed rest or immobilization may be recommended in some cases.

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