Infections anywhere in the body may seed the space around the spinal cord called the epidural space. These infections usually occur when bacteria are spread through the blood stream. Infections of the bones of the spine and the intervertebral discs may also extend to the adjacent epidural space. People who have compromised immune systems, seen in chronic medical diseases, cancer, or AIDS may be at an increased risk of developing bacteremia, where bacteria are spread through the blood.
Causes of Epidural Abscess Of The Spine
An epidural abscess usually occurs either from extension of infections in the spine or through hematogenous spread of bacteria to the epidural space. When spread through the blood, there is often a source of bacteria such as an infection elsewhere, heart valve infection, tooth abscess, etc.
Signs and Symptoms of Epidural Abscess Of The Spine
Initially symptoms consist of fever and back or neck pain. With progression of the disease, the severity of the pain increases usually with intense muscle spasms. If the spinal cord or cauda equina becomes compressed, weakness, numbness, and urinary or bowel dysfunction will occur.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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