Tuberculosis of Spine or Spinal Tuberculosis

Spinal tuberculosis, also known as Pott’s disease or tuberculous spondylitis, is a rare infectious disease that leads to the collapse of the vertebrae, causing a deformity or kyphosis (hunchback).

suffering from back pain, Spinal Tuberculosis

suffering from back pain, Spinal Tuberculosis

What causes of Spinal Tuberculosis?

According to our orthopaedic spine surgeon in Fort Lauderdale, tuberculosis commonly starts with infectious bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis or Mtb) that affect the lungs. If not treated, it can easily spread to the spine and cause spinal arthritis. When the infection progresses to two contiguous joints, the spinal disc receives fewer nutrients and begins to deteriorate.

Once the disc collapses, the vertebrae narrow and also collapses, leading to damage in the spinal cord. If no treatment is administered, this condition can lead to nerve damage, paralysis, and back deformities. One to two percent of patients who contract pulmonary (lung) tuberculosis develops Pott’s disease.

What are the symptoms of Spinal Tuberculosis?

If a person diagnosed with tuberculosis develops severe back pain, it is most likely an indication of Pott’s disease. If this happens, you should seek medical assistance from an experienced medical provider, such as our orthopedic spine surgeon in Delray Beach.

In some cases, patients don’t seek treatment for weeks until the back pain becomes serious. If the back pain worsens, the patient might not be able to stand or walk properly without suffering from a number of symptoms, including numbness, pain, or weakness in the legs.

Other symptoms of spinal tuberculosis include tenderness in the back area, spinal deformity, muscle spasms, restricted motion of the spine, and neurological deficits.

Neurological deficits can occur as a result of spinal tuberculosis, along with impaired sensation, nerve root pain, and paraplegia (paralysis of both legs). There are also indirect symptoms that may still be related to the disease, such as weight loss, night sweats, fever, and body malaise or weakness.

How to treat Spinal Tuberculosis?

Spinal Tuberculosis requires a course of treatment that may need to be administered in six months to a year. The duration of the therapy depends on the doctor’s evaluation and is often individualized, depending on the individual patient’s health.

Patients with spinal tuberculosis may be prescribed medications containing isoniazid and rifampin. In the first few months of the treatment, they may also be asked to take anti-TB drugs such as ethambutol, pyrazinamide, or streptomycin.