Spondylitis – symptoms, causes and treatment

Vertebral body inflammation

A vertebra is inflamed, usually due to a bacterial infection, this is known as Spondylitis. In many cases, the inflammation also goes to the adjacent intervertebral discs on (Spondylodiscitis). First, and rather nonspecific symptoms are pain in the spine. More detailed studies do not always provide sufficient information on rare, serious disease. This delay is often the diagnosis and the need for timely treatment.

Table of contents

  • The non-specific Spondylitis and special shapes


The Spondylitis describes the inflammation of one or more vertebrae. Such inflammation spreads to the adjacent intervertebral discs, one speaks more precisely of a Spondylodiscitis. This is a relatively common combination of the isolated occurring disease of the vertebrae inflammation of the intervertebral disc inflammation (Diszitis).

In General, these diseases of the spine are very rare.

The non-specific Spondylitis and special shapes

According to the causes of various infectious and non-infectious forms can be distinguished. The most common variant is the non-specific Spondylitis caused due to an unspecified hematogenous infection (usually by bacteria).

To include a specific Spondylitis inflammation of the Vertebrae, which are the result of certain infection diseases. This is, for example, in the context of a tuberculosis (Spondylitis tuberculosa), or brucellosis (Spondylitis brucellosa) of the case.

In addition, as a non-infectious special the ankylosing Spondylitis known forms, and is also known as ankylosing spondylitis. This is one of the inflammatory rheumatic diseases in which the immune system of the body fights its own structures (autoimmune disease). There is also a Spondylitis psoriatic a psoriasis with involvement of the spine, which is often confused initially with the Bechterew’s disease.


In the case of a vertebral body inflammation, pain occur in the first place back in the affected segment of the Spine. In particular, to the cervical and lumbar spine, the pain can also radiate to the extremities and, for example, as of Ischia perceived pain. Due to the pain Already – and bad posture, which, in addition to muscle tension, and mobility limitations.

The complaints are individual and depending on the severity, perceived differently. In some patients with an infectious inflammation of the form of General signs of infection such as fever, body aches and fatigue as the symptoms on the back.


The most common cause of Spondylitis is a bacterial infection. Often the pathogens can not be determined exactly, but if this is the case, however, is in most cases Staphyolokokken (Staphylococcus aureus) as a cause of Disease. Less frequently, other bacteria, fungi, viruses, or even parasites causes into consideration.

It can cause urinary tract infections or inflammation of the tooth roots via the bloodstream (hematogenous) spread the Vertebrae (and discs) and the disease is manifested there. The same can also arise in the case of open fractures or surgical interventions, infections, the wide areas of the organism can invade.


For a diagnosis of the detailed patient survey and clinical examination provide the first clues and, in particular, enable a more detailed coverage of the local pain sensation. Mostly to this point, an orthopedic specialist expertise.

Just in the beginning stage of a recognition of the disease is made more difficult if typical symptoms are absent in other studies. Then the back can be interpreted pain or back pain also fail.

Further investigations represent the laboratory analysis of a blood sample. Inflammation results often show a proliferation of white blood cells (leukocytosis) and increased values for C-reactive Protein (CRP) and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Essential image are also imaging techniques such as x-ray and magnetic resonance imaging. The latter method is also inflammatory processes in the bone and in the soft parts.

If you suspect Spondylitis, in some cases, in addition, a bone scintigraphy or positron Emission tomography (PET) for the investigation of bone metabolism.


The diagnosis of a vertebral body inflammation should always be taken very seriously and the patient should receive immediate therapy. If left untreated, can spread the disease to other areas and then life-threatening complications with.

The individual treatment regimen depends on the cause and the severity of the disease. Bacteria are the disease triggers, must be subjected to intensive antibiotic therapy. In addition, in severe cases, operative measures are used, which have already destroyed tissue is removed. Mostly, this is to be expected with a longer duration of treatment and Rehabilitation, with regular follow-UPS are required.

In order to get the functionality (stability and mobility) of the spine, after the first treatment measures, targeted movement therapy, and, where appropriate, the use of orthotics recommended.

For the symptomatic treatment of various pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs are used.

Naturopathic Treatment

In the case of such a dangerous and fatal inflammation, or bacterial infection, is primarily a school of medical treatment is important.

In a second step, natural therapies and complementary therapy approaches can also support the healing process.

Proven medicinal plants with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effect, for example, Angelika or Arnica. In addition to some other (sometimes controversial) methods of therapy a healthy life-style is in any case of great importance for a quick recovery. (tf, cs)