Practice Blog

5 Key Signs You May Have a Spinal Abscess

October 31, 2021

Fortunately, an abscess on the spinal cord is very rare. However, they can be very painful and often dangerous, so it’s important to know if you ever have one.


The only way you’ll know is by being aware of what can cause them and the signs. Even though they’re rare, staying aware of the symptoms of a spinal abscess could save a lot of permanent damage if you do ever end up with one.

Read on for the main signs of a spinal abscess.

1. Backache

With 80% of the population experiencing back pain at some point in their life, it can be hard to tell what’s mild and what’s severe. Since it’s so commonplace, it’s hard to tell what can be caused by an abscess.

Usually, the pain is quite severe and starts in the lower back. It can spread to the legs and other places in the lower body, or it can move upwards to the shoulders.

Abscess growth is also more common after spinal surgery or nerve damage, so keep an eye on the timing.

2. Loss of Bladder Control

Sometimes, loss of bladder control can be a sign of an abscess. If you’re noticing spinal pain in combination with incontinence, it’s important you get things checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible.

It may not be an abscess or it may be, but it’s at least something that should be looked at.

3. Fever

A fever is a common symptom of many things so, on its own, it’s highly unlikely that this signifies a spinal abscess.

However, if it’s in combination with some of the other symptoms such as backache and incontinence, this may be the cause.

4. Loss of Sensation

If you feel a loss of sensation around where the pain once was, or elsewhere in the body below where you suspect something is wrong, it could be because of an abscess.

Abscesses interfere with the nerves in the body, and can end up making some of it go numb.

5. Movement Problems

Perhaps it’s not loss of sensation, but loss of movement! Sometimes, below the abscess, you might still be able to feel your body parts but struggle to move them.

This is another serious sign, so even if it’s not an abscess, it needs to be checked out as soon as possible by a professional. Loss of movement means there’s something that needs to be fixed, and delaying treatment can cause permanent damage.

A Spinal Abscess Is Serious

If you have a spinal abscess, it can be taken care of — if you catch it in time. Left untreated, they can get extremely painful and cause permanent damage all over the body.

If you experience these signs — especially in combination with each other — make an appointment with an appropriate professional as soon as possible. Dealing with it quickly will mean you can get rid of the abscess and go about your life.

For a spine surgery specialist that you can trust in Clearwater Florida, contact All Spine Care today.

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