Dr. Alex Jimenez, El Paso's Chiropractor
I hope you have enjoyed our blog posts on various health, nutritional and injury related topics. Please don't hesitate in calling us or myself if you have questions when the need to seek care arises. Call the office or myself. Office 915-850-0900 - Cell 915-540-8444 Great Regards. Dr. J

Infections of The Spine: Symptoms, Risks, Diagnosis

Anyone from young children, adults, and the elderly can get a spinal infection. Individuals can have an infection:

  • In vertebral bone tissue
  • An intervertebral disc
  • The spinal canal – space where the spinal cord runs through
  • The spinal cord’s protective lining

These types of infections can happen anywhere along the spine, from the atlas at the base of the neck to the coccyx all the way to the lowest part of the back. Individuals should expect unpredictability if dealing with a spinal infection. During testing, lab results could be misleading or inaccurate. What can happen is white blood cell counts are normal, X-rays might not show any abnormalities, and sensitive diagnostic tests like a CT or MRI scan might not show positivity of infection for a week or more. What to know about spinal infections.

 Infections of The Spine: Symptoms, Risks, Diagnosis

Spinal Infection Types

They are classified according to the type of tissue they infect. The most common include:

Vertebral Osteomyelitis

This is a common infection type. Bacteria most often cause the cause. It can develop after trauma to the spine, post-surgery, or bacterial infections located in other body parts that travel via the blood to the vertebra. Symptoms include:

  • Persistent, chronic back pain that can become severe worsens at night and becomes aggravated from moving.
  • The pain radiates/spreads into the arms and legs
  • Tingling, numbness, and burning sensations
  • Inflammation
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Post-surgery wound drainage, redness, and swelling near the surgical site

Treatment includes:

  • Intravenous antibiotics
  • Antibiotics
  • Over-the-counter analgesics like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory meds for pain relief.
  • Prescription pain medications
  • Back brace
  • Surgery is recommended if antibiotic treatment fails, nerve damage develops, a spinal deformity develops, or to remove infected bone and/or soft tissues.


This type of infection develops between the intervertebral discs. It is also rare, but it is more common in children and adolescents, but it can still happen in adults. Discitis can be potentially deadly, despite advanced treatment. The most common causes are bacterial and viral infections.

Individuals with discitis can present with minimal symptoms when the infection initializes, but it does worsen and can cause:

  • Abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Posture changes
  • Mobility issues
  • Difficulty performing everyday tasks
  • Fever
  • Severe back pain that worsens at night or by moving

Treatment options include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Supportive devices
  • Rest
  • Steroids to alleviate inflammation in chronic and severe cases
  • Severe cases could require surgery to restructure areas of the affected spine to improve function and mobility

Epidural Abscess

This is an infection that can develop in the spaces between the bones of the spine, the skull, or soft tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This is a medical emergency that needs to be addressed immediately. The infection is often caused by a bacterial or fungal infection in or around the affected area. This is commonly a Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. In some cases, an abscess can develop from an infection in another part of the body. This could be a urinary tract infection that spreads out to the spine. Symptoms include:

  • Inflammation and swelling
  • Mid to low back pain
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Neurological weakness, numbness in the arms and legs, bowel or bladder incontinence
  • Walking problems

Treatment consists of intravenous antibiotics to combat the infection that caused the abscess. In some cases, if there is difficulty moving around or are experiencing numbness, then surgery is required to drain the abscess or completely remove it.

Risk Factors

Spine infections can affect anyone. However, there are individuals with certain chronic health problems that have an increased risk. They include those with:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Auto-immune diseases
  • Immune systems compromised like cancer and HIV
  • Individuals that have undergone a spinal surgical procedure are at greater risk post-surgery

Risk factors include:

  • Individuals that have had a spinal infection could be more susceptible to developing another.
  • Age – older adults
  • Malnutrition
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Intravenous drug use
  • Certain areas of the back are more prone to infection. This includes the cervical/back of the neck and the lumbar/low back.

Surgical risk factors:

  • Long surgical procedure
  • Massive loss of blood
  • Multiple surgeries of the same area


Early diagnosis can be the difference in treating the infection before damage to the spine develops or before the damage worsens. They are diagnosed through a variety of lab and imaging tests. These include:

  • Various lab tests
  • Blood work to examine white blood cell counts and markers for inflammation
  • X-Rays
  • CT scan
  • MRI


These infections are rare, but they are serious and early treatment is recommended for optimal outcomes. Early diagnosis in the early stages can be successfully treated with antibiotics, rest, and spinal braces. Doctors, spine specialists, chiropractors, and physical therapists will work with the individual to provide a thorough diagnosis, personalized treatment plan, and long-term outcomes.

Body Composition

Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness can help identify triggers of negative thoughts and behavior. Mindfulness is unique to each individual. Sitting quietly and meditating for 20 minutes is not for everyone. Instead, try a five-minute guided meditation, writing, or music listening. The best time to meditate is in the morning after waking up. This helps set the day’s objectives, what’s important and what can wait in a clear fashion. Mindfulness practice has been shown to reduce stress and feelings of anxiety.

Journaling is a great way to find out about yourself. It can be done with pencil/pen and paper, on a computer, tablet, or phone. Take a few minutes to write some ideas, feelings, emotions that can help put things in perspective. Examples could be, writing something that makes you happy/proud, something that you want to improve, and a goal. There is also mindful listening that can help reduce stress by focusing attention. Instead of turning on the news or checking email first thing, listen to a favorite podcast or music. The same applies to over-phone use. During some downtime instead of scrolling through social media, etc, take a breath and listen to your mind and self.


American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Spinal Infections. http://www.aans.org/Patient%20Information/Conditions%20and%20Treatments/Spinal%20Infections.aspx. Published May 2016. Accessed December 29, 2016.

Stat Pearls. (2021). Diskitis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541047/

Stat Pearls. (2021). Spinal Epidural Abscess. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441890/

Frontiers in Medicine. (2014). Surgical site infections following spine surgery: eliminating the controversies in the diagnosis. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2014.00007/full

Microorganisms. (2020). Spinal Infections: An Update. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7232330/

The Spine Journal. (2021.) “Long term quality of life outcome after spondylodiscitis treatment.” https://www.thespinejournalonline.com/article/S1529-9430(21)00783-X/fulltext

Again, I Welcome You 👊🏻.

Our Purpose & Passions: I am a Doctor of Chiropractic specializing in progressive, cutting-edge therapies and functional rehabilitation procedures focused on clinical physiology, total health, practical strength training, and complete conditioning. We focus on restoring normal body functions after neck, back, spinal and soft tissue injuries.

We use Specialized Chiropractic Protocols, Wellness Programs, Functional & Integrative Nutrition, Agility & Mobility Fitness Training, and Rehabilitation Systems for all ages.

As an extension to effective rehabilitation, we too offer our patients, disabled veterans, athletes, young and elder a diverse portfolio of strength equipment, high-performance exercises, and advanced agility treatment options. We have teamed up with the cities premier doctors, therapists,s, and trainers to provide high-level competitive athletes the possibilities to push themselves to their highest abilities within our facilities.

We’ve been blessed to use our methods with thousands of El Pasoans over the last three decades allowing us to restore our patients’ health and fitness while implementing researched non-surgical methods and functional wellness programs.

Our programs are natural and use the body’s ability to achieve specific measured goals, rather than introducing harmful chemicals, controversial hormone replacement, unwanted surgeries, or addictive drugs. We want you to live a functional life that is fulfilled with more energy, a positive attitude, better sleep, and less pain. Our goal is to ultimately empower our patients to maintain the healthiest way of living.

With a bit of work, we can achieve optimal health together, no matter the age or disability.

Join us in improving your health for you and your family.

It’s all about: LIVING, LOVING & MATTERING! 🍎

Welcome & God Bless


6440 Gateway East, Ste B
Phone: 915-850-0900

East Side:
11860 Vista Del Sol, Ste 128
Phone: 915-412-6677

Clinic Location 1

Address: 11860 Vista Del Sol Dr Suite 128
El Paso, TX 79936
: (915) 412-6677
EmailSend Email

Clinic Location 2

Address: 6440 Gateway East, Building B
El Paso, TX 79905
Phone: (915) 850-0900
EmailSend Email

Clinic Location 3

Address: 1700 N Zaragoza Rd # 117
El Paso, TX 79936
Phone: (915) 850-0900
EmailSend Email

Push As Rx Crossfit & Rehab

Address: 6440 Gateway East, Building B
El Paso, TX 79905
: (915) 412-6677
EmailSend Email

Push 24/7

Address: 1700 E Cliff Dr
El Paso, TX 79902
: (915) 412-6677
EmailSend Email

🔴 Rated Top El Paso Doctor & Specialist by ✔️ RateMD* | Years 2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019

No Events Found

Call (915) 850-0900 Today!

EVENTS REGISTRATION: Live Events & Webinars* ❗️

(Come Join Us & Register Today)

Additional Online Links & Resources (Available 24/7)

  1. Online Appointments or Consultations:  https://bit.ly/Book-Online-Appointment
  2. Online Physical Injury / Accident Intake Form: https://bit.ly/Fill-Out-Your-Online-History
  3. Online Functional Medicine Assessment: https://bit.ly/functionmed


The information herein is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified health care professional. Our information scope is limited to chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, sensitive health issues, functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions. We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the musculoskeletal system’s injuries or disorders. Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.* Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 Read More…

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, CTG* 

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com
phone: 915-850-0900
Licensed in Texas & New Mexico