What Does It Mean When Back Pain Is Accompanied By a fever?

What Does It Mean When Back Pain Is Accompanied By a fever?

If you have back pain along with a high fever, this could mean that you have a spinal infection and need to receive medical attention as quickly as possible.

The various possibilities when back pain combines with a fever include:

Spinal Epidural Abscess, an infection of the lumbar region of the spine

Vertebral Osteomyelitis, an infection of the lumbar spine that can cause pain in the arms and legs, along with the lower back

Kidney Infection

Meningitis, which causes swelling and inflammation of the brain and spine.

Spinal Cord Abscess, which is an infection of the internal part of the spine. 

What are the causes of a spinal infection?

Spinal infections can be the result of a bacterial or fungal infection that starts in another part of the body and gets carried into the spine through the bloodstream. The two most common sources of spinal infections are a bacterium called staphylococcus aureus and E. coli.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the risk factors for developing spinal infection include conditions that compromise the immune system, such as:

Advanced age

Intravenous drug use

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection

Long-term systemic usage of steroids

Diabetes mellitus

Organ transplantation



As stated at the top of this article, getting medical care when you have symptoms of a spinal infection is very important. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent the progression of the infection and may help to limit the extent of the medical intervention required to treat the infection. Should you delay, and the infection does progress, there could be lasting damage inflicted on the bony and soft tissue structures of and around the spine.

*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Kind Regards,

The SpineAlign Team