We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Spinal Tuberculosis?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Spinal tuberculosis is a rare form of tuberculosis where the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria colonize the spine, leading to damage of the spinal discs and subsequent deformity. Archaeological evidence suggests that this disease has been a problem in human populations for thousands of years; it has been documented in a number of ancient human populations, including Egyptian mummies. It was identified and described in the 1800s and there are a number of treatments available for people with spinal tuberculosis.

Also known as extrapulmonary tuberculosis, a reference to the fact that tuberculosis usually involves the lungs, or Pott's disease, after the physician who researched it in the 1800s, this condition can occur when tuberculosis bacteria spread through the vascular system to the spine. As the bacteria grow, they erode the disks between the vertebrae, causing the vertebrae to collapse. This puts pressure on the spine, leading to a curving deformity and instability. When multiple vertebrae are involved, the curvature can be severe.

People with spinal tuberculosis experience back pain and may develop loss of appetite and inexplicable weight loss, paired with fever from the active infection. Some patients develop neurological problems like difficulty walking or paralysis in response to the damage to the spine. A medical examination should reveal a deformity in the back and the spine can be further analyzed with the use of medical imaging studies to look for structural deformities and the tell-tale signs of damaged spinal discs.

Treatment for spinal tuberculosis starts with anti-tuberculosis medications, which may need to be taken for six months or more. If a severe deformity is present, surgery to decompress the spine may be necessary to prevent spinal cord injury. Surgery is usually needed in fewer than 10% of cases, especially if patients are treated early. Patients who are unsure about the need for surgery can meet with a surgeon to discuss options.

Spinal tuberculosis tends to be more common in developing nations, where people may lack access to tuberculosis treatment, or cannot afford to complete courses of tuberculosis medication. It is also a potential complication of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and can be seen in populations of AIDS patients around the world, along with tuberculosis of the lungs. People with AIDS are more prone to developing a wide variety of infections due to decreased immune functionality, and their lack of immune defenses can make them vulnerable to rare complications like spinal tuberculosis.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.