Discitis is usually straightforward to treat but difficult to diagnose. It should always be considered in a patient with acute back pain in the presence of fever or malaise.
Disc space infection (pyogenic infectious spondylitis) is an uncommon condition characterised by delayed diagnosis; 50% of adult patients have symptoms for three months beforehand. Symptoms are variable – particularly in children – and signs may be nonspecific. For these reasons, discitis should always be considered in cases of acute back pain in the presence of fever or malaise.