In most cases, spinal infection is caused when an illness or infection somewhere in the body is carried to a disc in the spinal column. Once infected, the soft nucleus center and the fibrous annual wall of the disc weaken, decay and collapse. This causes the disc space to close, squeezing down on the nerve root and causing pain. The infection spreads to the vertebral bodies above and below the disc, and the bones, weakened by the infection, crumble under the weight of the body. When this happens, the deformed spinal column pushes into the spinal cord, causing many functions of the body to become impaired. Over time, the deformed vertebrae heal and fuse. This further presses on the nerve roots, causing continuous pain.
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