- A "pins and needles" feeling
- Back pain and tenderness when touched
- Weakness in a cauda equina, paraplegic (two limb) or quadriplegic (four limb) pattern
- Weakness that gets worse over a period of hours or days before suddenly worsening to the point of paralysis in two limbs (an arm and a leg) or all four (both arms and both legs)
- Motor control symptoms that vary depending on the location of the abscess
Causes and Risk Factors
Usually the patient has an infection that has spread to the spinal area, but about a third of the cases develop without any known cause. These types of infections are usually caused by Staphylococcus aureus, followed by Escherichia coli and mixed anaerobes. Rarely, a tuberculous abscess develops with Pott's disease of the thoracic spine.