SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SOVEREIGN, ISM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Inflamed spinal joint. Side views of part of the spine of a 45-year-old patient who has discitis (inflamed intervertebral discs). The view at left is an X-ray. The view at right is a sagittal MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan. The rear of the spine is at right in both views. Discitis is an inflammation of the discs of cartilage cushioning the vertebrae, the blocks of bone that make up the spine. This inflammation is between the T6 and T7 vertebrae in the thoracic (chest) region of the spine. Ribs are seen in the X-ray. The inflamed area is best seen at the centre of the MRI, where a swollen area is seen pressing into the spinal cord (structure at left of the vertebral bodies). Discitis is thought to be caused by infection, and antibiotics and rest are thought to help.
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