Are you having back pain with any of the following?

  • Severe pain, weakness or tingling in your leg(s).
  • Difficulty stopping urination or loss of control of bladder or bowels.
  • Unexplained fever, nausea or vomiting.
  • A history of cancer or unexplained weight loss.

We understand that you are experiencing one or more of the health issues that might be impacting your back pain.

We recommend that you discuss these health issues with your doctor before proceeding with this program.

Once you are cleared by your doctor to do this program, we hope it helps you find relief from your back pain.



Sepsis is an illness in which the body has a severe response to bacteria or other germs. Sepsis is usually caused by a major bacterial infection, although it may also be caused by viral or fungal infections. The symptoms of sepsis are not caused by germs themselves. Instead, chemicals the body releases cause the response. It can spread more aggressively if you have a weakened immune system, often because of another underlying disease, such as heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia, or kidney failure. People being treated for AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy may also be at risk for developing sepsis.

The earlier we can diagnose sepsis, the more effective the treatment. Sepsis is treated with antibiotics, fluids, given through an IV (intravenously, through a vein), and other emergency life-saving measures. When it becomes a life-threatening situation, the condition is often known as septic shock.

Sepsis is an emergency condition, requiring immediate treatment. Septic shock requires prompt treatment in a hospital intensive care unit (ICU). If sepsis or septic shock is treated promptly, most people will recover from sepsis. Even with timely treatment, there is a risk of organ damage or death.


A person who is suffering from sepsis may notice a change in mental alertness. Their breathing may become very rapid. These are often the earliest signs of sepsis. Other common symptoms of sepsis include:

  • Very low blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Confusion, lightheadedness, and agitation
  • Decreased urine output
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fever

If you are in the hospital, please let us know as soon as possible if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

Call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room immediately if someone near you exhibits signs of sepsis, especially if the person:

  • Has had an organ transplant
  • Has AIDS or diabetes
  • Is undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment
  • Is an infant or elderly person

Causes and Risk Factors

Sepsis is normally caused by a serious bacterial infection, although it may also be caused by viral or fungal infections. Pneumonia, a lung infection, abdominal infections such as appendicitis, skin infections, meningitis, infection around the brain, or even an untreated urinary tract infection can potentially develop into sepsis.

If an infection is severe enough, any person can develop sepsis. Some people at higher risk for sepsis include people who have organ transplants, those with kidney or liver failure, or those who are being treated with immunosuppressive medications. In addition, if you have suffered from burns or are undergoing cancer treatment, you may also be at risk for severe infection that could lead to sepsis.


Sepsis is normally diagnosed with a careful history taken from the patient and/or the patient’s family. We may perform a range of tests, including blood tests that can check for signs of infection and kidney and liver function tests.

Other laboratory tests may include a spinal tap to check the spinal fluid for meningitis or other infections, urine testing to check for urinary tract infection, or a wound fluid or secretion sample test, if appropriate, to identify the type of infection. This will help us to determine the most effective antibiotic treatment.

Imaging tests, such as X-rays or computed tomography (CT) scans can help pinpoint particular organs or areas that may be actively infected. Your doctor will determine which tests are appropriate for your situation.


Sepsis is an emergency condition, requiring prompt treatment. Medical treatment for sepsis will normally include:

  • Intravenous antibiotic medication and life sustaining fluids.
  • Medication to increase blood pressure.
  • Oxygen through a nasal tube, mask, or tube inserted down the throat, to maintain blood oxygen levels.

Depending upon your other symptoms, treatment may also include the use of insulin to help stabilize blood sugar levels, and medicine like prednisone to reduce inflammation.

In the case of severely limited kidney function, kidney replacement or dialysis may also accompany other treatments for sepsis. Surgery may also be needed to clean or drain the site of the infection.

Additional References:

If you have an emergency medical condition, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. An emergency medical condition is any of the following: (1) a medical condition that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain) such that you could reasonably expect the absence of immediate medical attention to result in serious jeopardy to your health or body functions or organs; (2) active labor when there isn't enough time for safe transfer to a Plan hospital (or designated hospital) before delivery, or if transfer poses a threat to your (or your unborn child's) health and safety, or (3) a mental disorder that manifests itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that either you are an immediate danger to yourself or others, or you are not immediately able to provide for, or use, food, shelter, or clothing, due to the mental disorder.

This information is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of specific medical advice or care you receive from your physician or other health care professional. If you have persistent health problems, or if you have additional questions, please consult with your doctor. If you have questions or need more information about your medication, please speak to your pharmacist. Kaiser Permanente does not endorse the medications or products mentioned. Any trade names listed are for easy identification only.