Spondylodiscitis, a term encompassing vertebral osteomyelitis, spondylitis and discitis, is the main manifestation of haematogenous osteomyelitis in patients aged over 50 years. Staphylococcus aureus is the predominant pathogen, accounting for about half of non-tuberculous cases. Diagnosis is difficult and often delayed or missed due to the rarity of the disease and the high frequency of low back pain in the general population. In this review of the published literature, we found no randomized trials on treatment and studies were too heterogeneous to allow comparison. Improvements in surgical and radiological techniques and the discovery of antimicrobial therapy have transformed the outlook for patients with this condition, but morbidity remains significant. Randomized trials are needed to assess optimal treatment duration, route of administration, and the role of combination therapy and newer agents.