Pyogenic spondylitis involving only the posterior element of a vertebra is rare. To the best of our knowledge, there have been no reports of osteomyelitis of the transverse process. We report here on a 45-year-old male with a one month history of swelling associated with lower back pain. The magnetic resonance imaging showed a paraspinal soft tissue mass, and computed tomography revealed a fine osteolytic lesion in the right transverse process of the 5th lumbar spine, and this was all consistent with chronic osteomyelitis. A mixed staphylococcal infection was identified. Open drainage, resection of the transverse process and intravenous injection of anti-staphylococcal antibiotics resolved the back pain and reduced the erythrocyte sedimentation rate to normal. Pyogenic osteomyelitis of the transverse process is extremely rare, which can cause a misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis. Careful consideration of this disease is needed when evaluating patients who complain of back pain.