Symptoms and Signs of Spinal Tumors

A spinal tumor is a growth of abnormal tissue within or around the spinal cord or vertebrae. Spinal tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). These abnormal cell masses can multiply and grow uncontrollably, quickly leading to adverse symptoms. Any type of tumor, including primary and secondary tumors, can develop in the spine.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of spine tumors can help you know when you may need medical treatment. Our spinal specialists at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery can help you answer any questions you may have about your symptoms, as well as assist you in creating a personalized treatment plan.

Common Symptoms and Signs of Spinal Tumors

Spinal tumors generate various symptoms as the cancer spreads. The backbone, blood vessels, nerves, and vertebrae bones can all be affected by tumor growth. Intense back pain is often the first sign of a spinal tumor. The pain can exacerbate over time, even with medical interventions. Other signs may include the following:

  • Bowel or bladder dysfunction
  • Backaches that worsen at night
  • Difficulty walking, which can lead to falls
  • Decrease in sensitivity to pain, heat, and cold
  • Pain at the tumor site, as the cancerous growths spread
  • Mild or severe muscle weakness in different parts of the body
  • Sensation loss or muscle weakness, particularly in the arms or legs

The tumor’s location in the vertebral column may cause pain or spinal instability as it presses on sensitive nerve endings. When this happens, symptoms like numbness or tingling in the arms or legs may occur. Patients with spinal cancer may experience clumsiness, uneasiness from not knowing where their feet are, and difficulty with buttons or keys. Symptoms of spinal cancer may progress to include weakness, impaired bladder or bowel control, inability to move the legs, and, in extreme cases, paralysis.

The type of tumor, whether vertebral or spinal, including its size, the patient’s age, and overall health history, may all influence how symptoms present. Your spinal surgeon can create a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your specific needs based on their findings. Surgeons at OLSS will use complex or minimally-invasive surgeries to remove as much of the tumor as possible. We’ll also provide pain management therapies to relieve spinal cancer symptoms if needed.

When Should You Seek Medical Attention For a Spinal Tumor?

The symptoms of spinal tumors vary depending on the type, size, and location of the tumor. Some tumors do not even exhibit symptoms, as they’re too small to aggravate nearby tissue. However, as a cancerous tumor grows, it can cause various symptoms, including pain. You may also experience a sharp or shock-like pain in the upper or lower back, which then spreads to the legs and other parts of the body. See a doctor if your back pain intensifies over time, especially at night, and does not improve with rest or medication. 

Treatment for secondary or metastatic spinal tumors may involve pain management and a combination of other therapies, including:

  • Chemotherapy to kill cancer cells in your spine and throughout your body.
  • Radiation therapy, which is done before or after spine surgery to shrink or completely destroy tumor cells and help alleviate pain or related symptoms.
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery, which is a minimally-invasive procedure that functions like other radiotherapy treatments. It uses radiation beams to destroy cancerous cells while preserving surrounding healthy tissue from irradiation.

Your surgeon may also perform traditional open surgery or minimally-invasive procedures like vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty to provide spine stability, improve mobility, and relieve pain.

These treatment options may help reduce or prevent further nerve damage due to spinal cord compression. You may also be a candidate for other therapeutic interventions that enhance spine or nerve function and promote quicker healing. The specialists at OLSS can help you determine what treatment plan will work best for you and your symptoms.

Reach Out to Florida Spinal Specialists at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery Today

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of a spinal tumor, it’s imperative to reach out to a specialist as soon as possible. Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery can help you get the care and support you need as you navigate your tumor and subsequent treatment plans.  

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed here, schedule a comprehensive consultation with a spine specialist at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery. Call us at (855) 853-6542 or fill out our contact form.

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