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Common Symptoms That Could Be Signs of Spinal Tumors

Tumors are a rare but serious spinal condition. Spinal tumors form when cells in your spinal column multiply uncontrollably and an abnormal mass begins growing.

Some research shows that people with a history of cancer may be at the greatest risk of developing spinal tumors. But the truth is anyone can develop a spinal tumor, and experts aren’t sure what causes them.

If you notice unusual symptoms of back pain that aren’t related to a musculoskeletal condition, don’t hesitate to visit a spine specialist. George Kakoulides, MD, a trained neurosurgeon, specializes in diagnosing and treating rare spine conditions, including spinal tumors.

Read on to learn common symptoms that could indicate a spinal tumor.

Spinal tumors often start with back pain

The first and most common symptom of a spinal tumor is back pain. However, nearly 65 million American adults report experiencing back pain recently — so how do you know what’s causing your discomfort? 

The only way to identify the root cause of your back pain is by visiting the doctor. Dr. Kakoulides and our team work with patients of all ages suffering from spinal pain. Our comprehensive diagnosing testing helps determine your condition so we can help you find the best course of treatment.

If you suffer back pain due to a spinal tumor, the type of pain you experience may vary depending on the tumor’s location and size. 

Spinal cord tumors originate within your spinal cord or the sheath that covers the spinal cord called the dura. These tumors may impact nerve function and cause radiating back pain that spreads to your arms or legs.

Vertebral tumors develop on the bones of your spine. These tumors may be more likely to cause localized pain and stiffness within the back that may not radiate to other parts of your body. But even vertebral tumors can grow and begin interfering with nerve function.

Other symptoms of spinal tumors

When a spinal tumor interferes with nerve function, pain and other symptoms may not be limited to your back. Symptoms often change or get more severe as the tumor continues to grow.

Additional symptoms that could indicate a spinal tumor include:

In severe cases, people with spinal tumors might suffer the loss of bowel or bladder function and spinal deformity due to tumor growth. Spinal tumors can also cause paralysis, but the degree of paralysis depends upon the severity of the tumor.

Receiving a spinal tumor diagnosis

Spinal tumors are relatively rare, and other, more common conditions are often ruled out before the doctor moves toward diagnosing a spinal tumor. When you come to Dr. Kakoulides for your back pain, you can be confident that you’ll receive the most comprehensive evaluation possible.

The symptoms you experience don’t always indicate the type of tumor you have. Both benign and malignant tumors can trigger pain and nerve problems, but treatment varies depending on the type of tumor that’s identified.

To confirm your diagnosis, Dr. Kakoulides generally orders imaging tests, such as an MRI or CT scan, and combines the results with a thorough review of your medical history. Your treatment plan is customized based on your needs but may include surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy.

To schedule your first appointment, contact the location nearest you today.

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