Back pain is one of the common problems, but patients often ask the doctor whether it can be a sign of spinal cancer or not. Back pain is not always related to tumors, but it is important to consult your doctor. This guide will explain to you the relation between back pain and spinal tumor.
Are you wondering whether your chronic back pain might be the reason for a spinal tumor? Let’s understand this in detail.
Types of Spinal Tumor
Spinal cancer or tumor is the abnormal growth of cancer cells in the spinal column. In some cases, the tumor can be cancerous or non-cancerous. With cancerous tumors, the cells uncontrollably divide themselves and they spread through the blood to other body parts. Here are the types of spinal tumor:
- Primary tumors start in the spinal column and it might be cancerous or non-cancerous.
- Secondary tumors spread to the spine through other body parts and it is cancerous. This type of cancer is also known as metastatic tumors.
Another way to classify the spinal tumor is by determining its presence which includes:
- Within the spinal cord’s protective covering (intradural-extramedullary)
- Within the spinal cord itself (intramedullary)
- Outside the spinal cord (extradural)
*Note: The tumor which grows in the vertebrae makes the spinal bone weak that they might break & collapse.
What does spinal cancer pain feel like?
The back pain caused by cancerous spinal cancer can feel like:
- It starts slowly and gets worse with time.
- Rest does not help and pain might increase at night.
- Lower or upper back have a sharp pain that can reach the chest, legs, or other body parts.
How does spinal cancer trigger back pain?
A spinal tumor can cause back pain due to:
- Bone gets weak or expands.
- Vertebrae get fractured
- Spinal nerve roots or spinal cord get compressed.
- Spinal Instability
Who is at more risk of spinal cancer?
Cancer can occur with age, especially with people above the age of 50 or who have undergone cancer treatment are at higher risk of a spinal tumor.
The growth of spinal tumors depends on the type of cancer. At the start, the growth might be small and only in the spine, or it might have spread to other body parts. If the cancer is not treated then it will keep on growing which can turn out to be life-threatening.
Treatment options include:
- Radiation therapy
- Surgery for tumor removal
In the advanced cases, the surgery is an ideal choice and along with that palliative care can reduce the pain and help the person to get back to a normal working routine.
Seek medical help
If the back pain is persistent for weeks then you need to consult the health care professional right away. The timely medical evaluation will help your life to get back on track.