A spinal tumor is an unusual mass of tissue on the spinal cord or the spinal column when the cells grow and multiply uncontrollably. In most cases, spinal tumors are overlooked as they are not typical and do not have particular symptoms different from those common to other complications. However, medical experts such as George Kakoulides, MD, who has multiple years of removing spinal tumors in Huntington, understand some of the signs that can tell you have the condition and look at the following symptoms that signal it.
Back pain is a common condition that a variety of issues can cause. It is indeed one of the earliest signs of a spinal tumor, particularly if it is not associated with musculoskeletal problems. A tumor in the spinal column can cause back pain as it damages the healthy tissues and compresses the nerves. Your experience if you have a spinal tumor can include the following:
Shock-like or sharp pain: you may experience a shock-like pain radiating into your arms, legs, abdomen, or chest. You can also experience acute pain limited to a particular region in the back or traveling through the spinal cord or the nerve root.
Upper or middle back pain: spinal pain from other health complications often occurs in the lower back or the neck area. However, spinal tumor-related pain is more likely to be felt in the middle or upper back.
Deep ache: spinal tumor-related pain will feel like discomfort or achiness deep within the back rather than surface pain.
Worsening pain at night: if you experience back pain that worsens at night versus during the day, it can be due to a spinal tumor. This is because spinal tumor-related pain will not go away with rest, and that is why it can intensify at night and cause sleeping disturbances.
Pain that worsens with compression or touch: spinal tumor-related back pain can intensify or flare up when the tumor or the surrounding area undergoes compression or is touched mainly during strenuous activity.
While back pain is enough identification of a spinal tumor, other accompanying red flags can confirm the spinal tumor diagnosis. Such symptoms include:
- Fever, shakes, or chills
- Vomiting or nausea
- Unexplained weight loss
- Loss of appetite
Experiencing such symptoms alongside back pain can indicate the presence of another serious health complication, if not cancer.
You can experience some neurological defects if the spinal tumor is big enough to compress a nerve root or the spinal cord. You may have the following conditions:
Cauda equina syndrome: this is when the bundle of nerve roots descending from the spine is compressed, causing effects beneath the compression level. You may experience tingling on your buttocks, thighs, genitals, loss of bladder and bowel control, and walking dysfunction.
Myelopathy: This is where the spinal cord becomes compressed, causing numbness in your legs, affecting walking coordination.
Radiculopathy: This condition occurs when the spinal nerves are compressed, causing tingling, numbness, or weakness radiating into your arms, legs, abdomen, or chest. However, the symptoms may vary depending on the position of the tumor.
Early determination and treatment of spinal tumors can save your life. Therefore, contact your doctor as soon as possible if you experience the above symptoms to help you manage your condition.