While there are countless issues that can cause back pain, in some rare instances a spinal tumor could be to blame. A spinal tumor is a mass of tissue that affects either the spinal column or the spinal cord. While spinal tumors may also sound serious, there are some cases in which these growths are benign.

Primary spinal tumors usually start in the spine while secondary or metastatic tumors are cancerous and spread from the spine to other parts of the body. There are three common forms of spinal tumors: vertebral column, intradural-extramedullary tumors and intramedullary tumors.

Vertebral Column Tumors

As you may have already guessed by the name, this spinal tumor is one that originates in the vertebral column. These primary spinal tumors are slow growing and often rare. They are seen more in young adults. More often than not these spinal cords are caused by cancer and spread from the spine to other parts of the body.

Intradural-Extramedullary Tumors

These tumors can be found within the spinal canal inside the dura mater, a membrane that covers both the brain and the spinal cord. Most of the time these tumors are benign, but back pain and weakness are still common symptoms despite the fact that the tumors are harmless. Intradural-extramedullary tumors are often either nerve sheath tumors or meningiomas.

Intramedullary Tumors

These tumors grow inside either the spinal cord or its nerve and are most commonly found in the neck (also referred to as the cervical spine). Similar to intradural-extramedullary tumors, these tumors are often times benign but removing them surgically can be more challenging than other types of spinal tumors.

When a spinal tumor is detected a full examination is required to check for cancer anywhere in the body. Besides going through your medical history we will also complete a full physical examination, as well as perform certain diagnostic tests such as a neurological examination, radiographic testing and imaging tests (e.g. MRI). The treatment you receive will depend on the type of tumor you have. Most of the time the tumors are surgically removed; however, rehabilitation and pain management are often important for patients both before and after surgery.

If you have questions about spinal tumors and your treatment options don’t hesitate to call our Fort Worth, TX office today at (817) 377-0143.