Could My Spine Pain Be Cancer?

Category: Spine Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: June 3, 2021

Spinal x-ray

When a new pain develops, especially if there is no obvious cause as to why it has started, our minds can start racing as to what could be going on. Sometimes this leads people to jump to the worst possible potential outcome, which is oftentimes cancer. So could that new pain in your spine be cancer, or are you getting worked up over something much smaller? In today’s blog, we take a closer look at when your spine pain could be cancer and what you should do about newly developed back pain without an obvious cause.

Causes and Symptoms Of Spinal Cancer

The most common way that spinal cancer can develop in a person’s spine is in the form of a tumor. These tumors can either originate in the spinal column (primary) or develop as a result of spreading from another area of the body (secondary). About 90 percent of spinal tumors are secondary tumors that have metastasized from another area of the body, which means treatment may oftentimes focus on treating cancer in other areas as well.

The good news is that spinal cancer is very rare. With that said, you’ll still want to know the symptoms so you can catch any potential issue in its infancy. Some symptoms of spinal tumors include:

  • Pain that gradually worsens over time
  • Pain that does not improve with rest
  • Shooting pain sensations in the upper or lower back, or to the chest and legs

Symptoms that may be indicative of cancer that aren’t housed in the spine include unexplained weight loss, fever, chills and nausea.

Diagnosing and Treating Spinal Cancer

If you are suffering from any of the symptoms listed above, you have a family history of spinal cancer or you just want to rule the condition out, sync up with a spine specialist like Dr. Sinicropi. He’ll begin by reviewing your medical history, asking about your symptoms and conducting a physical exam. This will tell him a lot about your spine, but he’ll need to conduct some imaging tests to really understand what’s going on in your back. An X-ray, MRI or CT scan may be ordered to help pinpoint the precise cause of your discomfort.

Treatment will obviously depend on the underlying cause of your back pain. As we mentioned above, spinal cancer is very rare, so in most instances we have to walk someone through a completely different treatment plan. Whether it be a pinched nerve, spinal fracture or shifted disc, we can help develop an individualized treatment plan to resolve your spine pain.

On the off chance that your discomfort is caused by a spinal tumor, we’ll conduct some additional tests to determine if it is a primary or secondary tumor, and then we’ll develop a treatment plan from there. Treatment will depend on a few different factors, but some of the most common treatment plans involve:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Surgical removal

Your surgeon will walk you through which treatment plan they believe is best based on your specific scenario, but treatments are most effective when the issue is caught early on, so don’t ignore any new back pain that has developed.

For more information about spinal cancer, or to talk to a specialist about your back discomfort, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.

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