What To Do For Spinal Cysts That Won’t Go Away

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: November 13, 2017

Spinal Synovial Cysts

Cysts are small fluid-filled sacs that can develop throughout your body for one reason or another. In fact, you probably have a cyst or two in your body right now but you don’t even know it because they are not symptomatic. However, for many people across the United States, not only are these growths symptomatic, but they aren’t responding well to conservative care treatments. So what should people do if spinal cysts are causing them pain and traditional conservative methods aren’t providing relief? We explain in this blog.

Hands-On Treatments For Spinal Synovial Cysts

Cysts that form in the spinal region are known as synovial cysts, and they form when excessive rubbing or abnormal movement between two vertebrae occur. This process can occur for a number of different reasons, including spinal trauma, a separate spinal condition like scoliosis or spondylolisthesis, or because of a previous failed surgery.

Many people notice pain relief for their synovial cyst through conservative measures like rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications and stretching or exercise techniques. If you’ve tried those techniques and you’re still experiencing pain, head into a spine specialist’s office. After examining the cyst with an MRI or another imaging technique, here are three hands-on treatment techniques they may recommend:

Aggressive Non-Surgical Physical Modifications

This may be the first type of treatment you’ll receive if conservative care techniques don’t work. This type of treatment involves more targeted conservative treatment techniques, like postural modifications, orthotic inserts to shift how the spine displaces weight, and adjustments to your spinal alignment. Most of these treatments are guided by the spinal specialist who knows exactly where the cyst is located and which lifestyle modifications are most likely to provide relief. These are paired with traditional conservative techniques like stretching and exercise to give the patient the highest likelihood of finding pain relief.

Epidural Injections

An epidural injection into the spinal facet can help reduce swelling, which in turn can reduce pain and discomfort in the area. The doctor may also opt to drain the cyst using a needle, but it may return if the underlying cause of its formation is not addressed. Epidural injections are often viewed as more of a temporary relief option.


Surgery to remove the cysts is obviously more invasive, but it is much more likely to take care of the problem for good. The cyst removal procedure may be paired with another spinal operation like a spinal fusion to prevent the abnormal vertebral motion that caused the cyst in the first place from happening again. Since surgery does carry some risks, it is usually only pursued if multiple other treatment options have failed to provide relief.

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