The spinal cord can develop tumors, just like the rest of your body. And, while just the sound of such a thing sounds scary, we can remove them at Texas Neurosurgery and remove the pain you’ve been feeling with them.
Spinal cord tumors
Spinal cord tumors are similar to any other type of tumor. It’s never known why they form, but they can be a primary (sole) tumor or can be the result of cancer that has spread from another location. A tumor is simply a mass of damaged cells that have rapidly multiplied and grown out of control. This growth can destroy nearby cells, or simply cause them to malfunction. Spinal cord tumors can interrupt the connection between the brain and the nerves, or it can inhibit the spinal cord blood supply.
There are two types of tumors that may involve the spinal cord, intramedullary or extramedullary tumors. Intramedullary tumors begin in the cells of the spinal cord. Extramedullary tumors develop around the spinal cord. Although they don’t grow within the cord, they can affect spinal cord function by causing spinal cord compression. Tumors that spread from other areas of the body are usually extramedullary.
What are the symptoms of a spinal cord tumor?
The majority of spinal cord tumors grow below the neck. The symptoms usually take place in the same region of the body or below where the tumor has formed. As the tumor grows, symptoms can increase or change. These symptoms may include:
- Back pain that may radiate to other parts of the body
- Loss of feeling, usually in the arms or legs
- Decreased pain sensitivity
- Decreased sensitivity to temperatures
- Loss of bowel or bladder function
- Difficulty walking
- Increased propensity for falling
- Muscle weakness in different parts of the body
As a general rule, cancerous spinal tumors grow more quickly than noncancerous tumors.
When to come see the team at Texas Neurosurgery
Back pain isn’t usually caused by a spinal cord tumor, so there is no reason to immediately come to that conclusion. But if your back pain has certain characteristics, call us:
- It’s not related to any activity
- It’s persistent and progressive
- It’s worse at night
Also, see us immediately if you have progressive muscle weakness or numbness in your legs, or if you have changes in bowel or bladder function.
Spinal cord tumors usually compress surrounding nerves and cause pain and an increasing loss of function. They need to be removed surgically. Many spinal cord tumors are easy to remove because they do not form on the actual spinal cord. Others are more challenging if they are hard to distinguish from the normal spinal cord tissue.
The team at Texas Neurosurgery has vast experience in removing spinal cord tumors. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms noted above, don’t hesitate to call us at 214-823-2052. We’re confident we can remove the tumor and with it the chronic pain you’re experiencing.