Every day, hundreds of thousands of men and women wake up with back pain. Sometimes the back pain is simply because they slept in a weird position that put a strain on their back or because they injured their back muscles by lifting something heavy a day or two earlier.
Quite often, the back pain fades and disappears within a couple of days. However, lasting back pain can be indicative of many other more serious maladies and conditions. Common problems associated with back pain include:
- A herniated disc
- A strain on the Sciatica
- Degenerative Disc Disease
More serious maladies that could cause lasting and worsening back pain, among other symptoms, include:
- A spinal infection
- A spinal fracture
- Pinched nerves
- An abdominal aneurysm
- And, possibly, a spinal cord tumor
If you have developed a spinal cord tumor, it is very likely that you will develop additional symptoms in addition to your back pain as the tumor continues to grow larger in size.
Obviously, if you experience back pain that grows worse over time, you will want to see your physician. But it is important to give your physician as many details as possible about the pain so that he can give you a more informed diagnosis.
For example, where does the back pain radiate from, and how far does it spread to other areas in your body. Do you also feel pain in the neck area?
Other things you should make note of include:
- Has medication helped to alleviate the pain at all?
- Does the pain grow worse in the evening or when you are lying down?
- Has the amount of pain remained the same, or has it been growing steadily worse?
- Do you feel pain or tenderness along the spinal area?
Informing your physician of these details will help him better assess your situation and make a better determination as to whether you might be suffering from a spinal column tumor.
At this point, the pain could still indicate problems other than a spinal tumor, but your physician will likely order a test or two to see exactly what might be causing the pain. An MRI is required in order to diagnose a spinal cord tumor.
If you are experiencing any other symptoms in addition to your back pain, you should also let your physician know, as a combination of symptoms can be indicative of a spinal cord tumor. Other symptoms you may experience if you have a tumor include:
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of muscle control
- Loss of control over bodily functions
- Weakness in the legs
- Loss of sensation in the extremities
- Loss of appetite and nausea
- Fever-like symptoms, such as chills
- Numbness in the arms, legs, fingers and toes
- Increased sensitivity to heat and cold in the extremities
- A loss of feeling or less sensitivity to pain in the extremities
Could It Be Cancer?
If you do have a tumor, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is cancerous. You can develop both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors in the spinal column. Usually spinal cord tumors are benign and they can often be cured with surgery
A non-cancerous tumor can take weeks to develop while cancerous tumors are quicker to grow in size and cause symptoms such as those mentioned above. The symptoms occur mainly because the spinal cord tumor is pressing upon or compressing nerves in and around the spinal column, which is also known as spinal cord compression.
Symptoms can vary according to the size and type of the tumor, as well as its location along the spine.
What to Do If You Think You May Have a Spinal Column Tumor
If you have been experiencing worsening back pain along with one or some of the above symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible. If the ordered tests show that it is indeed a spinal column tumor, early prevention is the best chance for a successful recovery, and the surgical procedures are typically minimally invasive.
Either way, experiencing symptoms such as those mentioned above can also be caused by other serious conditions, so it is important to be checked by a physician regardless of whether you think it may be a tumor or not.
Make a note of any and all symptoms that you feel, even ones that aren’t listed in this article. Make note of the time of day they occurred, how frequently and how extreme they may be. Contact your physician for an appointment and seek a second opinion as well if you are able.
If your physician believes you have spinal cord tumor, he or she will order an MRI. The MRI will also help to pinpoint the location of the tumor to see exactly where the spinal cord compression is taking place. Speak to the physician about your options if you do have a tumor, and then begin researching spinal surgery specialists in case surgical procedures are required.