The spine is an important part of the body. When something happens to your spine, it can affect how well you can function on a daily basis. While minor discomfort may be easily dealt with, more severe pain can lead to an inability to do the things you used to love to do. Spinal cord tumors are one such spinal issue that can significantly affect the way you live your life.
What Are Spinal Cord Tumors?
Spinal cord tumors are growths within the spine. There are two types: extramedullary and intramedullary. Extramedullary tumors grow on the outside of the spine, and intramedullary tumors start within the spinal column. These tumors can be cancerous or noncancerous. No matter if they are extramedullary or intramedullary, or if they are cancerous or not, these tumors can lead to some very severe issues, such as pain, neurological issues or permanent disability. In some cases, they can even lead to death.
Symptoms of Spinal Cord Tumors
There are several different symptoms of spinal cord tumors. Common symptoms include radiating back pain and a loss of feeling in the arms or legs, depending on the location of the tumor. You may also experience difficulty walking, muscle weakness, a decreased sensitivity to heat or cold, and even loss of bodily functions.
Treatment Options for Spinal Cord Tumors
There are several treatment options available for spinal cord tumors:
- Monitoring. If the tumors are small, noncancerous and don’t pose any immediate threats to your quality of life, monitoring may be a likely choice. Doctors can perform CT of MRI scans occasionally to ensure that the tumors aren’t growing or beginning to cause problems.
- Surgery. Surgery is an option if it is considered low risk. In this case, the surgeon will manually remove the tumors.
- Radiation. Radiation therapy may be used to shrink or eliminate tumors that cannot be completely removed.
- Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs and other medications may be recommended by your doctor to treat spinal tumors.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapy provides exercises to strengthen your upper and lower extremities, trunk, and spine. These exercises will also help decrease pain and improve endurance and balance.
- Corticosteroids. An injection of a corticosteroid reduces inflammation and helps control pain.
If you are experiencing any symptoms associated with spinal cord tumors or wish to receive more information about them, as well as treatment options, come visit one of our 14 locations or call us today at (973) 669-0078.