Once cancer has spread to other tissues causing tumors in various parts of the body it is said to be metastasizing. Tumors in the spine sometimes originate in other parts of the body and can grow in the vertebrae, near the spinal cord or within the spinal cord itself.
The bloodstream and lymph nodes can be modes of travel for cancer cells to get from the original tumor to the spine. Upon arrival, the cancer cells begin to attack the tissue and bone and form new tumors. As the tumors grow they can cause pain and neuralgia (nerve pain) by compressing the spinal nerves.
A tumor’s progression and location determine many of the symptoms associated with metastatic cancer of the spine. Dull aches in the back or shooting pain down the limbs are some of the most common symptoms. Left untreated, the tumors can lead to limited mobility or the possibility of paralysis. Bowel and bladder control problems could also result due to the problems associated with this type of cancer.
Once cancer of the spine has been diagnosed, our physicians at The Spine & Pain Center will coordinate with your primary care physician and your oncologist to determine the best course of action for your care. While an oncologist helps patients get the cancer treatment they need in the form of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery, we will develop a back pain treatment plan that is safe for you to use while undergoing cancer treatment. At our practice, we offer alternative therapies to treat pain and to also relieve the stresses that come with being a cancer patient. We can also offer medication to reduce inflammation on the spinal nerves or administer nerve blocks to damaged spinal nerves to prevent them from sending pain signals to the brain.