Spinal Tumors: The Types And Causes That You Should Know
Medically a spinal tumor or spinal cord tumor is known as Intradural Tumor. But we will stick to calling it a spinal tumor just to make for an easy understanding. It can occur anywhere on the spinal cord- starting from within to the covering of the cord or the Dura. When it extends to the spine or vertebra, it is called a vertebral tumor.
There are two main types of spinal tumors:
They occur within the supporting cells of the spinal cord. Located within the substance of the spinal cord, they are quite rare. Gliomas, astrocytomas and ependymomas are examples of Intramedullary tumors of the spine.
2.Extramedullary spinal tumors:
These tumors develop in the membrane surrounding the spinal cord or in the nerve roots that extend from it. Depending on their size and location, they may cause spinal cord compression and affect the functioning of the spine. Meningiomas, schwannomas, nerve sheath tumors, and neurofibromas are some of the extramedullary spinal tumors.
. Tumors from other parts of the body that metastasize and spread to the vertebrae and the spinal cord.
What are the causes?
The reasons that cause a spinal tumor are as unclear as they are definitive. Genetics plays a big role. So do environmental factors and lifestyle choices. Some spinal tumors may occur due to Neurofibromatosis 2 and Von-Hippel Lindau Disease, both of which are inherited syndromes.
Symptoms Of The Secret Invaders
The onset of spinal tumors is mostly a silent and secret process. When the tumor pro gresses in size, it will start showing its presence through various symptoms:
. General weakness of the body which can be mild or severe.
The most common symptom is persistent back pain. It occurs more often and increases with intensity. Spinal tumors grow at different rates and symptoms manifest accordingly. It should also be noted that some tumors may be benign or non-cancerous but they will cause other problems.
Seeking Medical Help
When the symptoms ring enough warning bells, it is best to consult a doctor at the earliest. But not all back pains are symptoms of a tumor. There can be numerous other reasons too. But early diagnosis of spinal tumors is imperative as it gives more time to treat the problem.
Here are the symptoms that warrant immediate medical consultation:
. If the pain is unrelenting and progressive.
Early detection of spinal tumors is vital to prevent further damage to the spinal nerves that can lead to loss of function.