About Spinal Tumors

Spinal tumors are a growth in or near your spinal cord or spinal bones (vertebrae). It can be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Even if the spinal tumor isn’t cancer, it can cause problems by pressing on the spinal nerves. This can cause pain, nerve problems and sometimes paralysis.

Spinal tumors grow at different rates. Malignant (cancerous) tumors usually grow more quickly, but benign (noncancerous) tumors may develop slowly. A benign spinal tumor can exist for years or even decades before causing problems.

Causes of spinal tumors

Spine specialists and researchers don’t know what causes most spinal tumors. They sometimes run in families, and are associated with other types of tumors that run in families (familial cancer syndromes). These include:

  • Neurofibromatosis 2
  • Von Hippel-Lindau disease 

Having a weakened immune system from medication or disease can be associated with a type of spinal tumor called spinal cord lymphoma.  

Spinal tumor symptoms 

Spinal tumors cause many different symptoms, including:  

  • Back pain, often spreading to other parts of your body and worse at night
  • Numbness or weakness, especially in your legs
  • Trouble walking
  • Falling
  • Feeling less sensitive to pain, heat and cold
  • Loss of control over bladder or bowels
  • Scoliosis
  • Paralysis in parts of your body 

Symptoms of spinal tumors depend on where the tumor is located, its size and other factors.