What Are The Symptoms Of Spinal Tumors
The symptoms of spinal tumors depend on several factors, including:
- Where the tumor is in and along your spinal column.
- How big the tumor is.
- What type of tumor it is.
Some spinal tumors cause no symptoms because theyre small enough to not press on and irritate nearby tissues. However, as a tumor grows, it can cause certain symptoms, especially pain.
Spinal tumor pain
Back pain is the most common symptom of both benign and malignant spinal tumors. Pain from spinal tumors in your middle or lower back is more common, as tumors are more likely to develop in those regions of your spine.
Pain from a spinal tumor usually:
- Isnt specifically associated with an injury, stress or physical activity but can get worse with strain, such as from exercise, sneezing or coughing.
- Is aching and deep.
- Starts slowly and gradually increases.
- Is persistent at night, sometimes to the point of disrupting sleep.
- Over time, becomes intense and disruptive even at rest.
- Doesnt respond to conservative pain relief therapies and medications.
Spinal tumors can also cause radicular pain, which is pain that radiates from your spine to your hips, legs, feet or arms. Radicular pain often feels sharp and shooting.
Other symptoms of spinal tumors
Depending on the location and type of the spinal tumor, other signs and symptoms in addition to pain can develop. This usually happens when the tumor grows and presses on your spinal cord or your nerve roots, blood vessels or bones of your spine.
When Should You Call Your Doctor
- A lump or swelling in your neck. This is the most common symptom of thyroid cancer.
- Pain in your neck and sometimes in your ears that doesn’t go away and is not caused by a cold or allergies
- Hoarseness that is not related to a cold
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty breathing or constant wheezing
- A cough that continues and is not related to a cold
Pinched Blood Vessels & Thyroid
The cervical spine is intertwined with not just nerves but also blood vessels. C7 disruption can pinch the nerves as well as the blood vessels including the blood vessels to your thyroid gland.
In order to function properly, your thyroid gland requires proper blood flow to carry oxygen-rich blood via arteries to the thyroid gland and take the waste products away from the thyroid gland via veins. If there is disruption to that blood circulation to and from the thyroid gland, say from the blood vessels being pinched by misalignment of your C7 vertebra, it can impact its functioning.
If you look closely at the diagram above you will also notice the carotid arteries which branch off from the aorta a short distance from the heart. They extend upward through the neck carrying oxygen-rich blood up to the head including your precious brain.
Hypothyroid patients come in droves to Hypothyroid Mom complaining about all sorts of head and brain-related symptoms, everything from brain fog, attention deficit, memory problems, headache, vertigo, mental health issues, hair loss, and eye and ear problemstoo. Considering the possibility of interrupted blood flow to the thyroid gland but also to the head region from cervical spine disruption, I often ask my Hypothyroid Mom readers with symptoms related to the head region these questions:
Do you experience dizziness, blurry vision, or ringing in your ears upon turning your head from side to side?
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Drugs To Treat Bone Metastases
The drugs used most often for treating bone problems in people with bone metastases are the bisphosphonate drugs pamidronate and zoledronic acid and the drug denosumab . These drugs are given intravenously or subcutaneously . Most patients are treated once a month at first, but may be able to be treated less often later on if they are doing well. Treatment with one of these drugs can help prevent further bone damage and events related to weakened bones such as fractures, hypercalcemia, and spinal cord compression.
These treatments can have a rare but serious side effect called osteonecrosis of the jaw . Patients complain of pain and doctors find that part of the jawbone has died. This can lead to an open sore that doesnt heal or tooth loss in that area. The jawbone can also become infected. Having jaw surgery or having a tooth removed can trigger this problem. It is best to avoid these procedures while you are taking one of these medicines. One way to avoid these dental procedures is to maintain good oral hygiene by flossing, brushing, making sure that dentures fit properly, and having regular dental checkups. Any tooth or gum infections should be treated right away. If ONJ does occur, the doctor will stop the bone medicine.
How Are Spinal Tumors Diagnosed
As primary spinal tumors often have no symptoms , healthcare providers often find them incidentally when a person is getting an imaging test for another reason.
People with symptomatic spinal tumors often believe that their back pain is related to a real or suspected injury in the recent past. If youre experiencing back pain, its important to see your healthcare provider, especially if you have cancer.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history. Theyll also perform a neurological examination to check for the following symptoms:
- Tenderness in your spine.
- Loss of pain and/or temperature sensation.
- Abnormal reflexes.
- Muscle weakness.
Your healthcare provider will also order certain tests to help confirm or rule out a tumor diagnosis.
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How Does Chordoma Form
Scientists are always working to understand how cancer forms, but it can be hard to prove. We know that many people with chordoma have a small change in a protein called brachyury, made by the TBXT gene. Changes in other genes have also been found. Scientists are using brachyury to develop immunotherapy for chordoma.
Understanding The Causes Of Tailbone Pain
Coccydynia, commonly called tailbone pain refers to persistent pain at the very bottom of your spine. You may develop this pain after direct trauma or spontaneously without a specific inciting factor. The pain typically lasts for weeks to months and can become debilitating.1
The medical term for your tailbone is the coccyx. Watch:Coccydynia Video
This blog outlines all you need to know about your tailbone , including the specific causes, symptoms, and treatments for tailbone pain.
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Head To The Doctor If You Notice Swelling Or Changes In Your Lymph Nodes
According to Healthline, your lymph nodes are small glands that play a crucial part in immune function. They are located at different areas of the body, includingunder the jaw and on either side of the neck. Lymph nodes frequently become swollen as a result of cancer, so itâs very important to be seen by a medical expert if you notice any enlargement or tenderness under your jaw or on either side of your neck.
How Are Bone Mets Treated
Treating bone mets is important because it can improve symptoms and your quality of life. Often, treatment of your primary cancer is the best treatment for bone metastasis. There are also treatments used to treat bone mets. These treatments are either systemic or local . Clinical trials, physical therapy, and pain management may also be used to manage bone mets.
Systemic treatments get into the bloodstream and go throughout the whole body to kill cancer cells. They can be given by mouth or directly into a vein . Systemic treatments are:
- Medication: Chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and hormone therapy treat the primary cancer and can go through the body to kill cancer cells, including bone met cells. Bisphosphonates can help make diseased bone stronger and prevent fractures. Denosumab is a targeted therapy that can prevent further bone damage from cancer cells.
- Radionuclide Therapy: A radioactive element is injected into the body and goes inside the bone mets. The radiation kills the cancer cells and lessens pain.
Local therapies target only the bone met and not the whole body:
More information about the treatment of bone mets can be found in Bone Metastases Treatment.
Research is ongoing in the prevention and treatment of bone metastases. Your care team will monitor you for bone mets throughout your cancer treatments. If you have bone mets, talk with your provider about your treatment options and how to best manage your mets.
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Can Thyroid Cancer Be Prevented
Most thyroid cancer cannot be prevented.
One rare type of thyroid cancer, called medullary thyroid cancer , runs in families. A genetic test can tell you if you have a greater chance of getting MTC. If this test shows that you have an increased risk, you can have your thyroid gland removed to reduce your risk for thyroid cancer later in life.
Thyroid Nodule Symptom # : A Lump In The Neck That You Can See Or Other People Can See
- What to do about it?
Thyroid nodules that the patient can see, or somebody else can see should almost always be examined by an ultrasound test. Depending on the characteristics of the nodule , the nodule may need a needle biopsy. Almost all thyroid nodules that can be seen should have a FNA thyroid needle biopsy.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
If you have thyroid cancer, you may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- Why did I get thyroid cancer?
- What type of thyroid cancer do I have?
- Has the cancer spread outside of the thyroid gland?
- What is the best treatment for this type of thyroid cancer?
- What are the treatment risks and side effects?
- Will I need thyroid replacement hormone therapy?
- Is my family at risk for developing this type of thyroid cancer? If so, should we get genetic tests?
- Can I get thyroid cancer again?
- Am I at risk for other types of cancer?
- What type of follow-up care do I need after treatment?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is unsettling, regardless of the type. Fortunately, most thyroid cancers respond extremely well to treatment. Your healthcare provider can discuss the best treatment option for the type of thyroid cancer you have. After treatment, you may need to take synthetic thyroid hormones for life. These hormones support vital body functions. They usually dont cause any significant side effects, but youll have regular checkups to monitor your health.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/13/2020.
Sitting On A Hard Surface
If you sit on a hard chair or hard surface for too long, you may feel pain in your tailbone. It can also happen when youâre driving or if on a heavily cushioned surface if youâre in awkward position.
Standing up or walking may ease the ache. You can also try heat, massage, over-the-counter pain relievers, and sitting on a doughnut-shaped cushion.
To prevent tailbone pain, use good form when you sit down.
- Keep your back against the chair.
- Keep your knees level with your hips.
- Keep your feet on the floor.
- Relax your shoulders.
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Tailbone Problems Make Sitting Painful
Tailbone injuries typically have classic symptoms. Depending on the cause and severity, pain from an injured tailbone can be mild to severe and range from a dull ache to sharp, stabbing pain.
Three unique symptoms of a tailbone injury include3:
- Pain while sitting. When you sit, a large portion of your body weight rests on your tailbone area. When you have coccydynia, sitting may be uncomfortable and cause localized pain in the region around your tailbone. Sitting on both hard and soft surfaces may elicit pain.
- Pain while partly reclining. If you lean back while sitting, the pain in your tailbone may increase due to additional weight on the coccyx.
- Pain when you stand up from a seated posture. Transitioning from a seated to standing posture may exacerbate your tailbone pain. This increase in pain may occur more in coccygeal dynamic instabilityâdue to excessive movement of the coccygeal bones while sitting and a quick snap back into the normal position upon standing.
While in a seated position, tailbone pain may be relieved by leaning forward or leaning on one buttock, which decreases the amount of weight on the tailbone.3
The Importance Of Your Tailbone
This triangular bone at the terminal end of your spine typically consists of 3 to 5 fused bony segments.1 The bone forms a joint with the sacrum above and has limited movement. The primary functions of the tailbone are to:
- Provide attachment to several muscles and ligaments in your pelvic region1
- Support the floor of your pelvis1
- Provide voluntary bowel control1
- Facilitate natural childbirth by moving backward2
The coccyx is well innervated and can become a significant source of pain if injured.
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Handling The Stress Of Having Cancer
Having cancer can be very stressful, and it may feel overwhelming to face the challenges in front of you. Finding new ways of coping with the symptoms of stress may improve your overall quality of life. These ideas may help:
- Get the support you need. Spend time with people who care about you, and let them help you.
- Take good care of yourself. Get plenty of rest, and eat nourishing foods.
- Talk about your feelings. Find a support group where you can share your experience.
- Stay positive. Do things each day that will help you stay calm and relaxed.
Having cancer can change your life in many ways. For support in managing these changes, see the topic Getting Support When You Have Cancer.
What Causes Spinal Tumors
The cause of a spinal tumor depends on what type it is primary or secondary .
Primary spinal tumor causes
Scientists arent sure of the cause of most primary spinal tumors. Some of them may be caused by exposure to cancer-causing chemicals or substances. Spinal cord lymphomas are more common in people with weakened immune systems. Spinal tumors can sometimes run in families, so scientists think theres likely a genetic component.
Secondary spinal tumor causes
Metastases most commonly develop when cancer cells break away from the main tumor and enter your bloodstream or lymphatic system. These systems carry fluids around your body, so they can carry cancer cells from one area of your body to another.
Metastases can also develop when cancer cells from the main tumor, typically in your abdominal cavity, break off and grow in nearby areas, such as in your liver, lungs or bones.
Since your spine has a significant blood supply and is near lymphatic and venous drainage systems, its generally vulnerable to metastasis.
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Thyroid Hormone Replacement Therapy
Many people who have a partial thyroidectomy wont need thyroid hormone replacement therapy because the remaining lobe will continue to make enough hormones.
After the whole thyroid is removed, your body will no longer produce the hormones that maintain your metabolism, and you will be prescribed a hormone tablet.
Taking thyroid hormone tablets can keep your bodys metabolism functioning at a normal healthy rate and reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.
Signs And Symptoms Of Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer can cause any of the following signs or symptoms:
- A lump in the neck, sometimes growing quickly
- Swelling in the neck
- Pain in the front of the neck, sometimes going up to the ears
- Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble breathing
- A constant cough that is not due to a cold
If you have any of these signs or symptoms, talk to your doctor right away. Many of these symptoms can also be caused by non-cancerous conditions or even other cancers of the neck area. Lumps in the thyroid are common and are usually benign. Still, if you have any of these symptoms, its important to see your doctor so the cause can be found and treated, if needed.
Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.
Davidge-Pitts CJ and Thompson GB. Chapter 82: Thyroid Tumors. In: DeVita VT, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA, eds. DeVita, Hellman, and RosenbergsCancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 2015.
National Cancer Institute. Physician Data Query . Thyroid Cancer Treatment. 05/23/2018. Accessed at https://www.cancer.gov/types/thyroid/patient/thyroid-treatment-pdq#_1. on February 20, 2019.
Last Revised: March 14, 2019
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What Other Symptoms Might Occur With Tailbone Pain
Tailbone pain might be accompanied by other symptoms, depending on the underlying cause.
You may experience acute tailbone pain specific to the coccyx , or you might have symptoms that derive from other body systems. For example, degenerative spinal disease like arthritis may compress the nerve roots and cause loss of sensation in the body parts served by those particular nerves.
What Causes Thyroid Cancer
Experts don’t know what causes thyroid cancer. But like other cancers, changes in the DNA of your cells seem to play a role. These DNA changes may include changes that are inherited as well as those that happen as you get older.
People who have been exposed to a lot of radiation have a greater chance of getting thyroid cancer.
A dental X-ray now and then will not increase your chance of getting thyroid cancer. But past radiation treatment of your head, neck, or chest can put you at risk of getting thyroid cancer.
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Tips To Relieve Tailbone Pain
Tailbone pain usually heals on its own. You can manage your tailbone pain at home by:
- Using coccyx cushions while sitting
- Applying heat and ice therapy to the painful area
- Considering over-the-counter topical and oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Taking OTC stool softeners to reduce the pressure on the coccyx during a bowel movement
- Modifying activities to include less sitting
If your tailbone pain does not reduce with these measures, consult a doctor for a more accurate diagnostic checkup and medical treatment. A doctor may recommend steroid or nerve block injections, coccygeal manipulation, and/or pelvic floor physical therapy to manage your tailbone pain.3 In rare cases and depending on the cause, surgical removal of the coccyx may be recommended.