Unfortunately one of the byproducts of cancer is pain, which can be related to the site of the cancer, or in the case of breast, prostate, lung, or kidney cancer, symptoms can present as pain in the bones of the spine. People who are over the age of fifty, or who have a previous history of cancer, will have a significantly increased risk of developing metastatic spinal tumors or other cancer-related pain as a result of their prior cancer treatments. Your cancer doctor may discuss many options with you regarding treatment of this pain, and this often involves various medications which can result in undesirable side effects. At Axis Spine Center, our team of interventional pain physicians have a number of other tools at our disposal to treat pain while avoiding medication side effects.
Common symptoms of cancer-related pain in the spine include severe pain at the cancer site, or in specific patterns if nerves are involved. In the case of spine involvement, this can include back pain, numbness, weakness, or changes in urination or bowel habits.
The pain from metastatic spinal tumors can be very severe because the tumors can press against sensitive nerve endings, cause small or large compression fractures, and perhaps even cause spinal instability. If the spine is not lined up correctly or you have spine fractures, this can result in very noticeable changes in posture, such as “kyphosis”.
Less than 10% of spinal tumors will actually begin the spine, but they can still spread to your vertebrae quickly and cause significant problems. A tumor pressing against the spinal cord can also create a tingling sensation in the arms and legs which is often associated with pain and/or numbness. New and or worsening clumsiness, difficulty walking, and difficulty with typing on a keyboard or using keys can also be serious signs that your spinal cord is being affected.
At Axis Spine, we will need to thoroughly evaluate your symptoms in order to accurately diagnose the cause of pain; subsequent treatments may target the cancer itself, or seek to disrupt the pain signaling to improve pain and quality of life. Below are some examples of specific cancer pain treatments that our experienced, board-certified interventional pain physicians perform:
- OsteoCool(™) Radiofrequency ablation and/or kyphoplasty for painful spine metastases/tumors causing microscopic or large vertebral compression fractures
- Spinal Cord or Peripheral Nerve Stimulation for nerve pain related to cancer treatments (surgery, radiation, chemotherapy), or the cancer itself
- Neurolysis or destruction of nerves to treat pain from pancreatic, pelvic, or groin cancer
- Intrathecal Drug Delivery Systems
Not only does Axis Spine treat pain related to cancer, but we also will evaluate you for more common causes of pain related to other conditions, whether from pinched nerves, arthritis, or other causes of acute or chronic pain.