Spinal hemangiomas are not caused by trauma; rather, they are common, benign tumors that appear spontaneously in adults between 30 and 50 years old, states the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Fewer than 1 percent of all hemangiomas exhibit symptoms, and these may cause serious neurological damage if left untreated.
Hemangioma symptoms include radiating back pain and spinal cord compression, notes the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Hemangiomas appear in the mid to lower back, and women exhibit symptoms more often than men. Doctors use X-rays and CT scans to look for abnormal structures on vertebrae, and MRIs to determine the amount of nerve damage and spinal cord penetration.
The location and size of a hemangioma determine the methods doctors use to treat it, explains the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Typical approaches include halting the blood flow to the tumor and then performing surgical removal followed by radiation therapy. Doctors use ethanol injections to treat pain hemangioma-related pain. In some cases, treatment consists of the removal of an entire vertebra.
Spinal hemangiomas usually affect just one bone, and they rarely worsen or spread to other tissue, according to Cedars-Sinai. In serious cases, the tumor causes a vertebra to collapse, which can lead to a loss of bowel, bladder and leg control.