Signs and symptoms of MSCC

Below, you will find a list of some of the most common signs and symptoms which patients diagnosed with MSCC have reported.

Finding MSCC early can greatly improve patients’ quality of life. In order to help diagnose MSCC, patients need to report any of these symptoms to their team urgently.

Please remember, having some of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have MSCC, but your team will want to know so that they can investigate.

Symptoms of spinal cord compression:

  • New and persistent localised back or neck pain, chest wall pain or other unexplained pain that is unusual for you
  • Severe pain in the lower back that gets worse or doesn’t go away
  • Pain in the back that is worse when coughing, sneezing or straining
  • Back pain that is worse at night
  • Numbness, heaviness, weakness or difficulty using arms or legs
  • A band of pain around the chest or abdomen or pain down an arm or leg
  • Changes in sensation, for example pins and needles or electric shock sensations
  • Numbness in the area around the back passage (the saddle area)
  • Not being able to empty the bowel or bladder
  • Problems controlling the bowel or bladder

If you are concerned about symptoms suggesting Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression, examples of healthcare professionals that you can speak to include: your GP, oncologist, specialist nurse or physiotherapist.

You can also see this animated video on when you should seek urgent help for your back pain from the Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists.

Alternatively, you can contact The Christie Hotline for advice and support on 0161 446 3658.

Last updated: January 2021