Skip to main content.
Visit our healthcare provider site

Vertebral tumors
are generally benign

Cancer - Hemangiomas

Vertebral hemangiomas are benign vascular tumors around one or two vertebrae. They usually occur in the lower thoracic and upper lumbar region, and may cause vertebral compression fractures or vertebral collapse.123 Vertebral hemangiomas don’t generally cause any symptoms. But when they do, back pain is most common, followed by weakness of the lower back and legs.124

Risk factors

Vertebral hemangiomas are the most common benign tumor of the spine column.1 They typically occur in mid-life – peak incidence is in the 50s, and more often in women than in men.12


Back pain, especially in the middle or lower back, is the most frequent symptom associated with vertebral hemangioma.2 The pain may be worse at night or on awakening. It may also spread to the hips, legs, feet or arms as the hemangioma grows.5

  • Back pain, often radiating to other parts of the body and worse at night
  • Loss of sensation or muscle weakness, especially in the legs
  • Decreased sensitivity to pain, heat and cold
  • Loss of bowel or bladder function
  • Paralysis that may occur in varying degrees and in different parts of the body, depending on which nerves are compressed
  • Scoliosis or other spinal deformity

Most back pain is not the result of a vertebral hemangioma. But because early diagnosis and treatment are important for many back problems, patients should see their doctor or find a specialist if they experience any of these symptoms.