Cancer and other tumours
While simple or non-specific back pain is very common, pain from tumours is relatively rare. Tumours of the spine can either be due to a tumour arising with in the spine (Primary) or one that has spread from another tissue, such as the breast or prostate (Secondary tumour). A tumour may be benign or malignant. If it has spread from another site in the body then it is by definition, malignant. Factors which might suggest that a tumour is present include a severe pain arising in an older person with no preceding history of back pain. A history of cancer will also be a clue that a more serious cause of the pain could be present.