Although the most common types of cysts are epidermoid cysts, which are cysts that form in the top layer of the skin, cysts can actually pop up anywhere. 

These fluid-filled sacs can form in response to trauma or simply from a buildup of materials like dead skin cells. They’re almost always benign. When they form along the spine, they’re called synovial cysts.

The spine seems like a scary place to have something like a cyst, but can you live with it without getting treatment?

Keep reading to learn more about the synovial cyst and when or if you should seek treatment.

What Is a Synovial Cyst?

A synovial cyst refers to a cyst that has formed along a joint that is lubricated by synovial liquid. These fluid-filled sacs form in the back throughout the spine, but they’re most common in the lumbar region (the lower back).

They’re completely benign, meaning they are not cancerous. Generally, they develop as a result of the wear and tear on the spine that comes with aging.

What Are the Symptoms of a Synovial Cyst?

Symptoms of these cysts can depend on where they’re located, as well as the size of the cyst. Some people don’t experience any symptoms at all, but others might experience leg and back pain. This pain is usually better when sitting and gets worse when standing or moving around.

These cysts can cause other back problems. For example, if these fluid-filled sacs are large enough, they may cause spinal stenosis. This is a narrowing of the spinal canal and can increase symptoms like pain, numbness, or weakness.

Synovial cysts can also pinch nerves in the lumbar region, causing more severe symptoms that may radiate to the legs and affect movement. 

Can You Survive With a Synovial Cyst?

In many cases, it would be quite possible to live with a synovial cyst. Some people who develop them never experience any symptoms and can go about their lives. Considering that these cysts are also benign, it’s easy to go about your day-to-day life.

If you’re experiencing symptoms, however, it’s possible that your synovial cyst is causing spinal stenosis or nerve compression. In those situations, it’s a good idea to speak with a back and spine doctor about the best options for your condition.

In very rare cases, synovial cysts can cause cauda equina syndrome (CED), which affects the nerve roots in the lumbar region. This occurs when the nerve roots are compressed, and you may lose sensation or the ability to move. This is a serious condition that needs to be treated immediately. 

Get Only the Best Treatment

Even though many people find that they can live with a synovial cyst, you want to know that you can find the best treatment if you need it. Ask your primary care physician for a referral to visit a specialized center like Howell Allen.

If you’re interested in learning more about our team or services, contact us today.