INTRODUCTION Spinal tumours may be classified in three groups: 1) extradural, 2) intradural extramedullary and 3) intramedullary spinal cord tumours. Intradural extramedullary tumours arise from the leptomeninges or nerve roots and include schwannomas. A schwannoma is usually a firm grey-whitish tumour growing near a nerve trunk or ramus. It can be separated from the nerve without damaging neural tissue. Schwannomas are usually solitary tumours. CASE PRESENTATION We present the case of a 37-year-old male who underwent surgery for a tumour in the upper thoracic segment of the spinal canal. Although the tumour filled the spinal canal almost entirely, the patient did not manifest any neurological deficits. During the surgery, the tumour was removed completely. A histological examination confirmed a benign schwannoma lesion (WHO G1). CONCLUSIONS The question whether doctors are keen to order more diagnostic investigations (including both laboratory and imaging studies) than are necessary is often asked in clinical practice. The cost factor is also important. Not every patient with back pain is referred for an MRI study in the absence of characteristic neurological signs. The case of our patient, however, speaks in favour of early referral for such diagnostic modalities. Appropriate imaging studies, even in patients presenting with no neurological deficits, may help detect pathologies than can lead to severe disability. A spinal canal tumour filling the spinal canal almost entirely and displacing the spinal cord could cause spinal cord damage at any time with all the dire consequences such as paraplegia and loss of the ability to walk.