In many ways, your brain and spine are the critical foundation of a healthy body. Not only do they control countless movements and impulses, but they send and receive information constantly throughout the day. Dr. Todd H. Lanman, the founder of Advanced Disc Replacement Spinal Restoration Center and leading spinal neurosurgeon, is dedicated to protecting these vital information channels, preserving your spinal health, mobility, and quality of life.
Learn more about the conditions that Dr. Lanman treats and how he approaches patients with neurological symptoms. Here’s what you need to know about neurosurgery and how brain and spine conditions are treated.
Most people associate neurosurgery with brain surgery, but this specialty covers much more of the human body. Neurosurgery refers to the diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to the brain, spinal cord, and nerves throughout the body. The nervous system is a large and delicate part of our bodies and, while the brain might be the headquarters of information, our nerves create an extensive network for communication that is continuously operating, sending, and receiving signals to and from the brain.
Once you start to look at the parts of the nervous system, you can begin to see how diverse this field is. Doctors who specialize in neurosurgery treat a variety of conditions related to the following parts of the body:
Spinal vertebrae and discs
Protective membranes and tissue
Even though your vertebrae are bones (not nerves) and your spinal discs provide cushioning for them, they are still part of your nervous system. These vertebrae provide physical support to help you move, but they also provide a superhighway for your nerve canal, which is why the spine plays just as important a role as the brain in communicating information, and why some people who experience herniated discs or spinal problems also have nerve pain that radiates through their arms and legs.
Another important fact to note is that consulting with a neurosurgeon doesn’t always mean you’ll have to undergo surgery. When you meet with a neurosurgeon, their main focus is diagnosing your condition and creating a path to recovery. They will likely recommend several non-surgical treatments before moving forward with an operation. If your doctor recently recommended meeting with a neurosurgeon, it’s just the next step in the process of accurately diagnosing and treating your condition.
The nervous system is found across the human body, which means neurosurgeons don’t just see patients who experience neck pain or other brain-related problems. Oftentimes, patients who have radiating pain down their legs and incontinence actually have spinal issues that are triggering a reaction in their nervous system. Here are a few common conditions that are addressed by neurosurgery:
Back and neck conditions: herniated discs, lower back pain, spinal stenosis, neck pain, osteoarthritis, scoliosis, spina bifida, spinal tumors, sports-related injuries, compression fractures, and degenerative disc disease.
Brain and spine injuries: concussions, head trauma, sport-related injuries, head injuries from car accidents or gunshots, traumatic brain injuries, spinal arthritis, broken bones.
Brain conditions: hydrocephalus, Cushing’s disease, brain hemorrhages.
Brain and spine tumors: brain tumors and metastasis, neurofibromatosis, spinal tumors.
Pain: chronic pain, lower back sprain and strain, neck pain, spinal cord stimulation, tingling or numbness in the extremities, headaches, facial pain.
Seizure and movement disorders: stroke, and other conditions with tremors or limited ability to move.
Other conditions, including: Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, dystonia
Through this list, you can see how diverse the field of neurosurgery is. Doctors can work with patients experiencing chronic back pain in the morning and help others who have sports-related injuries in the afternoon. Neurosurgeons need to understand the source of the condition and the health of the patient before making decisions about treatment and long-term care.
Don’t be alarmed as you start to read through the various conditions that neurosurgeons treat. It’s easy to get caught up in complex medical terminology and scary-sounding conditions as you learn more about this field. Instead, focus on your symptoms.
Your doctor works like a detective to understand how you feel and what is causing your discomfort. From there, they provide solutions to alleviate these problems. Here are a few common symptoms of neurological disorders that you may experience.
Pain, either in the form of sharp, unexpected bursts or a consistent throbbing that affects your ability to move and experience life comfortably for several hours at a time.
Persistent headaches, unexplained head pain, or changes in how your headaches feel.
Loss of feeling in your arms and legs. You may also experience a tingling sensation throughout your extremities.
Weakness or loss of muscle strength in your body.
Lack of coordination or loss of mobility.
Changes to your vision or ability to speak.
Neurological conditions can look like other bodily problems or impairments. Similarly, you might not associate some symptoms (like incontinence) with the brain or spine. This is why it is so important for your doctor to understand the root cause of your symptoms. They need a correct diagnosis and understanding of your body before moving forward with treatment options.
Dr. Lanman’s ultimate goal is to make patients feel as comfortable as possible during the diagnosis and treatment processes. He understands that his patients are in pain and might be afraid to undergo surgery, which can hold them back from meeting with a specialist. This is why he prioritizes listening to patients and gathering as much information about them as he can to ensure a correct diagnosis.
Your first visit with Dr. Lanman will feel more like a discussion than a doctor’s appointment. The doctor wants to know about your lifestyle, your medical history, and various activities in your day-to-day life. He will ask about your symptoms (including their severity and frequency) and will likely conduct a physical exam. From there, Dr. Lanman may recommend a series of tests to look deeper into your nervous system and potentially confirm a diagnosis.
Once you have a diagnosis, Dr. Lanman will likely recommend several non-surgical treatments. While neurosurgery is incredibly safe and modern technology makes it less invasive than ever, there is always a risk when conducting an operation. Dr. Lanman may recommend physical therapy exercise, stretching, lifestyle changes, pain medication, and hot or cold therapy to ease your symptoms. Even if he recommends surgery, he will add these treatments to your recovery process to optimize your results.
In the event that non-surgical options don’t reduce your symptoms, Dr. Lanman may recommend neurosurgery. He will walk you through the operation plan and provide instructions for pre and post-operative care. Dr. Lanman is committed to helping you reduce your neurological symptoms so you can live a happy, healthy life.
If you (or a loved one) experience neurological symptoms, seek out a respected spinal specialist as soon as possible. Spinal conditions can develop and worsen faster than you might expect. What starts as a minor ache can develop into chronic pain within a few months or weeks. During that time, you could be taking steps to reduce the negative impacts on your body and reduce your discomfort.
The longer it takes to receive a diagnosis, the harder a condition is to treat. Many people ignore their symptoms because they are worried about receiving a severe diagnosis. However, this actually creates a more difficult experience because patients are forced to visit the doctor when they can no longer ignore their pain. The best way to prevent conditions from worsening in severity is to seek medical help from the best doctors as soon as you can.
If your general practitioner recommends that you see a neurosurgeon, reach out to Dr. Lanman. He will meet with you as soon as he can to apply a diagnosis to your symptoms.
Dr. Lanman’s extensive credentials make him the best choice for neurological treatment in Los Angeles. Deeply experienced in the field of spinal neurosurgery, he has published peer-reviewed articles and chapters on neurological conditions, is a Diplomate of the American Board of Neurological Surgery, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and a Fellow of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (FAANS).
With 30 years of experience treating patients with spinal conditions, including A-list film talent, C-Suite executives, and legendary musicians, Dr. Lanman is Hollywood’s leading spinal neurosurgeon, as well as one of the most trusted spinal and neurological specialists in the country.
Not only does Dr. Lanman have experience as an expert in treating spinal conditions, but he has also been a spinal surgery patient. He has undergone eight spinal surgeries – four cervical and four lumbar – to restore his mobility and live a pain-free life. This experience has allowed Dr. Lanman to develop a deeper level of understanding and empathy for the conditions his patients suffer from – as well as strengthened his resolve to help them eliminate their pain for good.
Dr. Lanman treats a variety of spinal conditions each year and completes neurosurgical procedures like advanced disc replacement and spinal fusion regularly.
You don’t have to push through the pain or adjust your life because of uncomfortable neurological symptoms. The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner Dr. Lanman can get you on the path to recovery. Request an appointment today with the top neurosurgeon in Los Angeles and receive the diagnosis and care you need.