When conventional therapies fail to achieve the desired outcome for back or neck pain, it becomes necessary to consider specialized spinal care. Your primary doctor may advise you to consult with a spinal surgeon or a neurologist. In one instance – the spinal surgeon – the reason for consult may be clear. Here, we discuss why it is also valuable to more carefully consider your doctor’s recommendation to see a neurologist for neck or back pain.
It may seem surprising to discover that a neurosurgeon has the same educational background as an orthopedic surgeon about the spine. Training is so similar that the term used to describe both has increasingly been expressed as “spine surgeon.” A neurosurgeon has received education and training to diagnose and treat the various conditions and diseases that may affect the nervous system. The nervous system is composed of the brain, spinal cord, spinal column, and the various peripheral nerves located throughout the body. A neurosurgeon is also familiar with the extra-cranial cerebrovascular system. This scope of training is far beyond the complex nature of the brain, which is quite a lot and yet the limitation of what most people consider to be the norm for the neurosurgeon.
The truth is, the neurosurgeon has in-depth knowledge of all things related to the spine and spinal health. This includes various diseases and the surgical and non-surgical treatments for those conditions, and this is basic training. On top of the baseline education for neurosurgery, some physicians continue their training toward the brain, and some lean toward spinal procedures. Some expand their knowledge to include both subspecialties.
Orthopedic surgeons also have comprehensive training to understand the nature of the spine, how the disease may occur, and how to treat various spinal conditions. An orthopedic surgeon may be the physician who diagnoses the spinal condition. Depending on the nature of the condition and the skill level of the orthopedic surgeon, this physician may perform surgery and also see the patient through recovery. A neurosurgeon, due to the extent of specialization, typically is only involved in one aspect of care. However, that aspect being surgery, the skill level of the surgeon is critical to patient outcome.
Dr. Lipani is a top Neurosurgeon in New Jersey who has performed numerous spinal surgeries. He is extensively trained in the various methods of treating spinal conditions including herniated discs, sciatica, pinched nerves, spinal tumors, and much more.