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Ask Our Physicians: What is Neurosurgery?

Posted on February 13, 2018
Joel Norman, MD of the neurosurgical team at TN Brain and Spine
Joel Norman, MD

Dear Dr. Norman:

I’ve seen my primary care physician about chronic pain down my neck and back, but after trying several conventional treatments, she says I need to see a neurosurgeon. Do you treat neck and back pain?

At TN Brain and Spine we treat disorders of the brain, spine and nervous system. It’s important to emphasize that neck or back pain alone typically isn’t a neurosurgical problem and often can be treated with conventional therapies like massage, steroid injections, physical therapy, or chiropractic treatment. However, you may have a serious spine injury or condition that requires surgery if you’re experiencing the following symptoms:

Neck Pain

  • Radiating pain in the shoulders or arms
  • Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms

Back Pain

  • Radiating pain in the buttocks, legs, or feet
  • Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs or feet

There are many spine conditions that can cause this type of pain, including:

  • Compression or trauma to the sciatic nerve
  • Sprains or strains in the back
  • Herniated or ruptured discs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spondylolysis – a crack or stress fracture of the spinal vertebrae
  • Spondylolisthesis – instability of the spinal vertebrae
  • Stenosis – narrowing of the passageways between vertebrae

During your visit with us, we’ll review your symptoms, medical history, and MRI results, which should be obtained prior to your appointment. Our office is conveniently located at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, where your MRI can be scheduled by one of our staff. Depending on the severity of your condition, surgery may be recommended.

At TN Brain and Spine we use advanced technology and procedures for minimally invasive surgery, which offers patients many advantages, including a smaller incision, less post-operative pain, reduced risk of surgical complications, and a faster recovery.

In addition to spine surgery, we also perform surgery to remove brain tumors, treat cerebrovascular disease, chronic facial pain (known as Trigeminal Neuralgia or Tic Douloureux), and hemifacial spasms.

Learn More

For more information about the neurosurgical services at TN Brain and Spine or to request an appointment, call (865) 331-2835. No physician referral is necessary.

Disclaimer: please note that this information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice. If you have a specific medical question or issue, we encourage you to call our office at (865) 331-2835 and schedule an appointment.


About Dr. Norman

Joel Norman, MD is board certified in neurosurgery. Click here to view his profile. He is accepting new patients, and you can schedule an appointment by calling (865) 331-2835.


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