The Unstoppable Dr. Lanman: Spine Surgeon to Spinal Champion

Rita: Hey everyone. My name is Dr. Rita Roy, CEO, at the National Spine Health Foundation, and I’m your host for the Get Back to It Podcast where we tell real stories of healing and recovery. What does it mean to get back to it? It means overcoming spinal problems through treatments that work in order to return to the people and activities you love.

Whatever that looks like for you, it means getting back to your life peer to share the success stories of those who did just that, and some of these stories you’re not going to believe.

At the Get Back To It podcast. Our goal is to tell stories as spinal champions who have been able to achieve a better quality of life through spinal healthcare. Today’s episode is unique and personally exciting because I’ll be speaking with Dr. Todd Lanman who’s a spine expert on our medical and scientific board.

Dr. Lanman’s Own Spine Challenges began when he was 50, which began a long list of procedures over a span of many years on his journey back to enjoying the life he loves. Now that you know what to expect, let’s get back to it and dive right into Dr. Lanman’s story.

Dr. Lanman: As a spine surgeon, I’ve actually been through this myself, 11 surgeries, four on my neck and seven on my low back over the years. But really started when I was around 50 and I was really just standing around and I had a sudden jolt of lightning shooting down my right arm and I had a massive herniated disc at cervical six seven that was Bulging right into my forearm and pinching my cervical seven nerve. And I had a minimally invasive procedure, a micro endoscopic discectomy, and in that procedure they go in the back of the neck through a little micro tube. It’s minimal discomfort postoperatively. They remove the fragment and when you wake up, your arm pain’s gone and resolved.

I dealt with that several weeks, I think up to  about seven weeks, and then I just had the surgery. Then my arm pain was totally resolved. And I’m a very active guy. I’m a swimmer. I was on the master swim team. I was a swimmer in high school  back, I was from a little town in Indiana, but our high school was actually the Indiana state Champion high school swim team.

So, I swam a lot growing up and I was getting back into it again as an adult on the master’s team. But when this had happened, I had to stop everything. I couldn’t do anything until I had that surgery, and then I healed from that and was doing quite well for a time.

Rita: Because Dr. Lanman is a spine surgeon, he knew he had to move quickly to repair that ruptured disc in his cervical spine and to relieve the pain in his right arm.

Dr. Lanman: Yes. And um, within three months I had another herniation of the same disc, and I was great because remember when we do the micro endoscopic discectomy, particularly in the. We’re just removing the fragment that came out that’s pinching the nerve, but you leave most of the disc behind. That’s back in the front of the spine or in the anterior column we call it.

And you can reherniate. And that’s a common, well not really a complication, but it’s a common finding and people reherniate this. And within three months, you know, I was back in the pool working out and blam! I blew it out again. And at that point I knew that I needed just to have a total discectomy done and have the  disc removed totally.

And then I had a fusion. Now, just a sidebar a little bit. I was literally the principal investigator in artificial disc clinical trials at the time. However, because I’m the principal Investigator I couldn’t enroll myself in the study because I really wanted an artificial disc and I couldn’t. So I had to have the fusion done and I had that procedure done.

They removed the fragment, my associates at the time, and they fixed everything. And then that was the end of that. So, um, it’s all been, um, cured and that was fused and my neck had been great for many years.

Rita: That unfortunately, Dr. Lanman’s issues did not stop there. However, over the next several years, he began to develop low back pain.Again, being a spine surgeon, he knew the importance of not waiting to act with each subsequent problem symptom. He took swift action.

Dr. Lanman: Yeah. As I was learning from my neck, Rita, and after treating patients with spine conditions, I know the outcome over time. I can’t tell you the number of patients I see who have done years of physical therapy, years of treatments, and they’re really not making much progress and their whole lives have been on hold for this period of time, and I think that’s actually More detrimental for the patient. I don’t like the doctors that say, Hey, you know what? Wait till it’s so bad. You’re crawling in to see your, your spine specialist, because what you’ve done there is you’ve waited so long that you know what? I have very limited options available to me to fix you. At that point, I’ve lost perhaps the chance to do an artificial.

Preserved motion, I might have to fuse your back. I may have to do a more drastic surgery to repair it when it’s so severely degenerated. It’s better to treat it early or just get information from your spine surgeon. You know, just because you see the spine surgeon doesn’t mean you have to have spine surgery.

You can talk to him about it. He might say, I think it’s better if you have it. Doesn’t mean you have to have it. We’re not gonna lay you down on my desk and get out my knife and force you to have spine surgery, but. Have an idea of what your options are including, alright, what’s surgery? Ask about the procedure.

That’s Everybody’s fear, and that’s why I was less fearful to engage in these procedures. But everybody’s fear is what’s the surgery and what’s the recovery? And what are they gonna do to me? Am I gonna get paralyzed in all these things that are just incredibly unlikely to happen. And so go see the spine surgeon, just get an opinion.

So, because I already had that knowledge, it was easier for me To move forward and make these decisions because I know watching patients who have been in pain for years and just keep treating with all these conservative measures, and if they’re not improving, they’re not doing the activities and things they love and they’re getting deconditioned further weaker muscles, weaker core, less strength.

Injuries start happening, so I believe it’s better to be proactive and get back to it like you’re talking about and let’s get moving and let’s get the treatment. If your neck isn’t better in eight to 10, 12 weeks, yeah, maybe you just have the surgery. Most of these neck surgeries are an hour and a half outpatient and you’re back at it in the artificial disc case.

I send patients back at four weeks, and if it’s a fusion 12 weeks, but it’s rare I even do fusions any longer, but you’re right. Three years later after my neck was done and I was doing great, I started having low back pain. And as you know, people get degenerative disc disease in the neck or in the low back, so you’re gonna get it at either place.

It’s very common. It’s mostly a genetic Condition. Degenerative disc disease isn’t really a disease. It’s more just a, a degenerative thing that occurs in certain families. It’s very common, so my low back discs were degenerating, and another round of surgeries and procedures and imaging studies were needed at the end of 2009, which began with a multi-level discectomy and disc replacement this time.

Rita: You acted quickly to figure out what was going on. And then these surgeries were then followed with injections including a nerve block.

Dr. Lanman: Yeah, and those were up in my neck for, I had some arthritic facet joints in my neck and I had blocks up there later, but I did have that three level lumbar artificial disc replacement and it cured my back pain. I was amazing after that.

Rita: That is absolutely phenomenal. And  you know, I just look at the number of surgeries and, and procedures that you’ve gone through, you know, including that nerve block, disc replacements, hardware removal, bone spur removal, fusions, foraminotomy, radical facetectomy, remarkably, Dr. Lanman, you came through those surgeries beautifully and you were able to return back to the operating room now back as a surgeon and get back to your life.

And that is just absolutely remarkable.

I’ve had many surgeries now. I started with the three level lumbar disc replacement and was fantastic. The only regret I have it was Dr. Rick De Marter, who is a dear friend and a great spine surgeon who’s long retired now  who is a great art artificial disc surgeon.

And  I had Rick and his partner, Michael Croft do my Artificial disc replacements here in in LA and I remember Dr. DeMarr saying, well Todd, do you think we should just do L four five? Because my three artificial discs were at the top three. And swimmers Rita tend to get more mid-upper lumbar than they get lower, whereas runners football get the lower.

So it was my top three that were bone on bone and really degenerated, but the fourth one down L four five had a little tear, but the disc looked great on mri and the reason Rick asked me that was because getting back in there later at L four five is the hardest one to approach is because the veins and arteries split right at L 45.

And he thought, Hey, we go in there and we’re, we’re looking right at it at this time. Maybe we should just do that. And I said, well, let’s leave it, you know, I don’t wanna do too much and do overkill. Had I could do it again, I absolutely would’ve done my L four five because later. My L four five failed. And you know what, They couldn’t get in to do an artificial disc, so I had to have a fusion through my side and then have screws put in my back. So I had that done, did great. My back pain was cured again. And what’s weird is my very bottom disc in my back. L five S one still looked great and normal and it’s usually the other way around.

So that fusion went fine except after I started getting leg pain about a week or so later. And it kept getting severe. And it was because when, when I had my fusion that was corrected at the angle, there was some bone spurs in there that engaged and pinched this nerve in my right leg. And so I had my associate here, Dr. Jason Cue, he, I said, Jason, go in there and cut that bone spur off. I know it’s pinching on that thing and I’m not gonna let this get Worse. So that was an outpatient microsurgery and he cut that, did a radical fast detect. We cut that joint off, cleared the nerves and my nerve pain resolved over a month or so, but then that, then that was great.

Then the last surgeries were just, What, two years ago, and again, a another time, I’m just standing there. I was gonna take my wife out to dinner. We had date night, right? I’m trying to be the good husband here  you know, I’m working my 10 hour days. I’m trying to get home, take her out to dinner. I’ve made reservations.

I’m very proud of myself and I’m standing there like every husband, waiting for the ladies to come down from the getting ready. Okay? And I’m standing there at the kitchen counter. And an explosion goes off in my low back and pain’s shooting down my leg, and I’m like, well, I know what that is. I only got one disc left.

It’s L five S one at the bottom, and that disc exploded and herniated. I crawled over to the couch. And because I’m a surgeon, I already know, all right. I know I herniated my L five S one. It feels like horrible. Now I know what all the patients are telling me when their back explodes and they’re laying there and crawling around for four or five days.

But it’s said I’m not gonna crawl around for four or five days. And because I’ve contacts, got my M R I at 6:00 AM the next morning, sure enough, big herniated. And I’m not gonna go through another microdisectomy and herniate it again and be back in. So I had my partners do an artificial disc replacement.

Dr. Lanman: Again, Dr. Croft.

Rita: Gosh, under the fusion. So you’ve got artificial, artificial fusion, artificial, correct?

Dr. Lanman: Yeah.

Rita: I wanna see your x-rays.

Dr. Lanman: I, I’ll show ’em all to you. I, I have ’em all those Yeah, I’ll send them to you. Yeah, I can show you all of them. And then , this is when things get bad for Todd. Okay. For Dr. Laman, I’m, now, I’m having a bad, I’m amazing with the artificial disc.

I’m doing great. I have zero pain leg pain’s gone, back pain’s, nothing. I’m a hundred percent I’m. and I noticed I’m starting to get a little bit of left leg pain and I’m like, no, that’s weird. So this started about two weeks after. and then it kept getting worse. So I got a CAT scan. And by the way, whenever we do artificial discs, you know, we check our bone density.

Make sure you have hard bone. My, my bone density is like off the chart. It’s super high. I’m super, I’m a big guy. I’m 6 4, 2 40, and my bone densities are a hundred percent normal, but my vertebrae are huge. So the width of my vertebrae is 60 millimeters, which is pretty. The largest artificial disc made is 40 millimeters wide, so it’s small in my spine.

And when you put the artificial disc in the center, it’s underneath the weakest part of your vertebrae. The middle, cuz mine wouldn’t, artificial disc would not cover wide enough for me, and so my vertebrae of L five subsided and crushed over the artificial disc and pinched the nerve on the left. . So that was no fun.

So then I had to call my partners again and say, I’ve subsided on my artificial disc, which usually is not painful. When people have subsidence, it’s usually minor ache in the heels and goes away unless you crush fallen far enough and then you may pinch a nerve and then you get nerve pain. That’s what happened to me, so I had them take out my disc.

And do a fusion in the front. Flip me over, put hardware in the back. So I have pedicle screws. L four five to the S one on the bottom. Okay, now I’m doing great again. And by the way, my vertebrae is so big. Most of the spine surgeon, spine surgeons, hopefully some are listening to this, put eph femoral ring allograft an F fr.

It’s called an F RRA in inside the dis space. My vertebrae is so big, I have twos right next to each other. That’s the reason I the subsides is the vertebrae are just too big for the discs. I actually sidebar really quick. I did a a big guy lately and what I did in him, even with normal bone is, I add some bone cement at L five to make sure it’s rock solid hard and won’t subside.

Yeah, that’s so interesting. And you know so much about these disks being investigational. Yes, I’ve been on trials for, I don’t know, six, seven of the discs so far, and we have nine discs, approved in the neck. I’ve been in most of those trials and then two lumber on the market. And I was on one of those trials, so I was waiting for my fusion to heal.

And , this is kind of funny, I was standing in the shower like two, three weeks Post the fusion and I was standing there washing my hair and I hear this metal creaking in my back. I hear this e, e e, like this, you know? And I’m like, well that’s, that’s not good. What’s that? And and I kind of ignored it. I’m like, nah, I don’t know—it’s nothing.

And I get my three months after I get a CAT scan, make sure the fusion’s healing. Well, I’m not healing. I’m like, well that’s weird because I don’t smoke. I da da da. So I go, Let’s wait three months. I do the bone grow stimulator. I use TIMOs, which is a hormone to help bone grow. I do that three more months, so now it’s December, I’m still hurting and I get my new X-rays and my pedicle rods at S one have popped the locking caps right off of the pedicle screws, and I’m completely disconnected.

Rita: So it couldn’t heal. You couldn’t.

Dr. Lanman: Can’t heal cuz it wasn’t locked. And that squeak I heard was the metal loosening . My gosh, my gosh. So then I go, okay, I call my, I call Jason my partner and Mike Croft again. I’m like, okay guys. . Gotta do it again. The locking caps popped off and now you gotta run bolts into my hips.

So I have iliac bolts on each hip with new S one screws and rods, and all relock from L four, L five S one to my iliac bolts. That worked. I’ve been great ever since. It’s healed up solid. On my subsequent scan, I have zero pain. So now I’m doing great. Now I’m back in the water. I surf, I ski, I hike. I do all the fun activities.

I work out three, four days a week. I have a trainer. I do my cardio functional exercises. I do high rep low weight.

Rita: Yeah, you’re the million dollar man.

Dr. Lanman: Yeah, I got a lot of metal in me .

Rita: That is awesome. I mean, I’m looking at you on this screen as we’re talking and I see some fit, healthy, vibrant, you know, spine surgeon, happy, positive, all the good things.

And it’s so hard for me to imagine that you’ve been through what you’ve been through, and at the end of all of. You are doing skiing, working, doing everything you wanna do. That’s just if there is a hopeful story out there, it is yours. And I am just absolutely thrilled capturing the story and sharing it with the world because it is remarkable.

It is exciting to know that this can happen and just, just absolutely. There’s some things that you’ve said today that just resonate with me personally, that is that I also had a fusion at L four L five. I initially went to a surgeon who said, oh, a fusion’s a big deal. Wait till that sucker really hurts and you can’t do anything else, and then that’ll be the time to have your fusion.

10 years went by in my life. Where I decreased my activity, I ended up tearing my ACL, you know, because I had back pain and I was low level limping, limping, played some low level tennis, tore up my knee. And so, to your point, other things happen while you are waiting for the day when it’s so bad that you can’t take it anymore.

I really didn’t get myself in to see an excellent spine surgeon till I started having numbness in my foot and I couldn’t feel the ground. And at that point, the brilliant spine surgeon, your friend, Dr. Tom Schuler, said to me, you know, you don’t wanna wait too long because then you don’t have as many options.

And that is exactly what you said and that is exactly why I am doing the job that I am doing is that people don’t know any better and someone needs to educate the public to say, to be able to have your options, talk to an expert, maybe get more than one opinion and don’t delay treatment. Because you’re, you’re wasting years of your life.

And I look at you, Dr. Lanman, and I see every time you got right to it, fix the problem. Got back to your life. Oh, something happens. Take care of it. That’s, that’s amazing. Absolutely. So encouraging. Yeah. It’s just, you know, like I said, I have the advantage of knowing that there are these procedures and what, what’s gonna happen.

Dr. Lanman: And so I do have an advantage with that, but I, I, I would recommend to the listen. If you have an issue, go talk to a competent spine surgeon. That’s also a trick too. You gotta find the right one. . But that’s, that’s another story. But that’s what our National Spine Health Foundation will help you do. Let’s find the really good spine docs who really understands motion and restorative motion surgery, active and functional surgery to keep you moving.

Cuz we’re living long, Rita, you know, we’re, we’re not dying when we’re 40 or 50, like long time ago we’re, we’re, you know, eighties, nineties, maybe. And I don’t wanna. Frankly be around like my, my grandparents and sit around and play bridge and drink vodka. I wanna go do stuff. You know? And people, people are living longer and people are living more active longer lives.

Rita: So, yeah. Yeah, yeah. No, that, that, that is awesome. I think, you know, with, with your knowledge and expertise, you were at an advantage to know immediately what needed to happen and to get that treatment and to know who to talk to. But that’s why we’re here, is to let people know their symptoms. Figure out how to get the right treatment for themselves.

And I think, you know, again, it’s finding, you know, board certified, trained, reputable spine expert. One of the things that I liked about what you said as well is that, you know, what is it something like 80% of the time when people go to see a spine surgeon, they end up not needing spine surgery, but for the times that they need spine surgery.

In those moments, it’s definitive treatment. Right? I mean, that’s, it gets you better. It does. . And do you find that to be the case in your practice as people are coming through the door? What does that picture look like?

Dr. Lanman: Yeah, most of the patients I see, well, a lot of people are seeking me personally out for disc replacements cuz they know they’ve Googled me or whatever, and they kind of find out that I do a lot of motion preservation surgery, but people are getting smarter and they’re looking around and going, you know, why are we fusing the spine?

You know, long time ago, it was mostly because of tuberculosis and stuff. They used to fuse your knee and fuse your hip. Now, now if you, if you went to the, your, your hip doctor today and he said he is fusing your hip, you’d be like, are you insane? Are you out of your mind? Yet, we go to the spine surgeon and they say, Hey, we’re gonna fuse your back.

And everybody’s like, oh, okay. Well what? Why you get away with it? Cuz you got five disks so you. I fused one. Okay. You have one fused. I have two fused, but I have three artificial, so all five of my disc are replaced in my lumbar, but most of them three out of five move. And that’s sort of my thing is I don’t like fusing more than two levels anywhere in the lumbar or cervical, cuz I want to preserve most of the mobility in motion.

But golly, you see so many of the spine surgeons and their answer is just fusion. And one thing, we had a conference today at Cedar Sinai in our  spine center, and we were talking about why so few disc replacements are being done. And I hate to say this, but you know, the reimbursements for fusion are so much higher than for artificial discs and I don’t know, but it perhaps that incentivizes some surgeons to just wanna keep doing fusions.

And placing an artificial disc is way more technically challenging to do it properly. Get that motion set cause you’re setting a balance point and several different planes. It’s trickier surgery. And yet you get paid less. So, you know, if you’re the average surgeon, like now I’ll just fuse you. You’ll do okay.

Rita: It’s interesting. You do wanna find a surgeon that has expertise in disc replacement. Right. And maybe that’s why so many people are finding you. Um, because you are known for the work you’ve done in motion preservation. You do a lot of it. And you are personally the recipient of that care. Yeah. That’s the full  full package.

Dr. Lanman: And the interesting thing I’ve been working on lately that we’re trying to do is  I’ve been reversing a lot of fusions  in the cervical, a few lumbar also, but in the cervical spine. Or people have had multi-level fusions. I just did a police detective from New Jersey. He had a three level fusion. I mean, you look at the films and it’s a solid fusion.

He’s been in horrible pain for three years, ever since his fusion. And if you look carefully, you know, he doesn’t have much curve in the neck. They fused him a little too flat, so then the normal balance of the neck is off. So I cut out his fusions and replaced all of them with artificial discs. He has zero pain, so I’m reversing fusions now, and I’ve done about, I did one yesterday too.

So I’ve done about 46 patients. And I have all the data and I’ve, I have a, I’ve done a couple talks. I did one with the Seattle Science Foundation, which people could watch, but, and, and I show some of the data there. And the statistical significant improvement in neck pain and mobility is dramatic. And so, um, I’m pursuing that as  something I call restorative motion surgery.

And I, I want people to keep pushing this envelope of, of motion, restorative motion surgery, disc replacements in the beginning. And you know, if you have an artificial disc and you have trouble, you can always fuse it.  But if you have a fusion, I’ll tell you what, it’s a lot more difficult reversing that fusion, trust me,

Rita: So we often have people say to us, well disc replacement surgery or disc replacements, that’s kind of new technology. It’s kind of still like experimental. I don’t know. Fusions are like easy and you know, proven. And it’s definitive and it gets people better. And we find ourselves trying to educate so often by saying This is not experimental and this is not new .

Dr. Lanman: Yeah. 2005 is not new. 2005 lumbar disc replacements, FDA approved. And that’s after already doing the clinical trial for over several years and having proven data, nevermind. Terry Marnet, who developed the procedure, you know, has been doing almost 40 years in France and the, the data’s there.

And the outcomes are superior, especially in the cervical spine approved in 2007. It’s 2023, for goodness sakes. It’s not 2009 where, okay, we’re kind of new. No, this is they’re old. And we have 10 year level one investigational device exemption trial studies, which is the cleanest possible data level one data comparing identical groups, randomizing half diffusion, randomizing the other half to artificial at one or two level in the neck, and all of the 10 years statistical.

And I published, one of them shows statistical superior outcomes, not equivalent. All you have to show the FDA. Rita, as you probably know, Equivalency, you know? Oh, okay, we’re as good as fusion. Okay, the FDA will approve it. No, but the outcomes were statistically way superior with disc replacement in every parameter.

Neck pain, arm pain, neurologic outcome, overall success, and revision or adjacent level surgeries, a third less, which makes sense, right? You do a fusion, you stress the disc above it. Then what’s, what’s most of the spine surgeon’s answer to fusion? Let’s do some more fusion. Like I, I, I’m like, no, let’s not, let’s try a disc.

Yes. And , this Spine Health Foundation has a paper that’s being presented at conferences this spring hybrid  results. So fusion and a disc replacements. Yeah. So taking, taking a look at some of these more innovative approaches, but that requires very experienced surgeons and so that, that gets back to.

How do I find a great surgeon who will offer me options and have the knowledge, skill, and training to do a great job? You know, that’s something that we’re working so hard to do, right? Yeah. Yeah. And, and I’m, I’m also  working on  a, a site so people can also help  really important referral sources for, for competent arthroplasty surgeons and I myself, by the.

Because I, we didn’t talk about my artificial disc in my neck either, because that, that fusion was at cervical six seven, but eight, nine years later, what happens? C five six blows up because C six seven is fused on the bottom. The one above it fails from the stress. And then Rick Delmar and crop, what do they do?

They put a prodi in there. I’ve been perfect ever since, and none of my levels above there have ever degenerated. And that’s been many, many years now.

Rita: That’s amazing. That’s, congratulations. That’s awesome. Yeah. Um, couple things I wanna talk about with lumbar and cervical, and you were gracious enough to work with us on a patient education webinar series about cervical disk and lumbar disk, and there’s been an understanding or maybe lack of understanding about.

Can everybody get a lumbar disc if they qualify? And what does that mean to qualify? And are there people who maybe are not candidates for that kind of surgery? And why? Why can’t everybody? How does, how, how does that work?

Dr. Lanman: Well, how it’s working is insurance companies, I believe, are the obstacle to the approval process for the patients to get. Now, I believe a lot of the artificial discs were initially had some bad press because if you recall, the first artificial disc FDA approved was the charay disc, and I was on that trial as the sub-investigator. Now, that disc did have issues because it was hypermobile, it was a three piece design, it was too lax, and we had issue.

And that caused some poor outcomes. And that was the first disc out there. And then the, the whole artificial disc world got bad press about that disc not realizing that, hey there’s pro disk or activL that are better designs that are really two piece designs that have more stability. They’re  more constrained is the word.

We use it, which means it doesn’t wiggle as much and they’re better implants and they help prevent the issues that differ first discount. But take ever, ever since then, I think it’s been an obstacle and insurance has been very reluctant to wanna approve these. And most of these. Companies, as you know, they hire third party organizations.

Basically deny everything, so right. We spend a lot of time on getting approvals for things. Now they’ll say it’s experimental. They say that still, you know, like I said, they’ve been approved since 2005, and the data is unequivocally clear. It is not experimental, and the cervical outcomes are even better than the lumbar, and they still find us on that sometimes.

Remember when the FDA approves the device, they’re saying that the device is. The way the clinical trial was done is considered an on-label approval. In other words, if we do a one or two level cervical disc replacement in a 50 year old with neck and arm pain, that’s an on-label indication cuz that’s how the clinical trial was.

But the fda, right on their website says if we’ve approved a device, we’ve deemed it to be safe. If the physician chooses to use it in an off-label manner, that is okay. Meaning if I wanna put in three artificial or four, I’ve done a five level cervical, I’ve done all discs cervical before. I mean, it’s unusual and I can’t get that approved.

So the patient paid for it, but that patient had means luckily, but it’s always a, a struggle and a fight. It’s getting easier for cervical because they think the cervical are so, Much more prevalent and the data is so much clearer. And now with nine dis FDA approved, it’s kind of hard to keep saying no. And they’ve been getting sued.

You know, I was part of that original lawsuit against Blue Cross many years ago, and then now they approved Lumbar. There was another one that just happened, I think out east  blue Shield. I, I can’t recall wedge that they, they won also because this is, is insane. I mean, these things should be approved.

Hassles and when it’s becoming more about money and not what’s better for the patient. I, I, I really, really get angry about it because it’s not, they’re not being advocates for patient care. You know, insurance companies wanna be advocates for their stockholders and, and, you know, I wish there were some legislation around that because that’s, that’s just not.

That’s, that’s an opportunity I think for the National Spine Health Foundation to voice, to lend the patient voice as we look at legislative activity that increases access to care.

Rita: Yeah. We are just on such a mission to do that. It’s just, It’s time to tell the good stories because more often, yeah, more often than not, people are having phenomenal outcomes.

The good news doesn’t get told, the bad news gets told, and that’s okay. We’ve gotta tell the full story, but we also have to tell the good news, and we are just by golly, on a mission to get that word out there. You helping us do that? Working together with us. Um, we’re gonna get the word out. We’re gonna get this done for people.

Cuz people deserve to know. People deserve to have great care. People deserve to get back to their lives and, um, you know, we’re just, we’re, we are here to do that work. Well, the, you guys are doing great work over there at the Spine Health Foundation and I really appreciate all the work you’re all doing there.

And I continue keeping, keep it. because the patients need us . Thank you. I just  I, it’s been such an honor and privilege to have this time. , I know you’ve got patience to see and lives to improve, and, um, hopefully coming on our program, thousands of people will hear your message, so you’ll be able to extend your reach beyond just the walls of your clinic and your operating room.

We are truly grateful and honored to have you joining us.

Dr. Lanman: Thank you for having me on, and I appreciate it and I hope people do listen and hear what we had to say today. I think it’s, I. I hope it inspires people to take more action.

Rita: At the National Spine Health Foundation, something we believe in most is providing hope for recovery. Sharing stories of success and expertise. It isn’t always easy to find someone to relate to, even though a hundred million adults suffer from neck or low back disorders. Every year hear more stories of spinal champion recovery and access educational materials about spine health, visit us at

If you’re interested in supporting our show financially, you can contribute at the link provided. Thank you for listening.

It’s not often that we get to hear about an actual expert spine surgeon giving an account of his own journey back to spine health from both a patient and a surgeon’s perspective! This is the remarkable story of one of our own, Dr. Todd Lanman, a spinal neurosurgeon who practices in Beverly Hills, is affiliated with Cedar-Sinai and UCLA medical centers, and who is a member of our prestigious  Medical and Scientific Board. He is also a Spinal Champion.