When Does Conservative Back Pain Treatment Turn Into Swiss Cheese Making?

Conservative treatment is often tried before considering low back surgery.  Time, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, yoga, and injections are reasonable modalities.  Even after surgery, adjuvant options may be considered. Often when patients present in a neurosurgery clinic, they have already tried injections and ponder if they have pursued enough to consider surgery.  It’s not uncommon…

Etymology of a “Shrink”

As a neurosurgeon, my patients occasionally refer to me by numerous friendly slang terms, including “doc”, “sawbones”, “spine guy”, “pop the topper”… I’m most commonly mistakenly called a neurologist, which is a similar specialty, but a non-surgical and completely separate field treating the nervous system. However, I’ve found it interesting that psychiatrists are routinely called…

Why Are My Screws Loose?

Spinal fusion often involves placing metal screws with rods or plates to immobilize bones and allow them to “fuse”, or grow together. I always tell my patients that fusion is a two-part process. The first part is the actual surgery, in which the nerves are decompressed and then the metal implants are placed. However, the…