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…

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The 1980 Backbone of Soviet Union Hockey Wasn’t a Mere 33 Segmented Column of Osteocytes

As a spine surgeon, I have been rhetorically asked by patients with chronic spine pain, “Can you just remove my spine?”  Of course, the answer is “no”, we don’t do “spine-ectomies”. Even though 90% of animals don’t have one, the backbone is one of the most important evolutionary innovations in the history of life.  Vertebrates…

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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…

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