Neurologist for Back Pain

Neurologist for Back Pain


Hi I am Dr. John Shim and today I want to
talk about why you need to see a neurologist. As a spinal specialist, and with my surgical
experience, I am often asked to evaluate people and to make determinations for surgery. Most of the time, the answer is you may not
need surgery at this time. To me, that should be a great relief for most
folks. As an orthopedic spine surgeon and specialist,
surgery is usually necessary when there is a significant risk for your life, or an important
bodily function. Thank goodness, those situations are rare. In fact, if you have time to watch this video,
I hope it is because while you have pain, you are not experiencing such a life or bodily
functioning threatening issue. If you are… STOP watching this video and
go to an emergency room, and contact your physician right away. Let’s get back to the discussion about why
you may need to see a neurologist. Spine surgery can be helpful for others with more chronic conditions, as long as all the options have been explored, and other potential
causes of your complaints are investigated. Spine specialists often will come to a conclusion
that surgery may not be beneficial for a certain person. The patterns of pain, numbness, or intermittent
weakness may not be totally consistent with a spine source. A spine specialist may refer you to a neurologist, who is a type of physician expert in diagnosing conditions that may mimic a surgical problem. To give an example, people with diabetes may
have numbness, tingling, and pain to the arms and legs. For diabetics, the reason may be their high
blood sugar levels have now caused changes to the nerves throughout the body. These nerve changes can cause similar symptoms,
but not exactly the same symptoms as those who have significant pinched nerves to their
spine. A neurologist, with different tools like nerve
conduction studies, further diagnostic testing of the brain, the spinal cord, and physical
exam testing can determine if the complaints are related to something else, such as diabetes. The neurologist will also use their expertise
of physical examination to explore the possibilities of other entities causing your spine conditions. While going to a neurologist may seem intimidating,
in reality, finding your diagnosis is very important, while also exploring the possibility
of surgical management. Frankly speaking, unfortunately I have seen
patients who had complaints that did not completely match a spine source of pain or nerve findings
who did not follow my advice to obtain further evaluation or examination by a nonsurgical
specialist like a neurologist. Unfortunately, due to desperation of pain,
they pursued other surgical options instead and had surgery. I can tell you that surgical treatments for
conditions that will not improve with surgical management is a really bad outcome. When a surgeon recommends further workup by
a nonsurgical specialist, I strongly recommend patients to follow through with that evaluation. I know many of your frustrated with the pain,
and the chronicity of the condition. I understand, you will always be able to find
a surgeon who will take the risk of doing surgery for you. Without a limp or life-threatening condition,
it may be more prudent to pursue further evaluations before making a surgical decision. I’m Dr. John Shim. As I always say, I am not try to tell you
what to do. At the same time, as an orthopedic spinal
specialist, and my experience of thousands of operations, I urge you to listen to your
surgeon if there is a recommendation for further nonsurgical workup. Thank you for taking the time to watch the video. I hope you will find a solution for your current
complaints.

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