Author: Dr. Shim:


What is a Nonunion?

What is a nonunion? For most doctors, it means two or more bones that were supposed to heal together but did not. To give an example, sometimes broken leg bones do not heal. Surgery may be necessary to unite the bone edges together. Nonunions can happen to any bone, although for most healthy people, the […]

Anomalies That Can Affect Your Back Surgery

In the last video,  we concentrated on test findings in your neck that could influence your surgical treatment options.  In this video, I will be sharing the test findings in your lower back that could affect your options. One of the most common variants is the presence of a missing or extra lumbar bone. This […]

Anomalies That Can Affect Your Neck Surgery

What are the test results that may matter for surgeries in your neck? Not everyone is born with the standard bones of the spine.   In fact, a significant portion of the population has what is called an anatomic variant.  But there’s no need to be alarmed.  Having an anatomic variant simply means that a structure […]

Common Complications of Spine Surgery

PART TWO What are the most common complications in spine surgery that could be causing you pain? While most spine surgeries are designed to relieve pressure on the nerves or spinal cord, sometimes, the herniated disc or bone spur is not completely removed. This can leave residual pressure on the nerve and cause the pain […]

Why am I Still in Pain After Spine Surgery?

PART ONE How come I’m still in pain after spine surgery? It’s a common question, and the answer depends on the type of surgery and when you ask. The first couple days after surgery, it is typical to feel pain.  During surgery,  medications such as steroids are infused into the area to help reduce swelling.  The medication […]

Where to Make the Incision?

How does your surgeon decide where to make the incision?  Before surgery,  many want to know how and where the incision is going to be made — with the hope that the smaller it is,  the lesser the pain will be.  People also want to be reassured that the resulting scar will heal and fade […]

Stem Cells for Back Pain: 2020 Update

What’s the update on stem cells for back pain?  The last time I talked about this was in 2018.  So what’s the latest news about this controversial topic? If you watch any advertisement for this procedure online or on TV,  you would think it was an approved, tried and true procedure for improving back pain.  As […]

Placebo vs Nocebo Effect

What is the “Placebo Effect”?  The placebo effect refers to a phenomenon that occurs when patients show an improvement in their condition upon receiving treatment designed to have no therapeutic benefit.  It’s also known as the  “Sugar Pill Effect”.  In research trials,  an active treatment is tested on a group of subjects,  and then a similar […]

When to See a Doctor for Back Pain

So,  when should you see a doctor for back pain? For those who have been following along with our blogs, I have described my process on how to manage non-emergency back pain.     Unfortunately,  for about 10% of you,  despite your patience, your commitment to regular exercise, and other accommodations you have made,  you are still in […]

What Is Pain?

Doc, why do I feel Pain? Believe it or not, that is a very complex question. Experiencing pain is a very important way for animals to prevent further injury. We all know that putting our hand in a fire will result in a burn. But knowing this and actually experiencing the effect of putting your […]