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Health Report: How your brain plays key role in back pain

Health Report: How your brain plays key role in back pain

In this week’s health report, WHCU’s Pete Blanchard spoke with a local neurosurgeon about how the brain is often connected to back pain.

When you heard the word “neurology” or “neurosurgery,” you probably think of the brain, and you’d be correct.

But neurosurgeons don’t just look at the brain.

Dr. James Metcalf would know. He’s a neurosurgeon at Cayuga Medical Center.

He says while neurosurgery deals with disorders that affect the brain, most of the surgeries he carries out are related to back injuries.

“A lot of times when people think of neurosurgeons they think of brain surgery, but in a community setting like this, most of what we do is actually spine surgery,” Dr. Metcalf said.

He often performs surgeries for people who have ruptured discs or severe lower back pain.

“At the end of the day I tell people, if their pain is a pain they can live with and deal with, and do the things they want to do to enjoy their life and do their job, then they’re better off without anybody operating on them.”

When the pain really interferes with their life, that’s when a patient considers having surgery.

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