TriCities Spine - A Team Approach
Back and neck pain sufferers shouldn't have to travel all over town to see various doctors. TriCities Spine, main office located in Bristol, Tennessee, recognizes the national trend in spine care is to take a spine center approach, with a multidisciplinary team of spine specialists working together under one roof, emphasizing nonsurgical options.
TriCities Spine is a regional spine center geared specifically to improving the care for back and neck patients. TriCities Spine is a subsidiary of Bristol Neurosurgical Associates, which provides general neurosurgical services to residents of Eastern Tennessee and Western counties of Virginia and North Carolina. TriCities Spine provides relief to back pain and neck pain sufferers from across the Tri Cities of Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City, Tennessee.
TriCities Spine includes the expertise of Dr. Jim Brasfield, a neurosurgeon who specializes in spine surgery. Dr. Brasfield is able to care for any type of back or neck problem, from the simple back or neck strain all the way to the most complex spine surgery. TriCities Spine involves nonsurgical specialists like a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician and consulting physical therapists who have advanced training in back pain and neck pain. Dr. Fred Terry is a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician who specializes in spine. Because TriCities Spine has X-ray and injection therapy under one roof, the back or neck pain patient no longer has to drive around town for care. All the necessary diagnostic testing and non-operative treatment under one roof eliminates the need for multiple referrals, delayed care and confusion.
This spine center is by no means complete. Rather, TriCities Spine is a work in progress, where we hope to continue to improve spine care over the next 5 years for the benefit of those in the TriCities region.
A nonsurgical approach to back and neck pain
What makes our spine center unique is its emphasis on a nonsurgical approach to back and neck problems. TriCities Spine has specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation, also called physiatrists. These physicians have advanced training in back and neck pain and are successful in helping people return to activity—without surgery.
However, if your back or neck problem requires surgery, Dr. Brasfield at TriCities Spine already treats the area's most complex surgical cases. These cases include herniated discs, spinal fractures, and spinal tumor. Dr. Brasfield uses some of the most advanced instrumentation and spine surgery techniques.
Unlike many other spine care providers, the spine patients who undergo minimally invasive surgery at TriCities Spine can often have their surgery on an outpatient basis and be home later the same day. TriCities Spine partners with an ‘ambulatory surgery center’ to perform minimally invasive spine surgery, enabling many patients to go home the same day. Recovery in one’s own home can be more comfortable than staying in a hospital bed.
Pain relief through a focus on function
Pain is a signal from the body to the brain that something is wrong. Either the back is too weak, too inflexible, something lifted was too heavy or the wrong body mechanics were used. And, unfortunately, those doctors who focus exclusively on pain symptoms often recommend a course of treatment that is the exact opposite of what the individual needs to recover from the back problem.
Years ago, for example, doctors treated back pain with bed rest and heavy drugs to mask the discomfort. It was found, however, that this type of treatment was actually damaging to the back, because it caused muscles in the back to get weaker, in turn, causing more strain and pain. Patients became more dependent on drugs and grew more inactive and disabled.
In fact, pain relief actually can come through movement. Low-impact sports like walking and swimming are the best way to make the back feel better and stronger.
TriCities Spine in Bristol, TN is a by-product of discussions with case managers, rehab nurses and managed care experts on a local and national level who believe that spine care can be improved through a multidisciplinary team approach. TriCities Spine includes a board-certified neurosurgeon who specializes in spine, Dr. Jim Brasfield, teamed with a pain management specialist and spine-specialized physical therapy. TriCities Spine physicians already see a variety of complex cases from across Eastern Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky. TriCities Spine emphasizes a nonsurgical approach to back pain, recognizing that in most cases spine surgery should be the last card to be played after nonsurgical options have been tried. About half of patients are referred to TriCities Spine by other doctors in the region. TriCities Spine also cares for those who injure themselves at the workplace. The strength of TriCities Spine lies in the medical expertise brought in by a variety of specialists who complement each other, including experts in physical medicine and neurosurgery. An internal pain specialist is often able to relieve some back and neck pain symptoms with special injections that enable a patient to bridge to therapy. Dr. Fred Terry specializes in pain relieving lumbar spinal injections and as well as myelograms, which may reveal the amount of damage in the spine. Therapists who specialize in spine use customized hands-on treatments to relieve pain symptoms, along with special exercises to help make the back stronger, more flexible and resistant to injury. If nonsurgical treatments are not successful, Dr. Jim Brasfield is trained and proficient in the latest techniques in minimally invasive spine surgery. Because of the minimally invasive techniques used by Dr. Brasfield, many patients are able to have their spine surgery and then return home the same day to recover in the comfort of their own home.