An Overview of the TriCities Spine Approach to Treatment
As spine specialists we are committed to finding a treatment and management plan best suited to your underlying medical condition. We are going to enlist you as active participants in your care and long-term treatment.
Looking for a "Quick Fix"
In our fast-paced society, we often are impatient and look for the "quick fix" solution - a pill to take, a pop of the back or surgery - to take care of the problem. However, spine related disorders are akin to cardiac conditions in that both are often chronic diseases requiring considerable patient motivation as well as physician guidance and treatment for an optimal outcome. While a cardiac stent or bypass may alleviate chest pain and hear damage, patient are often called up to reduce weight and blood pressure, to exercise and to lower their cholesterol to control hear disease. Cardiac stenting or bypass without lifestyle changes lead to a less optimal result.
Spine Care Requires a Lifestyle Commitment
Similarly, spine care requires a lifestyle commitment. While a spinal injection, procedure or surgery can be beneficial, not maintaining spinal muscle strength and flexibility, or use of good body mechanics can increase your likelihood of future problems. It is well-known that one spinal surgery increases your likelihood of having a second spinal surgery. A single disc herniation will have a five to 15 percent risk of re-herniation. A spinal fusion at one level will result in a 40 percent risk for another surgery in ten years. Improving spinal muscle strength and flexibility will allow you to improve your function for daily and recreational activities. As your endurance improves your pain level can also improve. Increased muscle strength can better support an area of the spine that is injured or developing degenerative changes.
What to Expect at Your Appointment
Your physician will assess your condition, order and review needed studies, recommend medications, physical therapy, exercise, spinal injections, and when necessary suggest surgery to find an optimal outcome for you. Treatment will often require a comprehensive approach encompassing many of these elements including the development of and following an independent exercise program. Adhering to your specific program developed in physical therapy will allow you to actively control and improve your spinal health and function over the long term.
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.