Monthly Archives: June 2014

Fauquier High School Cheer Team



It’s going to be a beautiful weekend!  Stop by Blue Ridge Orthopaedeic & Spine Center tomorrow from 9am-3pm for a free car wash benefiting the Fauquier High School Cheer Team!

56 Things to Do While Recovering from Surgery

This weekend is looking to be stellar, weather-wise, and if you can get outside and enjoy it, please do! However, if you’re recovering from back surgery, getting around might be a bit tough, so here are 56 things to do to help you pass the time, courtesy of Remember though, staying sedentary for too long can have negative effects on everyone, especially those recovering, so unless instructed by a doctor to stay in bed, please make sure to get up and move around a bit.


Pure entertainment

  1. Discover new music from the Internet: Fill up your iPod from iTunes, or join Spotify and Pandora to discover thousands of new tunes.
  2. Search for articles relating to your condition.
  1. Sharpen your thinking skills with online games from You can sign up for the free version to see if you like it.
  2. Read a great classic: To Kill a Mocking Bird, A Catcher in the Rye, The Grapes of Wrath, The Old Man and the Sea, The Great Gatsby, The Call of the Wild, or War and Peace. Invest in a tablet reader such as a Nook, an eReader, or a Kindle to have instant access to almost any book in the world. If you have a smart phone or tablet, download the Kindle or iBooks app. Be sure to check for free or discounted ebooks.
  3. Listen to books on CD or your iPod. Sometimes it’s easier to listen to a book than to read.
  4. Ask your kids to read to you.
  5. Play classic board games with your kids like Monopoly, Chess,Scrabble or Uno.
  6. Subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Videos, or Hulu to watch a season of a TV series that you had always wanted to see. Game of Thrones is an R-rated epic, Breaking Bad is intense and addicting, Chicago Fire is a drama with a fierce following. Or watch an older series, like 24Cheersor The Dick Van Dyke Show.
  7. Do crossword puzzles. Or try a numbers version of crosswords like Sudoku or kakuro puzzles. You can find free kakuro puzzles and free Sodoku puzzles at Livewire Puzzles.
  8. Play the guitar (or learn to), or ask someone to play an instrument or sing for you.
  9. Watch old movies. These are great if you are feeling fuzzy from the pain medications . The classic old movies are slow-moving, so it’s easy to follow the plot. The library is a good source for free or very inexpensive rentals.
  10. Enjoy Xbox or Nintendo, Gameboy, Sony PSP, or any handheld electronic games. Try some of the new games on your smart phone or tablet. Download the Touch Arcade App to keep up to date with the hottest new games.
  11. Try Simon, a classic memory test game. It’s not too difficult, so it’s good if the pain medications are affecting your concentration. You can get a small version of it from
  12. Get wrapped up in a long, complicated novel series. Here’s a great listto get you started.
  13. If you prefer, read the original magical book series, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.
  14. Give yourself a manicure or a facial, or look through magazines to find a new hair style you’d like to try.
  15. Open up a Pinterest account and start pinning away. Pinterest allows you to create collections of your favorite ideas on different boards. VisitSpine-health’s boards while you’re at it.
  16. Read the entire New York Times – that will take at least a half a day!

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Emotional care

  1. Sit out on your deck or porch for awhile each day and get some fresh air and sunshine. The Vitamin D from the sun will help get your endorphins flowing.
  2. Get free therapy online and make friends with other people who are in similar situations on Discussion Forum: “…finding this site and spending time here was a great help during recuperation – both in regard to having something to do but also for learning and understanding about our surgeries and recovery, and also being able to help and assist others here – that’s why I am still active here 7 months after surgery.”
  3. Start a blog: an online diary that allows you to chronicle your recovery and automatically notifies your network of friends and family each time you update it. offers free blog sites.
  4. E-mail a loved one who is having difficulty empathizing with your condition and invite him or her to view the Message Board so they can see what you and others in your condition have to go through.
  5. Connect with an old friend with whom you’ve lost touch. Try sending a card or letter to him or her via old fashioned mail. Or find your friend on Facebook and reconnect.
  6. Learn to meditate and practice, practice, practice. Meditation is great for reducing stress and producing an overall feeling of calm and well-being, all of which contributes to healing.
  7. Start to plan your rehabilitation by visiting Spine-health’s wellnesssections. Pick out exercises you think you’d like to try, and spend time mapping out your exercise plan.

Productive time

  1. Take this time to put all those old pictures in an album, or to turn your digital prints into real photos. Consider learning how to scrapbook or create online photo albums of all your digital prints with,, or any other online photo service.
  2. Research and plan ahead for your next vacation.
  3. Become an expert on a specific subject: rent documentaries, read books, and use Google Scholar to do free online research on a certain subject. Ancient Greece? Bird watching? History of golf? Research and learn all about whatever interests you.
  4. Sort out the pile of mail, bills, catalogs etc.,that has been piling up on kitchen counter since before your surgery.
  5. Put your financials online with Quickbooks or a similar financial management program.
  6. Make some gifts the old fashioned way. Knit or crochet a baby blanket for someone who’s expecting a baby soon, needlepoint something to decorate the baby’s nursery, or make advance holiday gifts.
  7. Learn the almost-lost art of lace making.
  8. Learn to write left handed (or right handed, if you’re a lefty) to exercise a new part of your brain.
  9. Inventory all the stuff you want to get rid of around the house and garage, and sell it on eBay or Craigslist.
  10. Get started on that novel you’ve always wanted to write.
  11. Make a Honey-do (or handyman) list for all those odd jobs that need to get done around the house.
  12. Help build the online encyclopedia Wikipedia by editing or starting any topic where you have expertise.
  13. Learn origami and create beautiful origami gift boxes or figures.
  1. Learn calligraphy and make your handwritten notes gorgeous! This is especially valuable if you have horrible handwriting like mine…
  2. Create a list of recipes that are easy to prepare that you can make once you’re up and around but still recovering. Keep track of them online with Pinterest.
  3. Learn a new language using Rosetta Stone. Many libraries carry the Rosetta Stone program. Or, learn sign language.
  4. Research the health professionals you plan to see once you are ready to leave your home:massage therapists, physical therapists, personal trainers, etc.
  1. Order personalized stationery or address stamps or stickers. Or, if you send out an annual card, get to work designing it and updating your address list.

Feeling better by doing good

  1. Every day write a short thank you (or love note) to the person who is caring for you and put it in the same place for them to find each day.
  2. Write thank you notes to everyone in the hospital who was helpful to you. Go on the hospital’s social media sites and comment on the positive experiences you had.
  3. Help a homeless animal find a home by sharing their stories and pictures from rescue groups on Facebook. Start here.
  4. Pray in your own way. Research new prayers and devotionals.
  5. Read online verses from the Bible about healing and related topics.
  6. E-mail thank you notes to all the websites you found especially helpful (hint, hint!)…it makes all the hard work worth it! Contact us.
  7. Anytime you reach out to help someone else in need, you will feel less lonely and less depressed. Volunteer with an organization that allows you to call and talk to people who are lonely, such as people in nursing homes or people confined to their house.
  1. If you don’t yet have a cause that you’re passionate about, research one online (start here) and make a plan to start donating your time and energy to something you care about once you can get around.
  2. Be an excellent host or hostess. Send out invitations to your friends and family, schedule visits, greet your visitors enthusiastically even when you’re in pain, and encourage them to talk about themselves and their lives. It will go a long way to help take your mind off your situation, and will make it a pleasant visit all around.

Getting mobile again

  1. If you can’t walk much yet, have someone drive you to Wal-Mart or Target and ride one of the scooters.
  2. Schedule appointments with the professionals you researched from #42. Put the appointments in your calendar, and mentally prepare for them.
  3. Just walk, walk, walk. Try to gradually work up to 10,000 steps a day.
  • See Exercise Walking for Better Back Health
  • Get comfortable shoes for walking that are easy to get on and off. Crocs are a favorite – they’re lightweight, slip on so you don’t have to bend over to get them on or off, and have some traction to help avoid slipping.
  • Walk on a treadmill and set a progressive goal (e.g. go for 2 minutes longer each day) that is OK’d by your doctor. Chart your progress each day so you have a visual confirmation of how far you’ve come!
  1. Sign up for a water therapy – it’s very gentle on your back, as the water supports you while you exercise and prevents any jarring motion.

Of course, check with your doctor first before doing any of the above. Many of these ideas do require a laptop and Internet access. If you don’t have a laptop, you can buy an inexpensive one (starting at $600) or try to borrow one from a friend or family member. Wireless Internet access is a good idea so you can access the Internet from your bed, a recliner, or wherever you’re most comfortable. Courtesy of


Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center has on-site state-of-the-art technology to diagnosis and treat orthopaedic conditions.  For your convenience, both our Warrenton and Gainesville offices are equipped with in-office radiology departments.  Not only does this facilitate rapid diagnosis but it’s also convenient for patients who may be experiencing pain or disability at the time of their visit.

To schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified/ fellowship trained physicians, call our Warrenton office at 540.347.9220, or our
Gainesville office at 703.743.2814, or, click here to make an appointment.  Don’t forget to visit us at for a complete list of all comprehensive musculoskeletal services offered at Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center.

Repetitive actions can lead to injury.


tendinitis image small

What is a tendon injury?
Tendons are the tough fibers that connect muscle to bone. Most tendon injuries occur near joints, such as the shoulder, elbow, knee, and ankle. A tendon injury may seem to happen suddenly, but usually it is the result of many tiny tears to the tendon that have happened over time.

Doctors may use different terms to describe a tendon injury. You may hear:
Tendinitis. This actually means “inflammation of the tendon,” but inflammation is rarely the cause of tendon pain.
Tendinosis. This refers to tiny tears in the tissue in and around the tendon caused by overuse.

Most experts now use the term tendinopathy to include both inflammation and microtears. But many doctors may still use the term tendinitis to describe a tendon injury.

What causes a tendon injury?

Most tendon injuries are the result of gradual wear and tear to the tendon from overuse or aging. Anyone can have a tendon injury. But people who make the same motions over and over in their jobs, sports, or daily activities are more likely to damage a tendon.

A tendon injury can happen suddenly or little by little. You are more likely to have a sudden injury if the tendon has been weakened over time.

What are the symptoms?
Tendinopathy usually causes pain, stiffness, and loss of strength in the affected area.

  • The pain may get worse when you use the tendon.
  • You may have more pain and stiffness during the night or when you get up in the morning.
  • The area may be tender, red, warm, or swollen if there is inflammation.
  • You may notice a crunchy sound or feeling when you use the tendon.

The symptoms of a tendon injury can be a lot like those caused by bursitis.

How is a tendon injury diagnosed?
To diagnose a tendon injury, a doctor will ask questions about your past health and your symptoms and will do a physical exam. If the injury is related to your use of a tool or sports equipment, the doctor may ask you to show how you use it.

If your symptoms are severe or do not improve with treatment, your doctor may want you to have a test, such as an X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI.

How is it treated?
In most cases, you can treat a tendon injury at home. To get the best results, start these steps right away:

  •  Rest the painful area, and avoid any activity that makes the pain worse.
  • Apply ice or cold packs for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, as often as 2 times an hour, for the first 72 hours. Keep using ice as long as it helps.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen or naproxen) if you need them.
  • Do gentle range-of-motion exercises and stretching to prevent stiffness.

As soon as you are better, you can return to your activity, but take it easy for a while. Don’t start at the same level as before your injury. Build back to your previous level slowly, and stop if it hurts. Warm up before you exercise, and do some gentle stretching afterward. After the activity, apply ice to prevent pain and swelling.

If these steps don’t help, your doctor may suggest physical therapy. If the injury is severe or long-lasting, your doctor may have you use a splint, brace, or cast to hold the tendon still.

It may take weeks or months for a tendon injury to heal. Be patient, and stay with your treatment. If you start using the injured tendon too soon, it can lead to more damage.

To keep from hurting your tendon again, you may need to make some long-term changes to your activities.

Try changing your activities or how you do them. For example, if running caused the injury, try swimming some days. If the way you use a tool is the problem, try switching hands or changing your grip.

  • If exercise caused the problem, take lessons or ask a trainer or pro to check your technique.
  • If your job caused the tendon injury, ask your human resource department if there are other ways to do your job.
  • Always take time to warm up before and stretch after you exercise.


Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center has on-site state-of-the-art technology to diagnosis and treat orthopaedic conditions.  For your convenience, both our Warrenton and Gainesville offices are equipped with in-office radiology departments.  Not only does this facilitate rapid diagnosis but it’s also convenient for patients who may be experiencing pain or disability at the time of their visit.

To schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified/ fellowship trained physicians, call our Warrenton office at 540.347.9220, or our
Gainesville office at 703.743.2814, or, click here to make an appointment.  Don’t forget to visit us at for a complete list of all comprehensive musculoskeletal services offered at Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center.

Think Pink!



The Fauquier High School Cheer Team is going “Pink” to help fight breast cancer.  Stop by Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center, Saturday, June 14, 11am-3pm, and have your car washed in support of Breast Cancer Awareness!  Hope to see you there!

Stay injury free while out exploring on your bike!


Whether it’s from a crash, overtraining or from poor bike fit, injury is part of the cycling sport. It’s one of the main reasons why riding a bike can be a challenging activity.

Although some injuries are impossible to avoid, there are some things every cyclist can do to prevent injuries. Here is a list of the six that are most common and what you can do to avoid them.

More: How Cyclists Can Improve Their Bone Health

Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury caused by inflammation. This injury is not to be confused with Achilles tendon rupture, which is a much more painful and sudden injury that requires immediate medical attention. Other causes of Achilles tendonitis are poor bike fit and improper position of shoe cleats.

Tip: Back off your training and use ice to calm down the inflammation. Ibuprofen is also recommended for their anti-inflammatory properties. But for Ibuprofen to work, it must be present in your system for consecutive days. Taking it only when you have pain will not help with the inflammation.

More: Overcoming an Injury

If your injury isn’t from overuse, more than likely it has been caused by bike fit. Having your saddle too high keeps the foot plantarflexed (toe pointed down), causing constant contraction of the calf muscles.

Lowering your seat and making sure that your cleats aren’t pushed all the way forward towards the toe will help to even out what muscles you’re using to pedal. Allowing the foot to dorsiflex (toe pointed up) during the bottom portion of the pedal stroke can ease the tension on the Achilles, allowing the tendon to have needed periods of rest.

Patellar Tendonitis
Located just below the kneecap, tendonitis of the patellar tendon is usually caused by having a seat that is too low or from riding too long using big gears. Because of this, the gluteal muscles aren’t being utilized as well as they should be. As a result the quadriceps muscles become overworked and fatigued, leading to tendonitis in the tendon.

Tip: Try variation in your pedal cadence. While every cyclist has their preference, breaking up your training by pedaling in a high cadence (90-120 revolutions per minute) can help prevent injury if you do most of your riding in big gears. Increasing pedal cadence will develop your cardiovascular system too, which is another added benefit.

Raising the seat if it’s too low will also help to utilize more of the hamstring and gluteal muscles, taking some of the strain off of your quadriceps and the patella tendon. Pedal mashers use more of the quadriceps muscles rather than incorporating other of the body’s largest muscles groups used when pedaling in circles. Incorporate the quadriceps, the hamstrings and the gluteal muscles to avoid any one muscle group from becoming fatigued.

Broken Clavicle or Scaphoid
These two bones are the most commonly broken during a crash. The clavicle (collarbone) and the scaphoid (carpal bone on the thumb side of the hand) are the weak points that absorb impact when the arm is extended to brace during a fall.

These injuries require immediate medical attention. It is common for a broken scaphoid to go overlooked because it is so small and the pain is not as debilitating. This can be dangerous, as blood supply to the thumb can be severely impaired, leading to avascular necrosis (death of the bone).

More: Protecting Against Bone-Density Loss

Tip: While a broken bone can’t always be avoided, the general tip when falling off your bike is to continue to hold onto the handlebars. This lets your entire body absorb the blow to the ground rather than just two bones in your outstretched arm. It can be instinctive to reach out with the hand, which is why these injuries occur so often. Remembering this tip might help to keep your hands on the bars where they belong, even during a spill.

Saddle Sores
A saddle sore is a skin disorder caused by long hours in the saddle due to the friction of your sit bones against the seat. Old shorts and having your saddle too high are also common causes.

Tip: Lowering your saddle can prevent less side-to-side motion of the pelvis, which can cause excessive friction against the seat. If you’ve had a bike fit and your seat is at its proper height, using a chamois cream can help to ease the discomfort of your skin rubbing against the saddle, particularly if you move around on the seat a lot during long rides.

Make sure your bib shorts aren’t too old and are providing enough cushion from the insert can also help to prevent saddle sores from occurring. As with anything else, cycling shorts are a matter of preference. When you find a pair that works well for you, buy a few extra pairs and rotate them. It’ll make them last longer too.

Lower Back Pain
Bike fit and long hours in an aggressive riding position are the major culprits leading to lower back pain from cycling. Excessive flexion in the lumbar region of the spine can lead to more serious conditions involving nerve entrapment and sciatica, which require medical attention.

Tip: A good core-strengthening regimen should be part of every cyclist’s routine, particularly in the off-season when less time training is spent on the bike. Cycling often over looks core muscles like the gluteus medius, the transverse abdominus and other smaller muscles surrounding the pelvis.

More: Love Thy Knees: Get the Right Fit

Because the spinal column inserts into the pelvic bone, having weak muscles can prevent cyclists from generating the kind of power from the core needed to sustain long efforts in an aggressive riding positions. This can lead to pain in the lower back by forcing supporting muscles to compensate for the weakness of others. Strengthening the core will help cyclists to maintain these riding positions for longer periods of time while also increasing balance and power.

Neck Pain
Pain in the neck often involves tightness or trigger points in the upper trapezious muscle, which begins at the base of the skull and runs along the sides of the neck to the shoulder. These muscles commonly become fatigued during cycling from having to hold the weight of the head in extension for long periods of time. Other causes of neck pain include bike fit and tensing the shoulder muscles while riding.

More: Exercises to Treat Shoulder and Neck Pain From Cycling

Tip: If your bike doesn’t fit you well, that will need to be addressed first. Shortening the stem and moving your seat forward will put you in a more upright position that might be more comfortable and allow for your cervical vertebrae to be in a more neutral position instead of full extension. However, it is probably a good idea to address these changes with a bike-fitting expert, since making major changes in position can lead to other unwanted injuries.

Loosening your grip on the handlebars may also help. Making a concerted effort to relax the shoulder muscles will reduce fatigue and keep the trapezious muscles from becoming tight.

It is also a good idea to incorporate neck and shoulder exercises to your strengthening routine in the offseason. Shoulder-shrugs, rows and chin tucks (stretching of the neck extensors) are good exercises to start with.

As with all injuries, if you are unsure of your ailment it is best to consult with a doctor if pain is severe or becomes worse with time. Be smart and listen to your body.

More: How to Avoid Lower Back Pain While Cycling

Story by: Marc Lindsay, Cycling Editor at

Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center has on-site state-of-the-art technology to diagnosis and treat orthopaedic conditions.  For your convenience, both our Warrenton and Gainesville offices are equipped with in-office radiology departments.  Not only does this facilitate rapid diagnosis but it’s also convenient for patients who may be experiencing pain or disability at the time of their visit.  To schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified/ fellowship trained physicians, call our Warrenton office @ 540.347.9220, or our Gainesville office at 703.743.2814, or, click here to make an appointment.  Don’t forget to visit us @ for a complete list of all comprehensive musculoskeletal services offered at Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center.