back pain relief

Make the Most of your Back!



Your back is essential in almost every move you make.  Unfortunately, most of us don’t realize this until we hurt ourselves.  Fortunately, it is possible to recover from most back injuries.  Here are some suggestions from,1557  to protect your back and stay mobile and maintain comfort.

Back pain in people under age 45 is most commonly caused by disability.  There are a variety of factors that bring on back pain, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).  Weak muscle tone and being overweight strains the back and incorrect twisting or lifting can often send your back into spasms.  Normal wear & tear along with aging also makes your back more vulnerable to injury.  Sometime, back pain occurs for no known reason!


Strong abdominal and back muscles can reduce your risk of injury.  You can strengthen your back muscles by getting regular exercise.


With a bit of patience and care including a few home remedies, you should feel better within 6 weeks after your injury.

  •  Get out of bed!  Rest in bed as little as possible (only a few days at the most).  Too much bed rest will weaken your muscles and possibly slow down your recovery.
  • For the first 2 days, use ice or cold compresses to help reduce your back pain.  Wrap a towel around a bag of ice or frozen vegetables that will adapt to your body shape.  If after 2 days of ice treatment you are still in pain, soothe your muscles with heat.  Try a heating pad on its lowest setting, take a warm shower, or soak in a warm bath.
  • Over the counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications may also provide relief.  Either of these can reduce muscle and joint inflammation and relieve pain.  Talk with your doctor about appropriate medication and dosage.


  • Weakness or numbness in the leg.
  • Your back pain began after you fell or were struck.
  • You are experiencing bladder or bowel problems.
  • Pain continues after a few weeks of home care.


  • Maintain good posture.
  • Sit in a chair that will support your lower back.  If you don’t have a supportive chair, use a rolled-up towel or a small pillow against the curve in your lower back.
  • Exercise.  Aerobic exercise, such as walking or biking, increases blood flow of blood and oxygen.  Be sure to choose your exercises cautiously.  For example, running may not be the best exercise for a weak back.  Swimming and water aerobics support your back while you exercise.  Walking is a great way to exercise!  If you’ve suffered a serious back injury, be sure to talk with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to reduce the stress on your back.
  • Lift properly.  Bend at your knees and keep your back straight when you pick something up, even if you have to squat or kneel.  When you pick up an object, hold it close to your body.  The farther it is from the middle of your body, the more stress it puts on your back.
  • Pay attention to pain or twinges.  If you experience back pain during an activity, stop and rest.  Your body might be trying to prevent you from injuring your back.

At Blue Ridge Orthopaedic & Spine Center, our physicians and physical therapists treat and offer the best care available for nearly every kind of condition including spine trauma of the neck and back, tumors and infections of the spine, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, and adult degenerative conditions of the neck and back.  Please call our spine specialist’s @ 540.347.9220 (Warrenton location) or 703.743.2814 (Gainesville location) for more information.  Don’t forget to visit our website!  Our goal is to treat each and every patient with the highest standard of care and help you get your life back!

What is a Percutaneous Discectomy Procedure?



Surgery Overview

Percutaneous means “through the skin” or using a very small cut. Discectomy is surgery to remove herniated disc material that is pressing on a nerve root or the spinal cord.

There are many different kinds of percutaneous discectomy procedures. All of them use small instruments that are inserted between the vertebrae and into the middle of the disc. Most of the time they are done in a surgery center using local or general anesthesia.

X-rays help guide the movement of the instruments during surgery. The surgeon can remove disc tissue by either:

  • Cutting it out.
  • Sucking out the center of the disc.
  • Using lasers to burn or destroy the disc.

What To Expect After Surgery

You can expect to go home on the same day you have the procedure.

You can use prescription medicine to control pain while you recover.

For several weeks after surgery, you’ll need to avoid long periods of sitting and avoid bending, twisting, and lifting.

Why It Is Done

Percutaneous discectomy may be done if:

  • Your medical history, physical exam, and diagnostic tests (such as MRI, CT scan, or myelogram) show that the disc is bulging, and the material inside the disc hasn’t ruptured into the spinal canal.
  • Pain and nerve damage have not improved after 4 or more weeks of nonsurgical treatment.
  • Your symptoms are very bad and get in the way of doing normal activities.
  • There are signs of serious nerve damage in your leg that may be getting worse. These signs include severe weakness, loss of coordination, or loss of feeling.

It should not be done if you have:

  • Pieces of disc material in the spinal canal (as seen on a CT scan or MRI).
  • Narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis).

For more information regarding Percutaneous Discectomy please contact the spine specialists @ Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center at 540.347.9220 or visit our website

What is Pain Management?



Pain management is a branch of medicine that applies the latest in treatment methods to reduce or control pain.  Our fellowship trained, board certified pain specialist’s specialize in a variety of solutions including pharmacological, interventional and alternatives to reduce or control pain.

At Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center, our pain management group offers a variety of options tailored to address all of our patients’ pain management needs.

Comprehensive Pain Management Services for all Pain Conditions

  • Complex pain and spine disorders
  • Acute and chronic pain management
  • Diagnostic and therapeutic interventional procedures
  • Electrodiagnostic testing
  • Neuromodulation for chronic pain management

Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center offers inpatient, outpatient, surgical and non surgical services, as well as cutting-edge, minimally invasive pain management treatment for patients with acute or chronic pain.  For more information, please contact one of our pain specialists @ 540.347.9220 or visit

Understanding the Thoracic Spine and Upper Back Pain



The thoracic spine consists of 12 chest (thoracic) bones (vertebrae.)  These bones consist of connective tissues, muscles, spinal segments, nerves, and joints which are separated by pads of cartilage that cushion the bones in the upper back.  This article from explains how the thoracic spine can be a main source of pain for the upper back.

Muscular problems – In most cases, upper back pain is caused by muscle irritation or tension.  Poor posture or any type of irritation of the large back and shoulder muscles are usually the cause.

Arthritis – Inflammation in the spine due to arthritis may cause soreness, pressure to the nerve, and or limited range of motion.

Vertebral fractures – Compression fractures caused by osteoporosis are the main cause of thoracic spine pain as the body ages.  Compression fractures can occur anywhere in the spine but typically materialize in the lower vertebrae of the thoracic spine.

Scoliosis – Scoliosis is a spine abnormality in which the spine curves sideways which can cause upper back pain.

Joint Dysfunction – Pain caused by joint dysfunction, (where the ribs are connected to the spine at each level of the thoracic spine, can cause pain.

Kyphosis (hunchback) – There are many factors that can cause kyphosis, including poor posture or a deformity such as ankylosing spondylitis or Scheuermann’s kyphosis.  Even though kyphosis is a deformity, it can still cause serious pain.

Pain in the thoracic spine can indicate a sign of more serious underlying disease.  At Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center, our physicians treat nearly every kind of condition including spinal trauma of the neck and back, tumors and infections of the spine, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, and adult degenerative conditions of the back.  Call today to schedule an appointment – 540.347.9220 or visit us @ for more information.

Prevent Back Pain at Work



It’s hard to face the fact that most of us will have some type of spinal degeneration, a drying out of the discs and arthritic changes in the spine due to age.  If you have a job that requires hours of standing, you are more at risk, although those with desk jobs are certainly not immune to back pain.

Follow these strategies from Krames  Staywell to reduce your risk!


Shape Up

Overweight and out of shape are a risky combination because of the stress and pressure they place on the spine.  Aerobic conditioning on a treadmill, stair machine, or elliptical trainer will accomplish two things:  Strengthen the trunk muscles so they can support the spine and burns calories, which in turn causes weight loss.

Lift Properly

Office workers on occasion may have to lift boxes of files or a heavy stack of mail at some point during the day.  Here is what you should do:

  • Stand close to the object
  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend at the knees and tighten your stomach muscles.
  • Lift with your leg muscles as you stand up.
  • Don’t twist your spine; pivot your feet to change directions.

Follow these same steps in reverse as you put the object down.

Adjust your Workstation

Start by adjusting your chair to support your back.  Adjust so the lumbar support fits into your lower back inward curve.  Then adjust the chair so your feet are resting flat on the floor.  For the most benefit, place your monitor and keyboard directly in front of you.

Keep Moving During the Day

Our backs require movement and lots of it!  Do your best to take a walk to the coffee or water machine.   Walking will keep your muscles strong and lubricate the spine.

The Spine Center at Blue Ridge Orthopaedic and Spine Center resolves everday aches and pain.   Poor posture, trauma, lifting, and aging are all factors that can injure your spine and cause pain.  Whether caused by an injury or the normal wear and tear of time, spine-related ailments require the best care available.  Call us today @ 540-347-9220 to schedule an appointment or visit  to learn more about our services.