Category: Newsletter

TOC “Casts” Support to Local Charities

TOC Kickin' Bass Tournament
Photo credit: Mr. Phil Bergstresser

The Kickin’ Bass Coaches Charitable Bass Tournament on Lake Guntersville is a fun and competitive annual fishing tournament that raises funds for local charities. TOC is proud to have supported this event for its 19th annual run, while raising money for local non-profits such as North Alabama Wheelchair Basketball Support Association and Semper Fi Community Task Force of North Alabama.  Continue reading “TOC “Casts” Support to Local Charities”

Spine Surgery now at Madison Hospital

TOC First to Offer Spine Surgery at Madison Hospital

Madison HospitalWe are excited to announce that TOC’s dedicated Spine Team is the first to bring Spine Surgery to Madison Hospital. Furthering our commitment to increase access to expert care, TOC is proud to support our patients’ needs with expert spine care closer to their homes, where they are most comfortable. 

The new Spine Surgery service complements a wide variety of TOC’s orthopaedic care at the Madison Hospital location. From preventative care to the latest in surgical techniques, you can trust the experts at TOC for all things spine-related.  Whether you need help with an existing problem or you just want to avoid issues in the future, we would be pleased to help you get your “back” on track. 

(This article originally appeared in TOC’s Winter 2018-19 newsletter.)

Staff Spotlight: Sports Medicine

Dr. Greco w/Alabama A&M Univ. Football - TOC Sports Medicine
Dr. Greco on the sideline for Alabama A&M University.

Think back to a time when high school coaches were more than just coaches to their athletes, playing the role of father-figure, team counselor, and even medical professional. Fast forward to today, and while coaches still wear many hats, the days of telling kids to “rub some dirt” on an injury have long gone.  Thanks to advancements in sports medicine care for premiere athletes, coaches have turned to TOC Sports for treatment of their athletes’ sports-specific injuries.   

But, this system wasn’t put together overnight.  In fact, you’d have to turn the calendar back to just before the turn of the century, when sports were big, but not sports medicine…yet. In 1999 a group of sports-trained orthopaedic professionals from TOC answered the call for specialized sports care and assembled to form TOC Sports.  Teaming up with Certified Athletic Trainers from Huntsville Hospital, TOC Sports began to identify organizations, on all levels, who could benefit from the care of sports medicine specialists.        

TOC Sports Medicine: Supporting Area Athletes

Huntsville Havoc Hockey Team - TOC Sports Medicine
TOC Sports Medicine physicians are proud to be the team physicians for the Huntsville Havoc.

What began as sports medicine support for a small number of schools in our area has grown to include nearly two dozen high schools and middle schools across North Alabama including: Huntsville, Madison, and Athens City school systems, as well as Oakwood and Alabama A&M Universities. Professional teams like the Huntsville Havoc hockey team count on the TOC Sports physicians for their on-the-spot care.         

This growth has allowed TOC Sports to become the most comprehensive sports medicine team in Alabama, with some very unique services including pre-season physical exams and injury prevention programs.  TOC Sports and Huntsville Hospital also offer a Friday Night Post-Game Injury Clinic during the fall sports season as a way to continue to help athletes after the game is over.  Athletes can benefit from our innovative therapies and procedures including: ultrasound-guided injections, bioinductive implants and regenerative medicine, like Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC) treatments which have shown to decrease recovery time in patients recovering from surgery. 

Dr. Davis at Sparkman High Football - TOC Sports Medicine
Dr. Davis on the Sparkman High School sideline

Beyond their commitment to the health and well-being of student-athletes, the TOC Sports physicians understand that the word “student” comes before “athlete”.  We recognize the dedication it takes to be a successful student-athlete, and proudly support the Athlete of the Year Scholarship Program.  This program recognizes outstanding high school seniors who go above and beyond, excelling inside and outside the classroom.   

Whether you’re a professional athlete, a weekend warrior or just getting started with an active lifestyle, the Sports Medicine specialists from TOC Sports can develop a game-plan to care for all your orthopaedic needs …and Keep YOU in the Game! 

TOC Sports Medicine Physicians: 

TOC Pediatric Sports Medicine Specialists:

(A version of this article was originally published in TOC’s Winter 2018-19 newsletter.)

Patient Profile: Tanner Gibson

When 17 year old Tanner from Decatur started experiencing daily leg pain, she initially thought she was being too active. Between her job in a doctor’s office, working out regularly at the gym, and her daily walks with her dog, Callie, that seemed like a reasonable assumption. In addition to her typical activities, Tanner had recently been helping a friend pack to move. She hoped the pain was related to her over-exertion and would resolve with a little rest. Unfortunately, the pain worsened and became an ongoing hardship.  

Tanner endured discomfort for four months before she went to a chiropractor. Unfortunately, that visit brought only a short respite from her pain. Steroid packs and acupuncture didn’t bring relief, either. 

Family trips were canceled as she dealt with debilitating back pain. She was unable to sit through long car rides or enjoy short walks. Tanner started to feel depressed about missing out on life. 

Tanner’s mother Kacey, a nurse, was desperate to find a solution for her daughter’s pain. Finally, at the recommendation of a colleague, she and Tanner visited the office of Dr. Larry Parker, a well-known and respected TOC spine surgeon.

Dr. Parker was able to quickly diagnose the source of Tanner’s troubles as sciatic pain due to a slipped disc, which was pinching a nerve. The solution would require surgery… Tanner knew this was her opportunity to find relief and scheduled her surgery within two weeks of that visit. 

“I was really afraid for her to have any procedure done to her back, but we felt we had exhausted all other options.” Kacey recounted. Thankfully, consistent communication from Tanner’s surgeon helped relieve her parental anxieties.  Dr. Parker called Tanner’s mother before the surgery to discuss previous successes he had with similar cases. He also spoke with her the morning of the surgery and after it was complete to report on the procedure’s success. Tanner was released to go home after a couple hours. “Looking back, I wish we had considered the procedure much sooner,” Kacey said. 

After two weeks of rest at home, Tanner was back at work and enjoying her life totally pain-free. “Before I had surgery, I thought I would have to miss my Senior Trip. Now, I feel 100% better. The Senior Trip is booked and I’m Bahama bound!” Tanner said. 

Dr. Parker and TOC are very glad to have been a part of Tanner’s recovery. We wish her well as she and Callie enjoy an active life once again.  

TOC stands ready to create many more positive outcomes for our patient family with our excellent team of Spine Surgeons: Drs. Blake Boyett, Larry Parker, John Rodriguez-Feo, Calame Sammons, Brian Scholl, Morris Seymour, and Murray Spruiell. In addition, physicians Steven Buckley and Michael Lawley, TOC’s pediatric orthopaedic specialists, treat spine issues in children ages newborn to 14.

(A version of this article was originally published in TOC’s Winter 2018-19 newsletter.)

TOC Patient Spotlight - Tanner Gibson

“Tanner woke up from surgery with immediate relief.  We would recommend Dr. Parker to anyone having back pain.”

– Tanner’s mother, Kacey 

“It is highly unusual to see this kind of injury in someone so young, but fortunately, I’ve had lots of success with these operations and patients of all ages are able to resume their normal lives. It’s so rewarding to see someone recover and enjoy life as they want.”

Dr. Larry Parker 
                TOC Spine Surgeon


Spine Care at TOC: We have your back!

It’s common knowledge that the spine serves many important functions: it helps you stand tall, sit comfortably, and move with ease.  Whether you are a football player or a retired school teacher, spine injuries can be devastating. Nobody likes to have a “pain in the back”.  You want to take good care of your spine to maintain your quality of life, mobility and independence.

Some common and not so common spine issues:

Issues with discs. Injuries can occur in any section of your spine: Neck (cervical), Thoracic (mid-back), and/or Lumbar (lower back). These discs can herniate, tear, and degenerate. The causes of such injuries vary greatly. Degeneration and tears can happen with normal wear and tear from aging, while herniation can be the result of lifting, twisting, pulling or some other movement.

Pinched nerves. A nerve can become pinched if there’s too much pressure on it. That can be the result of something pushing on it, like muscle, tendon, cartilage or even bone. When a nerve is pinched it can cause tingling, numbness or discomfort.  

Sciatica. The sciatic nerve runs along your back and down to the legs. When that nerve sustains an injury, it can become very uncomfortable. Pain can be felt in the back, legs, and bottom, and the discomfort has been known to hinder common, regular motion. 

Scoliosis. Kids, adolescents, and those suffering from arthritis might find that their spine has developed an abnormal curve. This curve can create pressure and discomfort that may affect the back and lower extremities. 

There are multiple approaches, both surgical and non-surgical, that can treat these spinal issues.  TOC physicians Blake Boyett, Larry Parker, John Rodriguez-Feo, Calame Sammons, Brian Scholl, Morris Seymour and Murray Spruiell handle surgical options to address spinal issues; and physicians Brian Carter, Michael Cosgrove, Craig Lincoln, Vandana Maladkar, and Saranya Nadella specialize in non-surgical interventions for spinal issues. Physicians Steven Buckley and Michael Lawley, TOC’s pediatric orthopaedic specialists, treat spine issues in children ages newborn to 14.

Non-surgical approaches include: 

Bracing. Some patients find stability and comfort with a corset-like brace. The brace goes around the back and stomach and can provide additional support where needed. 

Injections. There are several forms of injections that can bring relief. A Facet injection is primarily performed for chronic neck and back pain due to spondylarthrosis. An epidural injection may provide relief from radiating arm or leg pain caused when a nerve in the spine is inflamed or compressed (“pinched nerve”). 

Medication. Pain and inflammation can often be managed with prescription and over-the-counter medications. These may include steroids and narcotics. 

Physical Therapy. Trained practitioners, with exercise, active therapy, massage, electrical stimulation, heat, ice, or ultrasound, can help alleviate spinal discomfort. 

Pay attention to your posture and stretch regularly. Move carefully, with intention and watch for signs your spine might need attention. 

100 Best for Spine Surgeries in 2017   
-Health Grades 

At TOC, we have your back and are here if you need us. 

(A version of this article was originally published in TOC’s Winter 2018-19 Newsletter.)

TOC Fit Tips: Shoulder Stretches

4 Easy Stretches for your Shoulders

Whether you’re picking up grandbabies in a big bear hug or throwing the winning touchdown, everyone needs to be able to move their shoulders through their normal ranges.  You can improve your flexibility through range-of-motion (ROM) exercises. Stretch out your shoulders with these four basic movements.
ROM Flexion: Slide your arm up a wall, with your palm facing out as you lean toward the wall. Hold that for 10 seconds, and repeat it five times, twice a day. Alternate each arm.
ROM External Rotation: Keep the palm of your hand against a door frame with your elbow bent at 90 degrees. Turn your body from the fixed hand until you start to feel a stretch. Hold ten seconds, repeat five times and do this twice a day. Alternate each arm.
ROM Towel Stretch: With interior rotation pull your arm up behind your back by pulling the towel up with your other arm. Hold for ten seconds, repeat five time and do this set twice a day. Alternate each arm.
Corner Stretch: Stand in the corner with your elbows at shoulder level, leaning forward to stretch across your chest. Hold for ten seconds, repeating five times for two sessions a day.
For more tips, visit, your online guide to Sports Medicine.

(This article originally appeared in TOC’s Winter 2018-19 Newsletter.)

TOC Fit Tips: Hips & Knees

3 Easy Exercises and Joint Strengthening Tips For Your Hips & Knees

Fit Tips - Hips & Knees | TOC | The Orthopaedic CenterEveryday life can be very demanding on your body’s joints, so it’s especially common for athletes to feel occasional pain in those areas. If you need a joint issue addressed, TOC has a specialist for you.  Meanwhile, here are some helpful conditioning exercises our physicians recommend to keep your body strong. These exercises use just your body weight, no equipment needed! Continue reading “TOC Fit Tips: Hips & Knees”