Category: Spine

Spine Care at TOC: We have your back!

It’s common knowledge that the spine serves many essential 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 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 result from 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 who have 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, Brian Scholl, Morris Seymour, and Murray Spruiell handle surgical options to address spinal issues; and physicians Hunter Boyett, Brian Carter, Jason Hatfield, Craig Lincoln, and Saranya Nadella specialize in non-surgical interventions for spinal issues. Physicians Steven Buckley, Corey Burke, 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 in a corset-like brace. The brace goes around the back and stomach and can provide additional support where needed.

Injections. Several forms of injections can bring relief. Facet injection is primarily performed for chronic neck and back pain due to spondylarthrosis. An epidural injection may relieve 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. With exercise, active therapy, massage, electrical stimulation, heat, ice, or ultrasound, trained practitioners 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.


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


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TOC Athens Launches Spine Center

TOC Athens now provides patients with comprehensive, multi-disciplinary spine and pain care at the TOC Athens Spine Center. Patients’ comprehensive care begins with understanding their spinal needs – brother duo Dr. Blake Boyett and Dr. Hunter Boyett work together to create an individualized treatment plan for their patients based on the patient’s needs and goals. The Boyetts’ goal is to get their patients back to optimal living.

Board-certified Orthopaedic Spine Surgeon Dr. Blake Boyett joined TOC Athens, once OrthoSports, five years ago. “I was thrilled to join the team here in Athens. I love working in this community, and I am proud to be part of our local hospital – Athens Limestone Hospital.”

Dr. Hunter Boyett, a neurologist with a specialty in Interventional Spine and Pain Management, joined TOC a year and a half ago. “I couldn’t wait to start at TOC Athens – and in bringing my skills to complete our Athens Spine Center.”

“We want go grow with our community – and we saw a need for a spine center. We use the latest technology and have combined expertise and training from prestigious institutions. We are proud of the TOC Athens Spine Center.”


Dr. Blake Boyett attended Samford University for undergraduate education, then continued his education at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences for medical school. He started orthopaedic residency at KCUMB/St. Mary’s Medical Center. After graduating from residency as Chief Resident, he decided to pursue orthopaedic spinal surgery and was accepted in to the prestigious Texas Back Institute for fellowship. Dr. Boyett completed a sub-fellowship in minimally invasive spine surgery and sports related spine injuries with the world-renowned surgeon for the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers, Dr. Drew Dossett.

Dr. Boyett is currently the Director of the Spine Department at Athens-Limestone Hospital and continues to work to offer the most advanced and innovative treatments to neck and back pain.


Dr. Hunter Boyett received his medical education at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, Missouri. 

He completed an internship at Palm Beach Consortium for Graduate medical education in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and then his Neurology Residency at Ohio State University. Growing up in a family where several family members chose a career in medicine, Dr. Boyett was inspired by watching how his family members cared for others and helped their patients get back to doing what they loved. Being a natural-born problem solver and loving the complexity of the spine and neurology, he is passionate about helping patients find relief from their pain.


The TOC Athens Spine Center offers treatments that are associated with degenerative conditions of the spine, such as sciatica, degenerative disc disease, sports related injuries, alignment issues, and more. If you’d like to schedule an appointment, you can do so by calling (256) 233-2332 or clicking below.

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Roller Coasters, Summer Activities, And Your Spine

The dog days of summer are approaching with warm weather and vacation plans.

Perhaps you have a road trip nearing that you’ve been planning for months. Maybe you just want to have a “staycation” this year and do some gardening and chores around the house. Whatever form your relaxation takes, always be aware of your spine. No one wants to arrive at their destination or come home with back pain.

Let’s look at some warm weather snafus that can ruin your summer fun.

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