Do this for sciatica!

sciatic stretch


Hamstring injuries are one of the most common injuries in running sports. Most injuries involve the lateral hamstring (biceps femoris) , followed second by the semitendinosus). The injury typically occurs where the tendon inserts on the pelvis and causes buttock pain radiating into the posterior thigh.

Tendons heal slowly because of poor blood supply and few cells.Typical recovery involves eccentric strengthening of the hamstring and stretching. Steroid injections are not recommended because steroids can weaken tendons, leading to rupture.

Most hamstring stretches focus on the distal attachment. However, the hamstrings (semitendinosus, semimembranosus, biceps femoris) work by extending the hip or decelerating hip flexion, and work by flexing the knee or decelerating knee extension. Therefore, proper recovery and prevention of future injury requires stretching of the distal and proximal portion. Check this video to see an example!

To learn more, visit us in Blacksburg, right next to Christiansburg, or visit us at:


Good Luck!

Dr Colliver wins Best Bedside Manner Award… Twice!

bedsideMannerAward3At Valley Sports & Spine Clinic, we strive to provide excellent, compassionate care. We are honored to announce that Dr Ethan Colliver received “Best Bedside Manner” award for the categories of Sports Medicine and Physical Medicine, from Our Health magazine.

“It is a privilege to be able to practice the art of medicine.  I don’t view it as a job, but as a passion.  It is fascinating to meet new people and to help them along to recovery from whatever is standing in the way of their goals for pain-free function.  I am also fortunate to have a superb team of Holly Martin, PA, nurses, staff, and others to share these experiences with.”

Congratulations Dr Colliver!

Introducing our newest team member, Shannon

IMG_4074I love my staff. We have had many of the same faces at Valley Sports & Spine since the beginning. Their dedication and knowledge are an integral function of the clinic and I am finally getting around to writing about them on the blog.

A recent addition to our Medical Assistant position is Shannon. Shannon recently graduated from VT and is now in a Masters Program with an ultimate goal of Public Health work. She has a passion for Africa and desires to work in West Africa where the Ebola outbreak is exploding.

She recently completed the Eagle Man triatholon with three generations of her family, her mother and grandmother in a team named TriGenerational.  Their team placed 2nd in the relay division.  Her mother swam for 1.2 miles, her grandmother biked for 56 miles, and Shannon finished with a 13.1 mile run.  Shannon called the experience “Awesome!” and looks forward to more races with her family.

Her family has always been into competing and exercise.  Shannon’s grandmother, who was born in 1939, has competed in the Iron Man triathlon at least 5 times and stars in her own Spinning training videos.  Shannon has been a competitive swimmer since 5 years of age and participated in District and Regional swimming competitions in high school.  She admits she likes the competition more than the practice, and always try to beat her best time in any given sport.

Shannon has an upcoming 1/2 marathon and continues to swim and run regularly. She wants to master bicycling next so she can compete in triathlons, like her grandmother.

Good Luck, Shannon!

Owww…. My disc hurts!

One of the most common causes of low back pain is lumbar disc pain.  The disc has an outer layer made up of cartilaginous (annulus fibrosus) layers surrounding a gel-like center (nucleus pulposus). There is one disc between each bony vertebral level in our low back.  According to Stuart McGill, PhD, it behaves more as a ball-bearing joint than a “shock absorber” (that is for a later topic).  The anatomy allows us to bend our low backs with great flexibility in all directions. The outer third of the disc is innervated by sinu vertebral nerves, meaning that it can transmit pain signals coming from the low back.  The annulus fibrosus is thinnest near to where the nerves to our legs are traveling in our spinal canal.

A disc injury is a tearing of the outer layer allowing the inner gel to work its way to the outside of the disc. The tearing and subsequent leakage of disc material causes a lot of inflammation in the spinal canal. This inflammation can cause back pain, muscle spasms and irritate the nerves to the leg, causing leg pain. If the disc material causes pressure and compression of the nerves of the legs, this can lead to weakness.

Stuart McGill PhD showed that the lumbar disc material can herniate through the outer layer (annulus fibrosus) in as little as 20,000 repetitions of forward flexion or twisting through the lumbar spine. It is unlikely to cause a disc herniation if you bend backwards or sideways. Stooping, sitting, and bending at the waist are causes of disc herniation and subsequently back or leg pain.

His research also has shown that humans will bend forward over 1,000 times a day and backwards only 150 times a day. With this in mind, it is easy to see how we can cause a disc herniation just by doing our day-to-day routines. However, we move in ways that are safe for our discs, such as backwards, very rarely. Therefore, WE CAUSE LOW BACK PAIN BY THE WAY WE MOVE!

There is good news. Proper lifting mechanics can decrease your risk of lumbar disc herniations and back pain. For example, professional weightlifters lift extreme amounts of weight in a squatting position and you find that they do not get disc herniations more frequently than the general population. Why is this? They have proper strength and flexibility within their core, pelvis, and in their hips.


Most treatments for low back pain are reactive, meaning that treatment is started after someone is already experiencing back pain.  Most treatments do not decrease your risk of future back pain. Research shows that the only thing to decrease your risk of future low back pain is exercise. So again I encourage you to get into that exercise program and if you have pain with exercise, ask for help from a physical therapist and physician.

Good luck!

Valley Sports & Spine Clinic
Giving you Back your Life
Dr. Ethan Colliver


Introducing Holly Williams, PA-C

Have you met our PA, Holly Williams?  She started with us in May 2013, and is now seeing a full schedule of new and follow up patients.

Holly Williams is a board certified Physician Assistant from Southern West Virginia, with specialty training in sports injuries and  back and neck pain. She received her Bachelors Degree of Arts at at Bluefield State College. Then, continued her education at Mountain State University to receive a Bachelors of Medical Science and Masters of Science, Physician Assistant.

Miss Williams not only has specialized training in back and neck pain but also treats chronic migraines with botulinum toxin (BOTOX) injections. In addition, Miss Williams can treat chronic knee and shoulder pain with ultrasound-guided steroid injections and geniculate nerve blocks.

In her spare time, Miss Williams enjoys the outdoors, fishing, camping,skiing, and kayaking.

RFA of the Knee | Valley Sports & Spine Clinic

Do you suffer from knee pain?  You are not alone.  Knee pain is one of the most common pain complaints in the U.S., and the number one reason for joint replacement surgery. Common treatments include exercise, pain medicines (Tylenol and Ibuprofen), and injections (steroids or Synvisc/Euflexxa).

If you continue to have knee pain, knee replacement surgery is an option you could discuss with an orthopedic surgeon.  However, some patients are not ideal candidates for surgery either because they are too young (less than 60), too ill for surgery, or choose not to have surgery.

Now there is another option for persistent knee pain, radiofrequency ablation (RFA).  The knee joint is supplied by six nerves (genicular nerves).  If you disrupt the nerves, you can block the pain signals from the knee.  The RFA procedure is done in two steps.  The first step involves temporarily blocking the nerves in order to see if most of your knee pain goes away.  If so, then you can proceed to the second step––radiofrequency lesioning (disrupting) the nerves that supply the knee.  This lasts for 6 or more months and can be repeated if needed.

RFA of the knee does not affect the strength or range of motion and the patient may still have a knee replacement surgery in the future.  To learn more about this exciting new option for knee pain, check out this article from the Journal of Pain, May 2011, by Choi, WJ:
Radiofrequency treatment relieves chronic knee osteoarthritis pain: a double-blind randomized controlled trial.

Valley Sports & Spine Clinic
Giving you Back your Life
Dr. Ethan Colliver