Tasty Pita Pizza

Who says pizza has to be unhealthy? Check out this recipe for a delicious and healthy pita pizza.

Individual pizzas are perfect for a party or group. Each person gets to custom make their pizza with toppings of their choice. And, pita rounds are the perfect size for individual pizzas. Simple to make, toss them on the grill or pop them in the oven until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Pita pizzas are the perfect quick-and-easy dinner for busy weeknights. Add your own veggies, try different cheeses, or make up a new sauce!

Ingredients: (serves 1, 405 calories)

  • 1 pizza round

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • 1/8 tsp garlic salt

  • 3 tbsp pizza sauce

  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

  • 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms


  • Heat grill to medium heat.

  • Spread oil and pizza sauce onto one side of pita round.

  • Top with cheese and mushrooms (or other vegetables).

  • Season with garlic salt.

  • Add to grill and cover. Cook until cheese is melted (about 5 minutes).


Quick Peachy Oatmeal

Need an easy recipe for those rushed mornings? Indulge in this tasty and nutritious peachy oatmeal.

This peachy oatmeal will remind you of a peach crisp. Quick and easy to make in the morning for breakfast. Substitute honey or stevia for sugar to reduce calories. Also, coconut or almond milk can replace regular milk for those with intolerances and/or water to give it more flavor.

Ingredients: (serves 1, 411 calories)

  • 1/2 (15 oz) can peaches, drained

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, or more to taste

  • pinch of salt, optional


  • Cut peaches into chunks.

  • Stir peaches, water, milk, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together into a microwave-safe bowl.

  • Cook in microwave on High, stirring every 60 seconds, until the oats are softened, about 3 minutes.

  • Stir one final time before serving.


Rich Filet Mignon

A classic and a healthy option for two. Whip up this delicious, low sodium steak with a side salad.

This is an elegant and romantic dinner for two. Served with steamed asparagus and a crisp side salad for a healthy dinner for two.

Ingredients: (serves 2, 367 calories)

  • 2 (4 ounce) filet mignon steaks

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 1/4 cup dry red wine

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • salt to taste


  • Sprinkle freshly ground pepper over both sides of each steak, and sprinkle with salt to taste.

  • Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

  • Place steaks in hot pan, and cook for 1 minute on each side, or until browned.

  • Reduce heat to medium-low, and add balsamic vinegar and red wine.

  • Cover and cook for 4 minutes on each side, basting with sauce when you turn the meat over.

  • Remove steaks to two warmed plates, spoon one tablespoon of glaze over each, and serve immediately.


Crunchy Chicken Fingers

Chicken fingers – a true crowd favorite. And they're gluten free! This quick recipe is sure to please.

Chicken fingers with a crunchy chip coating. Very easy to make. And by using corn chips, they are naturally gluten free!

Ingredients: (serves 6, 474 calories)

  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast - cut into strips

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 1 (12 ounce) package tortilla chips, crushed


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

  • Mix egg beat and milk in a shallow dish or bowl.

  • Place crushed chips in a separate shallow dish or bowl.

  • Dip chicken first in egg mixture, then in crushed chips to coat. Place coated chicken on an ungreased cookie sheet.

  • Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes; turn chicken over and bake for another 10 minutes.


Technology Leading to Rise in Carpal Tunnel Cases?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a very common condition seen in our practice when patients start to experience tingling and numbness of the hands. While we used to see this condition mostly in people operating heavy machinery and working with highly repetitive motions on assembly lines,the increased usage of technology such as computers, tablets, and smartphones has led to increasing cases of carpal tunnel from a wider variety of sources. 

What is Carpal Tunnel? 
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by an overgrown ligament at the base of the thumb-side of the hand, which compresses the nerve and results in a sore thumb joint (among other symptoms). People with carpal tunnel will experience tingling and numbing sensations, but only in the first three digits of their hands (thumb, forefinger and middle finger). These carpal tunnel symptoms can even cause restless sleep. We often see patients describing themselves waking up at night due to these sensations and shaking their hand out to regain feeling that does not fully return. 

Can Technology Use Really Cause Carpal Tunnel? 
While there are many causes of carpal tunnel, constant and repetitive hand movements are most often the culprit. The swiping, typing, and gaming movements used with phones and computers require our fingers to stretch and flex to unnatural positions. With heavy repetition over time, these actions can lead to swollen tendons in the carpal tunnel, resulting in median nerve pressure. Continued pressure on the median nerve can lead to carpal tunnel down the line. 

The technology era has seen more and more children growing up using computers, playing video games and walking around with phones glued to their hands. As a result, we are seeing more carpal tunnel cases come through the doors as these children grow up and the ligament damage begins to show signs of its effects. 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be treated in many ways. Simple splinting at night can go a long way to give the median nerve the rest that it needs to recover from the swelling and inflammation. If you can catch it early, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may resolve without surgery or other medical attention beyond a splint. 

If surgery is needed, the operation is minimally invasive and recovery time is relatively quick. Even some surgeons who have had the condition themselves have returned to practice after only 12 days post-surgery. Carpal tunnel is treatable, and the surgery is not something to be afraid of. 


  1. Since technology isn’t going anywhere, there are several ways you can be proactive against Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that are directly related to technology usage.

  2. When using a computer, sit properly with your elbows by your sides, and your wrists straight and at the same height as the keyboard (not raised up or bent).

  3. Take breaks. If you are playing a game on your phone or computer, make sure to give your hands a break from the repetitive motions required to play.

  4. Stretch and strengthen. Flex and extend your wrist and fingers to reduce stress and strain on this area.

  5. Knowing what can potentially lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and taking actions to prevent it can help you avoid this peripheral nerve injury that appears to be on the rise.

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

During the holidays, it’s hard to maintain healthy eating habits. With all the delicious temptations, it’s easy to get off track. We have found a few holiday recipes that look and taste delicious, but are healthier versions. Everyone should be able to enjoy their holiday favorites. Enjoy your holiday guilt-free with these recipes. 

green bean casserole.png

Healthy Green Bean Casserole- Green Bean Casserole is one of the most popular sides at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Did you know that most green bean casserole recipes contain canned soup and fried onions which are very high in fat and sodium. With the version below, you are eliminating those processed, high sodium and fat components, but still incorporating ingredients that give it amazing flavor. 


  • 2½ pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)

  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • ¾ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon white or black pepper

  • 2½ cups low-fat milk

  • 1½ cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tips) or ½ cup shredded or crumbled cheese


  1. Position racks in upper and lower third of oven; preheat to 425°F.

  2. Toss green beans in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon oil until well coated. Divide between 2 baking sheets and spread in an even layer. Roast, stirring once and rotating the pans top to bottom about halfway through, until tender and beginning to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft and golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add milk and continue to stir, scraping up any browned bits. Cook, stirring, until the sauce bubbles and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. (See Tips)

  4. When the green beans are done, remove from the oven. Preheat the broiler.

  5. Transfer half the green beans to a 2-quart, broiler-safe baking dish. Spread half the sauce over the green beans. Add the remaining green beans and top with the remaining sauce.

  6. Combine breadcrumbs and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl (skip this step if you are topping with cheese).

  7. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture (or cheese) over the gratin. Place under the broiler and broil, watching closely, until the gratin is bubbling and beginning to brown on top, 1 to 5 minutes, depending on your broiler. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

  • Make Ahead Tip: Roast green beans (Step 2) up to 30 minutes ahead. Prepare the sauce (Step 3), cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day; gently reheat until steaming before combining with the green beans.

  • Tips: To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs.

  • To add extra flavor to the cream sauce, at the end of Step 3 stir in 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme, sage or parsley. Or make it cheesy by stirring in ½ cup shredded or crumbled cheese, such as Gruyère, Swiss, Cheddar or blue cheese.

  • Keep food fresh: If you're storing food in your fridge for a few hours or more, it's best to keep it in an airtight container or in a container covered tightly with foil. Foil is best at creating a barrier that doesn't let unwanted flavors in (or out) while you store your food.

pumpkin pie.png

Light Pumpkin Pie- The holidays are never complete if you don’t indulge in pumpkin pie. While pumpkin pie is generally healthier than other pies, it still isn’t a great option. The pumpkin component in the pie is pretty healthy itself, but when you add in all the cream, butter, and sugar, the healthy component is definitely outnumbered. The recipe below reduces the amount of fat and sugar in the pie. Top it off with some frozen light whipped topping to decrease the amount of sugar and fat as well. 


  • Oil Pastry

    • 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour

    • ¼ teaspoon salt

    • ⅓ cup cooking oil

    • 3 tablespoons fat-free milk

  • Pumpkin Filling

    • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin

    • ⅓ cup sugar or sugar substitute equivalent to ⅓ cup sugar

    • 2 tablespoons honey

    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger

    • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

    • ½ cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed, or 2 eggs, slightly beaten

    • 1 teaspoon vanilla

    • ¾ cup evaporated fat-free milk

    • Frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed (optional)


  1. To prepare pastry: Stir together flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add oil and milk all at once to the flour mixture. Stir lightly with a fork. Form into a ball.

  2. Preheat oven to 450°F. On a well-floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten the dough; roll from center to edge into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. To transfer the pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin. Unroll the pastry into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease the pastry into the pie plate, being careful not to stretch. Trim the pastry to ½ inch beyond the edge of the pie plate. Fold under the extra pastry; flute or crimp edge as desired. Do not prick. Line the pastry with a double thickness of heavy foil. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove the foil. Bake for 5 minutes more. Cool on a wire rack while preparing the filling. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.

  3. To prepare filling: Combine pumpkin, sugar, honey, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Add egg and vanilla. Beat lightly with a fork just until combined. Gradually stir in evaporated milk.

  4. Pour the filling into the baked pastry shell. To prevent overbrowning, cover the edge of the pie with foil. Bake until the filling appears set, 40 to 45 minutes (the edges of the filling may crack slightly).

  5. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate within 2 hours. If desired, serve with dessert topping.

  • Tips: If using a sugar substitute, we recommend Splenda® Granular or Sweet 'N Low® bulk or packets. Be sure to use package directions to determine product amount equivalent to ⅓ cup sugar. Nutrition Facts per serving with sugar substitute: 171 cal., 8 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 1 mg chol., 108 mg sodium, 22 g carbo., 2 g fiber, 5 g pro.

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Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes- Sweet potatoes are much better than regular potatoes in itself. What makes sweet potatoes go down hill is the amount of sugar, butter, and marshmallow that covers the popular holiday dish. The recipe below is a lower-calorie and low-sodium option with amazing flavor. It’s also an easy dish to throw together if you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. 


  • 2½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1½-inch pieces (about 8 cups)

  • ⅓ cup pure maple syrup

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. Arrange sweet potatoes in an even layer in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Combine maple syrup, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper in small bowl. Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes; toss to coat.

  3. Cover and bake the sweet potatoes for 15 minutes. Uncover, stir and cook, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender and starting to brown, 45 to 50 minutes more.

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Just before serving, reheat at 350°F until hot, about 15 minutes.
    Part of the holiday fun is eating all the delicious foods. Substituting ingredients in your favorite dishes still makes them enjoyable. Plus, it makes it a guilt-free indulgence. Be mindful of all the foods you’re eating during those holiday get-togethers and always remember that things are okay in moderation and portion control. Happy Holidays from your family at Athens Brain and Spine! 

*Recipes from eatingwell.com

Learn to Love Your Core


Coreblend Training and Wellness

Location: 1260 Greensboro Hwy, Watkinsville, GA

Date: October 13, 2018

Time: 10AM-12PM

Registration required: Email Stephanie.smith@piedmont.org, call (706) 475-1870, or stop by the office for forms.

Work Out With Your Neurosurgery Team!

Have you ever wondered what we mean when we say "a strong core?" The ultimate tool to a good spine health and an active lifestyle at every age.

Join Drs. Walpert and Patil and their staff to learn some new exercises, brush up on old ones, and adapt them to our current needs. Enjoy a fun group setting with individual attention from Coreblend's expert training staff. Round out the morning with hints for nutritional snacks and meals, with recipes and tips from Coreblend's wellness staff. 

All fitness levels welcome- we are all in the same boat here!

All participates will recieve a free t-shirt, first 20 registrants will recieve a special gift.


See what others are saying about the Learn to Love Your Core Exercise Program:






Dr. Patil Helps Woman Stand Up Straight Again And Get Her Life Back

Mary Ann Rivers has struggled for years to sit up straight. After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and going through chemo and radiation, the bones and muscles in her back became too weak to hold up her neck straight.

Dr. Patil stepped in to help. After examining and meeting with her, he learned that she was experiencing dangerous effects from the weakened bone and muscles in her back. She was struggling to swallow and breathe. Dr. Patil knew that something had to be done or she might lose her life.

The surgery took about nine hours. Dr. Patil was able to release the muscles pulling Rivers’ head downward. He was also able to remove calcifications and straighten her spine, fusing 11 vertebrae. On top of the complicated surgery, Rivers also has Parkinson’s disease which makes it harder for the spine to heal correctly.

Rivers said when she found out that Dr. Patil was going to be able to operate on her, she got emotional. She was excited that the misery could potentially be over.

After a few months of recovery, Rivers is sitting up straight and is wearing a brace. Dr. Patil is very proud of her progress and is happy that he could help save her life.

Finding Time to Get Outdoors with a Full Schedule

Exercising is a crucial part of staying in shape, but finding room in a busy schedule already filled to the brim with work and kids can be enough of a challenge in itself. How are we supposed to add another item to our ever-growing todo lists?

The key is multitasking; if you find inventive ways to get outside and get moving, you can accomplish other tasks simultaneously, saving you time and keeping you active! We suggest finding ways to get outdoors that involves the whole family.

One of the simplest ways to get out an exercise: head outside and take a walk! Take your kids, friends, or even your dog and go! You don’t have to go anywhere special. If you are crunched for time, just walk around your neighborhood and use it as time to catch up and chat about your day or to gather your thoughts and plan out your week.

If you have a little more free time, take a trip to one of your local parks. If you have a dog, look for one with a dog park or pet exercise area. Bring a yoga mat and get a session in while your kids play on a playground, or take a jog around the area together. There are endless options! You could even take some snacks with you and help your kids with homework outside after taking a walk through the park. Adjust your exercise schedule to meet your life’s many demands, and you can efficiently accomplish many things while getting much needed exercise and relief from day-to-day life.

Really wanting to get outside and take some time to focus on your health? Pack some water and snacks and hike a trail. There are trails for every level of experience, so don’t let it intimidate you! If you are just starting, pick a short trail with moderate terrain. If you are more experienced and feel like getting some exercise, find a more difficult trail on or near a mountain. The hard work will be worth the view! Take family and friends with you and make a day out of exploring a new place and taking some time to clear your head.

If you are really pressed for time, don’t worry; there are still plenty of things you can do. Head to your backyard and play with your dog for a little while, or do some yoga in the morning for a few minutes before you get ready for work.

The most important thing is that you get outside and exercise in a way that’s fun for you and works with your schedule.

Eating These Foods Could Help Lower Your Blood Pressure

Exercise and healthy habits can help lower your blood pressure—and so can these foods!

1. Reds - Beets and Berries

Beets are high in nitric oxide which opens blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. Berries are rich in flavonoids which helps lower blood pressure.

2. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens high in potassium helps your kidneys flush out sodium which helps reduce blood pressure. Stick to fresh or frozen varieties of kale, arugula, romaine, spinach, swiss chard, turnip greens, beet greens, or collard greens.

3. Bananas

Bananas are rich in potassium which helps your kidneys flush out sodium. Try a sliced banana in your morning oatmeal for a high fiber, low sodium breakfast.

4. Fish with Omega-3s

Not only is fish a great source for lean protein, fatty fish like salmon or mackerel are high in omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and lower triglycerides.

5. Pistachios

Eating a handful of pistachios is a great way to help reduce blood pressure. Pistachios reduce blood vessel tightening and heart rate.

Pool and Diving Safety for Kids

The return of summer weather means it’s time for family pool days. However, it’s important to be thinking of pool safety.

Nothing can replace supervision when kids are in the water. Young children should always be under adult supervision, and older children should swim with a partner. Enrolling children in beginner swimming lessons is a great way to make them more comfortable in the water.

Children should be able to tread water for one minute, find a safe exit, swim 25 yards, and be able to exit without using a ladder before they are considered a proficient swimmer. Emergency skills like basic water rescue skills and CPR are crucial to help a drowning child.

When considering pool safety for kids, one of the biggest risks for children and adolescents is diving. Diving can result in serious, life-threatening injuries. Divers who hit the side or bottom of a swimming pool can suffer from quadriplegia, otherwise known as being paralyzed below the neck. More than 40 percent of spinal injuries caused by diving occur in backyard pools so it’s important to know the proper pool safety precautions.

Before diving, make sure that the water’s depth is more than twice your height. It’s a simple task, and you’ll be glad you took the time to check instead of risking a diving board injury. Follow these diving tips and stay safe this summer.

Diving Safety Tips:

1. Wait until other swimmers leave the diving area
2. Only one person should be on a diving board at a time
3. Never dive into the shallow end of a pool
4. Keep the diving area clear of pool equipment and toys
5. Only dive off of the end of the diving board, don’t dive off of the side.
6. Do not try running dives, bounce only once on the board.
7. Don’t hang off of the board
8. Enroll in a diving class to learn how to safely dive
9. Don’t try to dive through toys
10. Never dive head-first down a slide

Help Lower Your Blood Pressure With These Drinks

High blood pressure seems to be on the rise. Whether it is diet, lack of exercise, stress, or hereditary factors, changing what you drink might help lower blood pressure. Studies have found that drinking these three beverages could help lower your blood pressure.

1. Hibiscus Tea

Anthocyanins and other antioxidants in hibiscus tea may work together to keep blood vessels resistant to damage that causes them to narrow. Many herbal tea blends contain hibiscus, which brews up bright red and delivers a tart flavor. Hibiscus has a tiny sweetness to it but you can add a little honey or stevia to make it sweeter if it is too tart for your taste buds.

2. Reds

Reds, what you ask? Beet, pomegranate, cranberry, and wine (red) are all helpful in lowering blood pressure. These reds help with circulation and cranberries help reduce vessel damage. While red wine has great health properties, the more you drink, the more you increase your risk of developing alcohol-related health issues. To be on the safe side, doctors recommend no more than two glasses of red wine per day for men and one glass per day for women.

3. Milk

Studies have shown that high blood pressure is linked to calcium deficiency. Naturally, the more calcium you consume, the more you decrease your risk for developing high blood pressure based on a lack of calcium. To get the best blood pressure benefits, you want to choose milk that is higher in calcium and lower in fat. For that reason, low-fat milk is the way to go. And, if you are lactose intolerant there is a great alternative for you. Unsweetened almond milk that has been fortified with calcium is a good low-fat milk substitute to help lower blood pressure.

Summertime Grilling Recipes


1. BBQ Grilled Chicken


2 c. bbq sauce

2 tbsp. honey

Juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp. Hot sauce

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts and drumsticks

extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper


  • Make Sauce: In a large bowl, whisk together BBQ sauce, honey, lime juice and hot sauce. Reserve 1/2 cup for serving.

  • In a large bowl, toss chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

  • When ready to grill, heat grill to high. Add chicken, then baste with marinade and grill until charred, 8 minutes per side for breasts, and 10 to 12 minutes per side for legs.

Recipe via: Delish


2. Lemony Grilled Chicken


4 6-oz. skin-on salmon fillets

Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing

kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 lemons, sliced

2 tbsp. butter


  • Heat grill to high. Brush salmon with oil and season with salt and pepper. Add salmon and lemon slices and grill until salmon is cooked through and lemons are charred, 5 minutes per side.

  • Add a pat of butter to salmon right when it’s off the grill and top with grilled lemons. Serve. 

Recipe Via: Delish


3. Honey Lime Tilapia


4 fillets tilapia

2 tbsp. honey

4 limes, thinly sliced

2 ears corn, shucked

2 tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves

1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil

kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper


  • Heat grill to high. Cut 4 sheets of foil about 12" long.

  • Top each piece of foil with a piece of tilapia. Brush tilapia with honey and top with lime, corn and cilantro. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

  • Grill until tilapia is cooked through and corn tender, about 15 minutes.

 Recipe Via: Delish


4. Pesto Shrimp Skewers


1 lb. medium or large frozen shrimp, deveined, thawed

3 lemons, thinly sliced

8 skewers, soaked in water 20 minutes

Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 c. pesto


  • Preheat grill to medium-high. Skewer shrimp and lemon slice. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning occasionally, until shrimp is opaque and lemons slightly charred, 4 to 5 minutes.

  • Brush with pesto and serve.

Recipe Via: Delish

10 Steps to Follow for Bike Safety

Biking is a prominent hobby, mode of transportation and exercise in the Athens area. On any given day, the streets are peppered with students pedaling to class, professionals biking to the office and cycling enthusiasts training for their next big race. Hopping on your bike for a leisurely ride sounds great, but there are several safety factors to consider before you head out for the day. More children ages 5 to 14 go to the emergency room after a biking accident than with any other sport. Whether you are mountain biking with friends, or out for a few hours of fun with the family, we have compiled 10 steps to follow for bike safety.

  1. Wear a helmet!- Wearing a properly fitted helmet is the best way to prevent head injuries. Helmets can reduce the risk of head injuries by almost 45 percent and reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent. Make sure your helmet has a sticker declaring that it meets the standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

  2. Adjust your bike to fit- Make sure the bike fits each rider well. It should be comfortable and your feet should be able to touch the ground when sitting on the seat.

  3. Ride ready- Check working parts of bike regularly or before each ride. Check brakes and wheels; make sure that “quick release” wheels are secure. Oil the chain, check tire air pressure, and make sure that the seat and handlebars are tight.

  4. Go with the flow- Go with the flow and follow bike rules. Mountain bike paths usually have a one-way pattern to follow for bikers safety. Most park bike paths follow the “stay to the right” rule on the pathway. Make sure to be considerate of other bikers.

  5. Act like a car- When street biking, act like a car and follow all traffic laws and lights. It is important to know and use hand signals to notify drivers of your intentions.

  6. Be alert- Stay alert and don’t get distracted. Keeping an eye out for obstacles can help prevent bike accidents. Listening to music or talking on the phone will distract even the best cyclist.

  7. Ensure your visibility- Make sure you are visible to all car drivers and other bikers. Wear bright colors and use lights and reflectors on your clothes and/or bike. Take extra precautions when riding at night or early in the morning. Be cognizant that sunlight in driver’s eyes may prevent them from seeing you.

  8. Don’t hurry- Travel at safe speeds, and yield to faster riders. Move off the road or pathway when you’re stopped.

  9. Use the buddy system- Ride with a buddy and stick together. Not only is safety in numbers smart, but it could be the difference-maker in a driver seeing you on not. Having a riding partner also ensures quick help in the event of an accident.

  10. Dress to impress- And finally, wear appropriate clothing. Make sure that nothing will get caught in the bike chain-like loose pant legs or shoelaces. Proper shoes are important to grip the pedals and protect the feet.

We hope that these steps have enlightened you and help you enjoy your next ride. Biking should enhance your well-being, not endanger it. Be safe, and ride on!

Gales Family Update

On September 26, 2015, I met the Gales family in terrible circumstances--after Devon's devastating spinal cord injury while playing football at Sanford Stadium. What began as a tragedy has brought so much to so many. Devon and his family have been a gift to me personally and to the Athens and UGA community at large. We have learned what courage and grace truly are, how a family's love for one another triumphs again and again. And we have all experienced the truth that in giving, we receive so much more than we could ever have imagined. We were all strangers before that day, and now we are privileged to know this incredible young man and his family, who are working harder than most of will ever understand to make a new way in this world after a moment that changed everything. They have chosen determination, love and purpose over defeat. What an example for all of us.

Be part of building that better way. Join me in supporting the Gales in their journey. Let's build a home....

The University of Georgia Athletic Association has begun fundraising to help build a handicapped-accessible home for the family of Devon Gales, the former Southern University football wide receiver who suffered a career-ending spinal injury at Sanford Stadium in 2015.

With a goal of $500,000, The University of Georgia Athletic Association strives to build a home that includes all the necessary medical equipment required for Devon's care.

You can make donations in your chosen amount by texting “Devon” to the following number: (706) 204-1707. If you prefer to write a check, please make it payable to “Devon Gales House Construction Fund” and send to:


1 Selig Circle

Butts-Mehre Hall Rm. 402

Athens, GA 30603

Attn: Bryant Gantt

Start Your Morning Right

Our mornings are special and unique to each of us. Whether you love them or struggle getting out of your bed every morning, we all have a morning routine that brings us some sort of joy. Starting your morning off right with something you enjoy sets the tone for the rest of your day. Here at Athens Brain and Spine, we all really value our bright and early mornings. Here is a peek into our daily routines before you see us at the office!

Dr. Walpert:

I was headed back to my house from the gym a few mornings ago, looking at the stars and breathing in the nice cool air when it struck me how good it feels to start my days like this. An hour of hard strength training with weights, cardio on a rowing machine or a good solid run outside makes me feel strong and ready for the day. I am sure not 20 anymore, and my exercise routine has changed over the years in many ways, but getting up and beginning my work or weekend day like that gives me focus and energy....and makes me proud of myself for making time and climbing out of that bed to do something just good for myself! Whether it is just me alone, me with a friend or one of my boys, it is always worth pushing through that urge to stay under the blankets. Worth loving ourselves....

Donna Martin:

I like to start my day out by getting up before anyone else does. I take my sweet dog out for a morning walk at 5. Sometimes we walk with my neighbor and get some girl talk in or sometimes it is just the two of us enjoying being outside and getting some exercise. I then come back home and enjoy the first cup of coffee for the morning. Next it is time to get ready and wake up my two daughters. I fix them breakfast and pack their lunches all the while chatting about the events of the upcoming day with the kids and my husband. It is a great time to focus on the people I love as we all are about to head our different ways for the day!

Stephanie Smith:

The morning time is my favorite time. I am a morning person! I start my day with coffee and quiet time. I like to have quiet time in the mornings to pray, reflect, and prepare for the day before my children and husband wake up. But, loving on my children and husband in the mornings is what keeps me smiling through the day and starting each day positive. I realize just how blessed I am by seeing their smiling faces each day and it makes my heart full! My husband and I tell our children each morning to make good choices and be a leader. I think that is something we should each try and do! The one thing I tell myself is, if I can help one person each day or help someone to smile each day, then I feel like I have accomplished something!

Kara Whyte:

I will admit that I am not a "morning person", but the time I get in the morning with my family is something I treasure. Sitting down at the table to eat breakfast and talk about the activities for the day is something I will miss as my children start to "fly the coop.” I also enjoy the few minutes I get with my husband getting breakfast and lunches ready, he is incredible about being able to focus on tasks and watch sports center...amazing. Can't forget how great it is that the dogs are always there with an energetic "good morning greeting" with tails wagging.

Melinda Watson:

I try to start the morning at 5:00 am with a run, unless my sweet rescue pup, Clovis, is lying on my feet. In that case, I treat us both to an extra hour of sleep. I give my husband a goodbye kiss and I must admit that I give my two dogs a goodbye kiss as well. I have a 30-minute commute so I use that time to listen to NPR and plan my day. When the weather is nice I walk into work from our offsite parking lot and that gets me energized for a day of taking care of our patients.

Wes Anderson:

I wake up to music and keep it going throughout my morning routine. Music gets me moving and in a good mood to keep my going throughout the day. Also, instead of coffee, I enjoy a Coke Zero to get my morning caffeine to get me energized.

Victoria Fincher:

I start my morning by kissing my daughter on the head as she is still sleeping. I get in the car and talk to my Lord, listen to some music to get myself ready for the day. I always remind myself that what happens that day the Lord will help me through.

What’s your morning routine look like? What brings you joy? Start your morning off right and seize the day!

Our Education Doesn't Stop After Medical School

The medical field is fast-paced and ever-changing. Becoming a physician or nurse requires many years of initial education, but the learning doesn’t stop after medical school. Medical students are lifelong learners. After they take their boards, pass, and become licensed, these professionals continue their education. 

Continuing Education helps healthcare professionals: refine their skills, keep up to date on their specialty’s advances, meet licensing/certification requirements, and so much more. Continuing Education also ensures that patients are receiving the best and most up-to-date treatments. 

To keep up with all the modern medical issues and advances, healthcare professionals must be like a sponge absorbing new information. We highly value Continuing Education here at Athens Brain & Spine. By staying current with medical advances, our doctors and physician’s assistants are equipped to treat you with the utmost knowledge and care.

Is Cracking Your Neck Bad? A Neurosurgeon’s Answer

Think that it’s dangerous for the girl sitting next to you in class to crack her neck? Does your neck crack occasionally? Many people ask the question, “Is cracking your neck bad?” Don’t fret - it’s not something to lose sleep over. Unless it is associated with other symptoms such as weakness in the arms or bad neck pain, you don’t need to make a trip to the doctor. The sound is often caused by fluid moving around in the joints of our necks, which is normal.

So take a deep breath and let your mind be at ease! For the most part, cracking your neck isn’t as bad as it sounds!

Contact Sports and Concussions

Don't let fear of contact sports and concussions deter participation in sports

It’s that time of the year again… Stadiums are filled with ecstatic fans, tailgate parties sprinkle our nation and players put on their gear ready to play! It’s an exciting season and you might have a child of your own taking the field this year. Have you found yourself worried for their safety in football and other contact sports? Do you hear about concussions and instantly panic?

Dr. Walpert discusses how a concussion should be handled. Physical exercise is crucial to the health of our kids today, which makes contact sports a great option. However, there are several factors to keep in mind when your child takes the field. Make sure they know to listen to their body and never push an injury too far. Many people are able to recover from a concussion in less than two weeks with the proper treatment and recovery. Fear of concussion shouldn’t deter participation in sports, but safety must remain the top priority!

Emergency Care in Athletics Course Media Advisory

Last month, the medical and sports communities of the southeast joined together at an Emergency Preparation for Athletics Course hosted by Louisiana State University. Our very own Dr. Walpert was one of a handful of invited speakers at the conference, and our friends at Athens Regional Medical Center were among the event’s sponsors.

The course holds a special significance to the staff at Athens Brain & Spine and ARMC because it was created following the cervical spine injury of Southern University football player Devon Gales. The Gales family and Southern University saw an opportunity to bring together national experts and the athletic community to raise the bar on emergency care for athletes with a focused continuing education conference aimed at teaching physicians, EMTs and sports medicine personnel. We are fortunate enough to be a part of Devon’s care team, and his positivity throughout this trying time has been a light for all of us. We hope that by contributing to the Emergency Care Course we can continue to make a difference in the lives of athletes who have experienced similar situations as Devon’s, while educating others in the hope of preventing future athletics-related emergencies.

We were privileged to be among so many others from the medical community. Among the attendees invited there were 150 medical personnel from the Southwestern Athletic Conference schools and Southeastern Conference schools, as well as representatives and doctors from local emergency medical services and hospitals. The course covered a wide range of emergency conditions common in athletics and the proper responses to take if one arises. We were able to learn from each other about best practices in these situations and practice scenario-based athletic emergency techniques.

This course is so important for all medical professionals because of its ability to educate and train us to respond quickly in situations of crisis. At Athens Brain & Spine we continually strive for excellence in medicine and patient care, and if we can make a difference in an athlete’s quality of life following an injury, then it will be well worth it.

For more on this story:

http://www.lsu.edu/mediacenter/news/2016/06/30emergencycarecourse.tk.php http://www.swac.org/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=211061291