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Jerry Nichols, MD

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Carilion Clinic

Jerry Nichols, MD, is board-certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and fellowship trained in Sports Medicine. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, a Fellow of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and a member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine.

Nichols treats a wide variety of sports and musculoskeletal conditions, and has extensive experience diagnosing and treating conditions of the spine. Nichols has particular expertise in use of ultrasound guided imaging for procedures to treat joint and soft tissue pain, and is knowledgeable in the use of orthobiologics for treating painful musculoskeletal conditions.

Dr. Nichols is a graduate of Loma Linda University School of Medicine in southern California, and completed his residency and fellowship training at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.


  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Sports Medicine


  • Diplomate of the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Certificate of Added Qualification in Sports Medicine


  • Loma Linda University School of Medicine


  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency at Emory University


  • Non-operative/Primary Care Sports Medicine fellowship at Emory University

  • 8 exercises for spondylolisthesis

    Approximately 6 percent of American adults suffer from spondylolisthesis. These 8 exercises can give you relief for this painful condition.

  • SI Joint pain in the hip and lower back

    Sacroiliac or Sl Joint pain radiates from the pelvis area or hips and spreads over your thighs or lower back. Learn the causes, how it's diagnosed, treatment options, and outlook for people with SI joint pain and dysfunctions.

  • How to sleep with sciatica back pain

    If you want to know how to sleep better when you have sciatica pain in your legs and back, we asked a few experts. Here's what they had to say.

  • How water helps your spine

    Spinal discs contain up to 85 percent water. If your discs lose water due to dehydration, you could put yourself at risk for back pain. Find out how.

  • Is fibromyalgia the cause of your back pain?
    Can Fibromyalgia Cause Back Pain?
    April 7, 2020 | Articles

    Back pain affects 80% of people at some point in their life. But what if your back pain isn't spinal, but instead caused by fibromyalgia? Learn how you can tell the difference.

  • Doctor and Patient Discuss Post-Operate Care

    If you've had artificial disc replacement back surgery, these post-operation care tips will help you recover safely and keep your recovery on schedule.

  • Stem Cell Therapy for Back Pain Research
    Stem Cell Therapy for Back Pain
    March 17, 2020 | Articles

    Stem cell therapy is a technology still undergoing testing in many facets of health. In this article, we look at what advances have been made with regards to back and spine health.

  • Child with early onset scoliosis

    Early-onset scoliosis, also known as EOS, is an abnormal side-to-side curving of the spine that appears in children before the age of 10. The curve has to be larger than 10 degrees for it to be considered scoliosis. EOS can also mean an over-curving of the upper back, what’s known as kyphosis.

  • Doing yoga poses may be good for people with scoliosis
    Why Practicing Yoga May Be Good for Scoliosis
    November 19, 2019 | Articles

    Performing yoga poses like downward dog, dolphin and others may be good for scoliosis. Yoga won't cure scoliosis, but adds stability and strength to the spine.

  • Alexis B discusses her degenerative disc disease and artificial disc replacement surgery with BackerNation

    EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD ALEXIS BRINKMEYER underwent lumbar artificial disc replacement surgery to fix her degenerative disc disease.

  • Woman with upper back pain trying to sleep

    Upper back pain before and after sleeping can be brought on by poor posture, overuse injuries, excess sitting and hunching. One often overlooked cause we'll examine is sleeping position.

  • Man with scoliosis receives massage therapy to help with his back pain
    The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Scoliosis
    September 20, 2019 | Articles

    Massage therapy for people with scoliosis massage offers several benefits, such as relaxing the muscles, increasing joint mobility, and reducing pain. Scoliosis massage may work best alongside other treatments such as physical therapy, at-home exercises or bracing.

  • What is informed consent (and why is it important to understand for my spine?)

    Informed consent is the process by which doctors disclose information to patients regarding surgical procedures to enable them to decide whether or not they wish to have a particular treatment or test done. This includes explaining the risks, benefits and other details of the procedure.

  • Will medicare cover your back brace?
    Can Medicare Cover My Back Brace?
    February 26, 2019 | Articles

    For patients covered by Medicare, back braces could be covered by insurance. If your health care professional prescribed your back brace to be medically necessary, and you’re enrolled in Medicare Part B, your back brace should be covered by Medicare.

  • 5 Questions to Ask Your Spine Surgeon

    If your back surgeon recommends surgery as your best treatment option, here are five questions you can ask to make sure you can make a clear decision.

  • best and worst cars for back pain

    What are the best cars and worst for lower back pain? We asked the experts, and they told us which cars make traveling with a bad back most comfortable.

  • Stem stells may help degenerative disc disease
    The Future of Regenerative Medicine
    December 14, 2018 | Articles

    Regenerative medicine describes medical practices focusing on amplifying the body’s natural healing processes to help regenerate unhealthy tissues and organs. For those with back and spine conditions, like degenerative disc disease and facet joint disorders, these treatments could be life changing.

  • Man with insomnia after back surgery

    Falling asleep or staying asleep after back surgery could mean insomnia. Learn the causes of insomnia and how to get better sleep after back surgery.

  • Man using TENS unit as part of electrotherapy treatment for back pain

    Electrotherapy is used tom help manage back pain. For some patients, a TENS unit shocks their pain back to manageable levels offering temporary relief.

  • BMI & Complications in Spine Surgery
    BMI and Complications in Spine Surgery
    November 9, 2018 | Articles

    Can excess weight result in worse outcomes following spine surgery? A study published in The Spine Journal in July 2018 points to "yes."

  • Weighing in
    Can Weight Gain Cause Low Back Pain?
    October 4, 2018 | Articles

    Being overweight can introduce a host of unwanted health problems, back and spine injuries included. Learn how excess weight creates back pain.

  • Man performing straight leg test for sciatica

    Wondering how to know if you have sciatica? This easy test can help you figure out if you have sciatica symptoms.

  • Flying with herniated disc
    How to Fly When You Have a Herniated Disc
    October 2, 2018 | Articles

    If you want to know how to fly with a bad back, these guidelines will help you leave back pain on the ground.

  • Facet joint syndrome
    What is Facet Joint Syndrome?
    September 27, 2018 | Articles

    Facet joint syndrome is form of osteoarthritis that may be caused by aging, injury, or joint pressure. Learn what these joints are and how manage the pain.

  • Woman with piriformis syndrome
    What is Piriformis Syndrome?
    September 26, 2018 | Articles

    Piriformis syndrome, sometimes mistaken for sciatica, affects 6 to 36 percent of low back pain patients. Learn more about this condition.

  • Spondylolisthesis X-Ray
    What You Need to Know about Spondylolisthesis
    September 18, 2018 | Articles

    Spondylolisthesis, commonly known as "slipped disc", is a spinal condition that effects approximately 6 percent of Americans.

  • Woman who has sciatica during pregnancy stretching

    For many women, the risk of getting sciatica during pregnancy is as high at 80 percent. If you already have prenatal sciatica, these stretches will give you some relief.

  • Scoliosis Spine
    How to Do a Scoliosis Self-Check
    June 21, 2018 | Articles

    Scoliosis affects more than 7 million Americans according to the National Scoliosis Foundation. Learn the types of scoliosis and how to check for them.

  • Cervical epidural injection

    Cervical epidural injections are used to treat pinched nerves, herniation and cervical spondylosis. Here's what you can expect after receiving the injection.

  • Spinal Cord Stimulator Surgery Full

    Each year, approximately 34,000 patients suffering from chronic back pain receive spinal stimulator implants. Now, new technology makes it possible for those suffering from back and spine problems to use an implanted stimulation device to manage their pain.

  • Melatonin

    The online sleeping specialists suggest that the best natural sleep aid is melatonin — a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland that helps control your sleep and wake cycles. Does it hold up? Let's examine the facts about melatonin for back pain and sound sleep.

  • TENS Unit
    9 Facts: What is a TENS Unit?
    October 19, 2017 | Articles

    Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is a treatment that employs low-voltage electrical current for pain relief. You use TENS therapy for any chronic pain condition by turning on a small, battery-operated device where you connect two electrodes that conduct electrical currents, from the machine onto your skin. Here are 9 more facts about the TENS unit.

  • Operating Room

    A look at the role of vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty on osteoporosis

  • 3D Printer

    If you or somehow you know is living with scoliosis, you may know a thing or two about wearable braces that allow the spine to remain in alignment. You may not be aware of a new project underway that involves a more comfortable corset created from a 3D printer.

  • Back Pain Caused by Feet

    Over time, walking incorrectly can lead to conditions like sciatica, bulging discs, disc pain and other degenerative spine disorders. You can tell whether or not you are an overpronator, a condition of walking where you shift your weight from heel to the forefoot when walking or running, by looking at your shoes from behind. You'll find excessive wear on the inner side of your shoes — notice the wear pattern on your heels —and they'll tilt inward when on a flat surface...

  • 13 Tips for Better Posture

    If you spend a lot of time working in one or two positions — sitting or standing — you find that you feel a little pain shooting through the top or bottom of back. That’s when most people try to jog their memory and retrace their steps to figure out why their back is hurting. The simplest way is to check to see if your posture may not be one of them.

  • Care

    Before you scribble your John Hancock onto a series of discharge papers from your hospital or surgical center, you’re going to want to have a handle of the sorts of things you need to have a great home recovery. While back surgeries range from non-invasive to fully in-depth, each requires a level of recovery time. That’s why it’s best to talk to your surgeon before you’re wheeled out to your car to know what to expect during your back surgery recovery so that you and your caregiver have a game plan.

  • What's the Remedy for Back Pain?

    There are countless ways to ease back pain out there, and none of them works for every problem. Experiment with each of the suggested remedies to find your relief.

  • How to Crack Your Own Back Without A Chiropractor

    You arrive home from work as you place your keys in the circular bowl next to your front door as your low back pain symptoms creep up — yet again. Your first thought is, "I need to make an appointment with my chiropractor," but you look at your phone and the office is already closed. There actually are ways to crack your back, but what is the best way to crack your back without further injury or even more back pain?

  • Aqua Therapy

    If you have chronic back pain, swimming and aquatherapy can give your back relief. Swimming is a low impact activity that can strengthen back muscles while improving your flexibility.