Back Pain And Sports – How Do Athletes Treat It?
Back pain and sports go hand in hand, impacting athletes’ abilities to participate in sports due to server cervical, thoracic, lumbar, or sciatic pain. Lower back pain is the most common condition among athletes of different sports, including golf.
For example, Tiger Woods is a famous golf player who has won many major tournaments. However, golf and back pain went side-by-side for Woods throughout his illustrious career. Read on!
Golf and Back Pain
Back pain and sports are companions, affecting sportspeople’s overall health and well-being and preventing them from participating in tournaments. It means sports can affect an athlete’s life significantly.
Sometimes, it can end a sportsperson’s career. For instance, when Tiger Woods complained of back pain in 2010, many fans thought that they would not see Woods playing golf again.
In 2010, Woods felt pain on his right side. Woods discussed his condition with the doctor, who suspected that he might have a herniated disc. Tiger took medication and performed physical therapy to relieve a tingling sensation on his right side.
A few years later, Woods complained of severe back pain. The doctor diagnosed that Woods had a herniated disc. Because the pain was unbearable, it caused Woods to withdraw from the Honda Classic Tournament and undergo a microdiscectomy surgery.
Woods underwent a second microdiscectomy surgery in 2015 to relieve his back pain. Tiger underwent follow-up surgery a few months later, in September 2015, to stabilize his spine and alleviate discomfort. A microdiscectomy surgery requires the surgeon to remove a herniated disc that pinches the surrounding nerve.
Back Pain and Sports – Tiger Woods’ ALIF Surgery
Tiger Woods has millions of fans worldwide who want to see him play professional golf and win tournaments. However, there was a time when the fans got disappointed because Tiger Woods had almost lost hope to return to professional golf due to severe lower back pain.
Woods took medications, performed physical therapy, exercises, and underwent other conservative treatments, such as steroidal injections. However, these treatments failed to relieve his lower back pain. Woods consulted a qualified orthopedic surgeon who advised him to undergo ALIF surgery to alleviate his back pain.
Because Woods had previously undergone two microdiscectomy surgeries and follow-up surgery from a posterior approach, the surgeon told Woods that undergoing another surgery posteriorly can increase the risk of permanent disability. That’s why Woods agreed to undergo ALIF surgery.
ALIF surgery is different from PLIF surgery. It is an advanced form of fusion surgery that requires the surgeon to make a small incision in the abdomen to reach the damaged area in the lower back.
Tiger Woods’ back surgeon made a vertical incision below his belly button to approach the damaged disc between L5 and S1 vertebrae. The surgeon removed the damaged disc and filled the empty space between L5 and S1 with a bone graft material.
The surgeon inserted a cage with a bone graft and secured it with rods and screws. The surgeon then removed the instruments and closed the incision. Woods underwent rehabilitation to recover from the surgery and alleviate lower back pain.
Benefits of ALIF Surgery
Back pain and sports or golf and back pain are common. Athletes, such as footballers, tennis players, golfers, runners, etc., are more likely to experience back pain due to intense movement and stretching while playing their respective sports.
Common treatment options for back pain are medications, steroidal injections, exercises, acupuncture, physical therapy, heat and ice therapy, etc. However, when these conservative treatment options fail to alleviate your back pain, you can undergo surgery.
Two broad categories of a surgical procedure are open-back surgery and minimally invasive surgery. The former is a traditional approach that requires the surgeon to make a large incision in the back to reach the damaged spinal area and perform the procedure.
The latter is an advanced, cutting-edge method that requires the surgeon to make a small incision in the back or front to remove the damaged disc in the spine. ALIF surgery performed with a minimally invasive technique is more effective than open-back surgery or minimally invasive procedure performed posteriorly.
ALIF surgery allows for a better view, enabling the surgeon to spare the surrounding soft structures, including muscles, tissues, ligaments, and nerves. It leads to less blood loss, fewer scars, better cosmetic results, shorter hospital stays, and quick recovery.
Contact MINT Today
MINT is a neurosurgery clinic in Plano, TX. Dr. Scott Kutz is the founder of MINT and has performed hundreds of minimally invasive procedures to relieve back pain with an over 98% success rate. Contact us today for back pain and sports-related injuries and discuss your treatment options with our qualified team of experienced neurosurgeons.