While most people know of pro golfer Tiger Woods, not many people know about his history with back pain. Over the course of his 20+ years in the professional golf world, Woods has undergone four surgeries to resolve his back pain.
Procedure Timeline. In the spring of 2014, he underwent surgery for a pinched nerve in his back. Later that year, he withdrew from a tournament citing lower back pain. In September 2015, just a year and a half after his first surgery, Woods underwent a second surgery to resolve another issue with a pinched nerve.
Then, the very next month Woods announced that he has had another procedure intended to “relieve discomfort.” In the spring of 2017, Woods underwent yet another surgery to address a severely narrowed lower-back disc that was causing sciatica, which causes pain in the back and legs.
The Cause of Pain. Tiger Woods had a surgery called a microdiscectomy done twice. This type of procedure is meant to resolve issues caused by a pinched nerve. A huge network of nerves runs up and down both sides of the spine and branches out into the rest of the body. These nerves are housed in tubes, but if a tube narrows and there is too much pressure on a nerve, that’s when the trouble starts. This pressure can cause pain in the back that radiates down to the lower body.
His last surgery in 2017 was a lumbar fusion surgery. This procedure encourages two vertebrae in the spine to grow together over a period of time. It is meant to reduce pain by limiting movement and making more room for the nerves.
How Can Chiropractic Can Help? Throughout my career, I’ve seen countless patients who suffer from low back pain. I’ve learned that a well-rounded treatment approach is the best way to ensure improvement. Your spine is made of many interconnected parts— your bones, muscles, connective tissue, and nerves. So, why not try to improve the health of all the components?
- Chiropractic adjustments will realign the bones in your spine. If your vertebrae aren’t in their natural, aligned position, it can cause significant pain and damage over time. Regular chiropractic adjustments help ensure your spine keeps its healthy, natural curve.
- Physical therapy addresses the role of muscles in back health. Your muscles literally hold your bones in place, so it’s important to train them to support an aligned spine. Stretching and strengthening exercises encourage the body to protect itself.
- Acupuncture has been shown to effectively reduce pain and inflammation. This ancient healing art can take the place of other more risky, less effective pain management tools, such as opioid painkillers.
- Massage is often thought of as a luxury, rather than a powerful method of healing. A skilled massage therapist can reduce inflammation and tension while increasing blood flow. This makes for faster recovery times and fewer injuries in the future.
This level of treatment may sound like a lot of work, and you’re right. But, a care regimen like this is far more likely to help you (or Tiger Woods!) get better and stay better. Because when your body heals itself, the hard work will be worth it. Also, this approach to treatment will likely help you avoid the exorbitant costs and long recovery periods that come with four major spinal surgeries.