Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NFL linemen recover from back surgery, and so can you

Date:
January 24, 2011
Source:
Northwestern University
Summary:
If NFL linemen can recover from back surgery and return to their spine-bruising careers, so can you get back into your "game." A new study that found 80 percent of NFL lineman -- whose spines are especially vulnerable to degeneration -- were able to return to play many more games after herniated disc surgery. The study is encouraging to average people who are often fearful of becoming physically active after the surgery.

If NFL linemen can recover from back surgery and return to their spine-bruising careers, so can you get back into your "game" of horsing around with your kids or working out at the gym after back surgery.

That's the good news from a new Northwestern Medicine study that found 80 percent of NFL lineman -- whose spines are especially vulnerable to degeneration -- were able to return to play many more games after the surgery. These elite athletes spend a lot of time in a squatting stance that puts tremendous stress on their spine.

The study is encouraging to average people who are often fearful of becoming physically active after disc surgery, said lead study author Joseph Weistroffer, M.D., assistant professor of orthopaedic and of neurological surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a spine surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

"Many times after the surgery, people are afraid to go back and live their lives,"Weistroffer said. "They don't want to hurt themselves and have another herniation. If a football player can get back to playing football again, you, too, can resume normal life. Just because you had disc surgery doesn't mean you are going to be broken for life."

The study will be published in the March issue of the Journal of American Sports Medicine. The coauthor is Wellington Hsu, M.D., assistant professor of orthopaedic and of neurological surgery at Feinberg and a spine surgeon at Northwestern Memorial.

For the study, Northwestern researchers scoured two decades of public records to determine the career outcomes of 52 NFL offensive and defensive linemen who had had herniated disc surgery during their active careers. Not only did 80 percent of the players return to the game, they also played an average of 33 games during three years after the surgery. More than half of them attained the prestigious distinction as starter at their position.

"The numbers show they were able to get back to the extreme and sustained activity of playing football on an NFL level," Weistroffer said. "That's significant." There is a paucity of evidence showing clinical outcomes for high-end athletes after herniated disc surgery, he noted.

Discs, disk-shaped tissue that separates the bones of the spinal column, start to wear out as people age, Weistroffer said. The sidewall of the disc may tear, but usually heals on its own. Occasionally disc material will squirt out through the tear and pin the nerve root against the bone, causing extreme back and leg pain. Most of the time the body can heal itself within six to 12 weeks. If healing doesn't occur, surgery can relieve the pressure on the nerve root and in many cases, relieve the pain, Weistroffer said.

Post-surgery, patients need to take it easy for up to three months and not lift more than 10 pounds to enable the body to heal. It is also usually beneficial to develop good muscle tone in the back and abdomen to help support the spine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northwestern University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. K. Weistroffer, W. K. Hsu. Return-to-Play Rates in National Football League Linemen After Treatment for Lumbar Disk Herniation. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2011; DOI: 10.1177/0363546510388901

Cite This Page:

Northwestern University. "NFL linemen recover from back surgery, and so can you." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110121144005.htm>.
Northwestern University. (2011, January 24). NFL linemen recover from back surgery, and so can you. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110121144005.htm
Northwestern University. "NFL linemen recover from back surgery, and so can you." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110121144005.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins