Photo Courtesy of Jeffrey Beall, Flickr

Most Americans experience back pain/injury at some point during their lives. However, there are also many examples of celebrities from professional athletes to actors/actresses that have also experienced and recovered from a spinal or brain injury. Peyton Manning, two-time Super Bowl champion and five-time MVP award recipient, suffered a prolonged neck injury, which caused him to miss the entire 2011 NFL season. His neck injury was treated with a number of surgeries including a spinal fusion to help repair the damage.

As a professional quarterback in the NFL for over 18 seasons during his career, Manning’s body experienced significantly more wear and tear and intense physical activity compared to the average Joe. His injury of nerve damage and neck pain occurred from prolonged use of his throwing arm. Manning received a spinal fusion, specifically an anterior cervical discectomy, to address his neck injury. Essentially, an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion  is a type of neck surgery that removes a herniated or degenerative disc to relive spinal cord or nerve root pressure, which can alleviate corresponding pain, weakness, numbness and tingling, according to Spine-Health. However, it is important to note that each patient’s experience is different and surgery, such as an anterior cervical discectomy, is not always the answer to treat a neck injury.

The purpose behind an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is to relieve the spinal cord or nerve root pressure caused by either a herniated disc or to treat cervical degenerative disc disease. It can also address bone spurs sometimes caused by arthritis. Peyton Manning’s anterior cervical discectomy and fusion was successful and he was able to return to playing football in the NFL. He missed an entire season to properly heal and strengthen his body for his physically intense profession. Any person receiving this treatment will have to be dedicated to their post-surgery recovery as well as understand and accept the risks that come with surgery for their specific medical situation.

An anterior cervical discectomy or any spinal surgery is always a treatment option to be considered for those suffering from prolonged effects of a back/neck injury or pain. A neurosurgeon, such as Dr. Todd Kuether, can assist in the diagnosis and treatment of neck and back injuries and/or pain. He will guide those suffering through various alternatives like physical therapy, acupuncture and possibly injections before deciding whether or not surgery is the appropriate approach. If you are interested in making an appointment with Kuether Brain & Spine, please visit our website for more information: https://kuetherbrainandspine.com/.