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Epidural Injections Help Relieve Lumbar Disc Herniation in NFL Players

Home » Epidural Injections Help Relieve Lumbar Disc Herniation in NFL Players
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Lumbar disc herniation is a painful condition that affects many individuals, especially professional football players and other active athletes.

The lumbar spine is located in the third major region of the spine. It is below the cervical spine and thoracic spine, right where the spine curves inward toward the abdomen.

These discs, which are featured one between each vertebra of the spine, can become ruptured through repeated injuries or a lot of pressure. Since football is such a brutal sport with a lot of physical contact, it is not unusual to see NFL athletes sidelined with lumbar disc herniation. Thankfully, with the use of epidural steroids, great players can get back into the game a lot quicker.

Lumbar disc herniation took a toll on Dallas quarterback Tony Romo back in 2013. According to a Huffington Post article about spine surgery in the NFL, Romo was suffering with leg pain caused by a pinched nerve. At first, it was believed he had a hamstring injury, but after careful examination, it was found to be a lumbar herniated disc.

Symptoms presented in this condition do not always affect the back. Doctors will tell you the discomfort often travels up and down one or both legs. In “A Patient’s Guide to Lumbar Herniated Disc” from the Spine Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center, an issue of tingling can affect one or both parts of the legs along with muscle weakness and even the loss of the reflexes in one or both legs.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. David Geier wrote about the effectiveness of epidural steroid injections for NFL athletes, citing them as a safe, initial therapy. A study was conducted on a single NFL football team from 2003 – 2010, where 17 players suffered 27 distinct lumbar disc herniations. The injections helped 89 percent of players return to play, with an average loss of 2.8 practices and 0.6 games.

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