Cervical Spine Surgery for Colorado Rockies Pitcher
Monday, 08 August 2011 18:42
Back pain, resulting from strain, vertebral fractures or herniated spinal discs, affects millions of people in the U.S. every year.

Back pain, resulting from strain, vertebral fractures or herniated spinal discs, affects millions of people in the U.S. every year. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) estimates that 40 million Americans are at a significant risk for spinal fractures due to osteoporosis or a thinning of the bones.

In other cases, spinal injuries occur suddenly, particularly in the field of professional sports. Juan Nicasio, a pitcher for the Colorado Rockies Major League Baseball (MLB) team, experienced this on Friday, August 5. He was struck in the right side of the head by a hard line drive in the second inning of that evening's game against the Washington Nationals, according to CNN.

The news source reports that Nicasio was taken from Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, mere minutes after he was injured. The ball's impact fractured the C-1 verterbra in his neck, and required cervical spine surgery in a Denver hospital to stabilize his spine the following day.

Immediately after the surgery, the Rockies pitcher was placed on the MLB team's 15-day disabled list. No clear indications were offered as to when Nicasio would be able to return to regular play, CNN reports.

As of Sunday, August 7, he was resting comfortably in the hospital, according to the MLB website. In addition to recovering from his fracture, the MLB reports that the pitcher is undergoing CT scans on a regular basis to monitor for internal bleeding in the right side of his head, another possible result of this type of injury.

The scans have provided no evidence of any further complications, the MLB reports. Despite this, Colorado Rockies personnel and the medical staff involved in Nicasio's care have pledged to closely monitor his progress, as confirmed by Rockies manager, Jim Tracy.

"They're just trying to keep him very, very comfortable and keep him rested," Tracy said, according to the MLB.

Sudden back and neck injuries such as Nicasio's cannot be predicted. Those at high risk for back pain or injuries for other reasons - for example lifting heavy loads on a regular basis - can protect themselves by maintaining a proper posture, which includes bending from the knees, rather than the back, when lifting heavy objects.

The AAFP states that some spinal fractures and sources of back pain require only anti-inflammatory pain medication, braces and physical therapy for spine treatment. If an operation becomes necessary, patients can inquire about endoscopic spine surgery, a procedure that often requires no general anesthetic, causes minimal scarring and allows for a speedier recovery than traditional open-back interventions.

For more information about this and other spine procedures, contact us at 877-722-6008 today.