Returning To Sports After Spine Surgery

Contrary to what patients may fear, spinal surgery does not have to mean the end to a patients athletic career. Athletes such as Tony Romo and Tiger Woods have returned to their same level of competition following back surgery.  The athlete’s level of competition, overall fitness, the sport they play as well as the surgery all impact how soon an athlete can get back in the game.

One of the most progressive treatments is known as a Microdiscectomy and has become increasingly popular among athletes.  This Minimally Invasive Spine Procedure uses microsurgical tools to remove the herniated portions of the spinal disc and requires an incision of an inch or less.  The removal of the herniated portion of the disc alleviates the pressure on the spinal nerves that may be causing pain in the lower back, hips or legs.  This procedure is often performed on an outpatient basis with an expedited recovery plan.

Walking can be done almost immediately following surgery. Physical therapy is an important tool in getting an athlete back to playing sports at the level they are accustomed, and that will start just days after surgery. Its’s no secret that an athlete’s dedication to their post-operative rehab program has a direct correlation to how well they will perform when they return to competition. In other words, work hard to rehab your injury and you can return to your previous level or better.

Athletes that play non-collision sports (tennis, baseball, golf, etc.) may be able to return to competition in just 6-8 weeks. For athletes engaged in collision sports, there are many more factors that determine their timetables.  However, countless athletes return to their sports after spinal surgery.

Dr. Anthony Virella is a Board-Certified, Fellowship trained Neurological Spine Surgeon with advanced training in the management of complex spinal disorders. He attended medical school at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and is a graduate of the UCLA Neurosurgery Residency Program. Dr. Virella completed his complex spine in-folding resident fellowship at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic Foundation with Dr. Edward C. Benzel, M.D. Additional work included a second fellowship in Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery at the UCLA Comprehensive Spine Center. Dr. Virella is a nationally recognized specialist in the field of complex and Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery and has offices located in Westlake Village, Simi Valley, and Valencia.  Call us at 805.449.0088 to schedule an appointment in Valencia, Simi Valley or  Westlake Village today.