Tiger Woods continues to improve his game after undergoing back surgery.
After a strong finish at Valspar in March 2018, where he finished 2nd, to his more recent 2nd place in August at the PGA Championship, it looks as if the former world’s number 1 player may soon be back to his winning ways.
Tiger Woods has long been plagued by numerous back pain problems that have severely compromised his game since 2010.
Woods has suffered from a host of spine and back related problems from golfing including facet joint problems in his neck, pinched nerve problems, glute problems, spasms, sciatica, and a herniated disc.
His fourth back surgery in April of 2017, an Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF) for his lower back, seems to have finally gotten him through the worst of his back woes.
Why Do Golfers Get Back Pain?
Tiger Woods is not a lone statistic when it comes to golfing and back pain.
The statistics show a sobering fact. Low back pain is very common among professional golfers with around 28% or some 30,000 players suffering from some form of back problem. The list of pro-golfers who have dealt with back problems reads like a who’s who of golf stars. Fred Couples, Jason Day, and Rory McIlroy all have one or more bouts with persistent spine injuries and complications.
The reason why there are so many golfers suffering from back problems is that their bodies undergo repetitive stresses as they perform the swinging motions required in each stroke. These motions involve repeated tilted rotations of the spine, often at great speed. These motions are unnatural and put great strain on the lower back. Doing these motions repeatedly, during practice and actual tournaments for hours and hours, eventually causes the body to succumb to the stress and manifest as back problems.
Why Spinal Fusion Worked for Tiger
Tiger’s lumbar fusion procedure, which involved his L5 and S1 vertebrae, required the removal of a disc and the placement of a bone graft near the base of the spine. The location of the offending disc turned out to be fortunate for Tiger. Since it was at the very bottom level, it removed the possibility of any deterioration of other lower discs.
While Tiger would definitely need to make adjustments to his swing and stance, his mobility would not be severely compromised since the area of the spine involved has the least amount of movement.
Clearly, the fusion has brought him back to a very competitive level. Though time will tell if he will ever get back to his former self, the procedure has undoubtedly worked.
Tiger Woods says, “To go through what I’ve gone through … I didn’t know if I was going to play last year…now I’m contending in major championships and had a chance to win a couple major championships.”
Are you suffering from lower back issues? To find out if spinal fusion or other minimally invasive procedures are right for you, contact us at the Spine Institute Northwest for a consultation and begin getting back your life back.