After Fourth Back Surgery, Tiger Woods to Return to Competition

You don’t have to be a golf enthusiast to have heard of Tiger Woods. The 42-year-old is arguable the world’s most famous golfer, having turned professional at just 20 years of age and winning three PGA tour events as well as the Masters tournament by the time he was 22. He was the dominant force in the world of professional golf until a loss of form that occurred approximately 8 years ago, much of which has been attributed to well-publicized health problems, and most notably problems with his back. Following his fourth back surgery this past April, Woods has announced that he will be returning to competition this month at the Hero World Challenge, a tournament that he hosts.

The most recent procedure that Woods has had was a fusion surgery, though he has previously undergone multiple discectomies for herniated discs. All of these are procedures that we provide at our New Jersey lumbar spine specialty practice in New Jersey. According to Woods, he experienced immediate relief following the recent procedure, and was cleared to practice without limitations one week later.

Though Woods has also struggled with his anterior cruciate ligament and his Achilles tendon, his back pain has presented the most vexing problems for his professional career. It first became apparent in May of 2010, when he withdrew during the final round of The Players Championship as a result of what he thought was a bulging disk. “I’ve been playing with a bad neck for quite a while,” he told reporters. The problem was later diagnosed as an inflamed facet joint in his neck. Years later, in March of 2014 he withdrew in the final round of the Honda Classic after suffering lower back spasms, a symptom he had experienced a year earlier. Shortly thereafter he underwent microdiscectomy surgery to alleviate the symptoms of a pinched nerve in his back, but in August he withdrew from the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational as a result of lower back pain.

In February of 2015, he entered the Farmers Insurance Open but withdrew after completing 11 holes, indicating a recurrence of his back injuries, and months later he revealed that he had undergone a second microdiscectomy to remove a disc fragment. Though he indicated that he hoped it had resolved his problem, just one month later he had another back surgery to “relieve discomfort.” Even following that surgery he had pain, and continued rehabilitation. He finally underwent the fusion surgery in April. According to a statement on his website, Woods had “successful back surgery to alleviate ongoing pain in his back and leg. His bottom lower back disc had severely narrowed, causing sciatica. The statement indicated that the surgery removed the damaged disc and re-elevated the collapsed disc space to normal levels, allowing one vertebrae to fuse to the other, relieving pressure on the nerve and giving it the best chance of healing.”

Pain and discomfort can interfere with your quality of life, and that’s why finding the right answer to your back pain is the goal of our lumbar spine specialty practice in New Jersey. To make an appointment, contact us today.

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