When you think of sports that could lead to cervical neck problems, chances are good you think of football, and other contact sports, rather than a track and field event like the high jump. But it’s a bulging disc in his neck that has forced the current Olympic high jump champion to take himself out of competition for the season, and for the foreseeable future.
Derek Drouin hails from Corunna in Ontario, Canada, and he was scheduled to participate in the Commonwealth Games in April and more competitions coming up.
He had pulled out of the spring games as a result of his spinal injury, and now he says he will skip the rest of his season in order to avoid injuring himself further.
“We’ve decided that it was in my best interest to get this completely figured out before we go back to a sport where it’s my job to land on my neck,” said Drouin, 28, describing his symptoms as “confusing nerve issues” that have led to a loss of sensation. “It’s the kind of thing you don’t want to mess with, given that it’s obviously derived from the spine.”
So far, the world champion has been sticking to a conservative approach, doing specific exercises with a trainer and his physical therapist in hopes that he can avoid surgery. Though he has been able to continue some of his training, he is unable to fall on his neck.
“I’ve been really lucky that it’s not a typical injury that has kept me completely out. I’m still going to practice every day, doing all the stuff I normally would,” he said.
This is not the first time that the 28-year-old has suffered an injury to his back. He has previously competed with two stress fractures in his lower back. Though he says he would prefer to avoid surgery, there is a good chance that it will end up being the eventual answer.
“At this point we’re hoping that things are moving along quite well on their own. I’m basically doing everything I can to avoid that (surgical) route, but you never know, that might be the path I have to take. I’ve spoken to a lot of experts, and I’ve been assured that given surgery, it won’t be too inhibiting, it won’t be too bad of a recovery, and I should come out on the other end of it.”
Minimally invasive surgery is one of the best answers for problems in the cervical spine, and a solution that is commonly offered by our cervical spine specialist in New Jersey.
One of our most common procedures is known as cervical disc replacement, which removes damaged discs and replaces them with artificial discs. It is one of the most common answers when non-surgical treatments fail, and offers pain relief as well as better range of motion.
If you are experiencing pain or other symptoms in your cervical spine, contact our office today to set up an appointment to see our expert physicians.