When Minnesota Wild hockey star Zach Parise first injured his back during the 2015-2016 season, he opted for rehab rather than the back surgery that was offered. His herniated disc left him unable to join the team during the playoffs as a result of numbness and lack of strength in one of his legs, but he played throughout the following season without any apparent problems arising from his back. But as the 2017-2018 season began, Parise was reportedly experiencing more problems. Just two weeks into training camp, he began having persistent intense pain in one of his legs. Though he indicated to reporters that the problem was not with his back, it was later diagnosed as the same herniated disk putting pressure on nerves. Parise recently underwent microdiscectomy, a procedure that we frequently perform as a lumbar spine specialist in New Jersey.
The experience that Parise reported with the return of his symptoms will be familiar to anybody who has been diagnosed with a herniated disc. Though he felt fine following the earlier rehabilitation and had no symptoms through all of the previous season and what was described as a “great summer of skating and working out”, the simple act of bending over to tie his skates threw him back into a flare-up of his pain. Though he hoped that rehabilitation and rest would against prove enough to relieve him of his discomfort, after he missed four games he attempted to practice again, and found that the leg pain returned immediately. That was when the decision to undergo the surgery was made.
It is expected that Parise will require eight to ten weeks to fully recover from the surgery and return to the ice, but that the surgery will completely alleviate the pain and weakness that he was experiencing. Though he had chosen to leave surgery as a last resort, his teammates believe that he made the right decision. Left wing Jason Zucker said, “You never want to have to go through any of that as it is, and having to do it at this point in the season is obviously tough. With the way he works, he’ll be back and he’ll be back stronger than ever. We’re excited for that day.” Parise is just 33 years old, and is in the middle of a 13-year, $98 million contract with the team. Zucker says, “He’s obviously a great player. The stuff he brings on the ice goes without saying. He’s also a great leader. He’s a great guy to have around the room. We obviously miss having him.”
Our lumbar spine practice in New Jersey performs minimally invasive lumbar discectomy when other treatment options have failed. It uses a very small incision and specialized equipment to minimize pain and shorten recovery while providing maximum relief of pain, numbness, and tingling. Patients are generally able to return home the same day and recovery takes between one and four weeks depending on the patient’s overall health and the particulars of the surgery.