If you have personally experienced the pain of a herniated disk, then you know how debilitating that injury can be. So, imagine going through the same thing when you’re a professional basketball player. That is exactly what happened to Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi.
According to an interview published in the Arizona Republic, Taurasi was in so much pain that she describes her general demeanor as having deteriorated into that of a “miserable human being.” She was in so much pain that sitting down for a meal or driving a car was excruciating. With few other options, she finally agreed to undergo minimally invasive surgery to correct a protruding disk in her back. That surgery took place on April 24th, and according to the 36-year-old, the difference in how she feels has been nothing short of phenomenal.
The problem that Taurasi was experiencing emanated from the nerves in her spine, which were feeling pressure from a disk protrusion she has suffered with for years. She had thought she would be able to avoid surgery through rehabilitation and other conservative measures, including physical therapy and acupuncture. She finally realized that she had no other options available to her and that she needed to undergo surgery, sacrificing the first half of her professional basketball season in order to be able to come back and support her team during the second half.
Part of what led her to acknowledge the need for surgery was the fact that her back pain had led to her right leg becoming extremely atrophied. She describes it has having shrunk to 30 to 35% of its normal size. “Pain is one thing. I can play through pain,” Taurasi said. “The (leg) weakness, they won’t even let you on the court. That was a lot different than, oh my ankle hurts, I’m going to play.”
Her surgeon reportedly found the damaged disk was placing pressure on the spinal nerve in numerous places. Now that the surgery is behind her, Taurasi says she felt “instant relief” and that she “walked out of that hospital feeling 100 times better.” Her biggest challenge will be keeping herself from trying to rush the ten-to-twelve-week rehab that her physician says she must go through.
“I’m already on (rehab) level 2-3 of things that most people would be on level 1,” Taurasi said. “Only because I’m feeling good. At the end of the day, you can only go on how you’re feeling strength-wise. I was in really good shape going into it so that kind of helped a little bit. But you never know with rehab and injuries. If you get back on the court too early, which I’ve seen a lot over of people’s careers, something else goes. When I feel as good as I can on the court, off the court, I’m going to be the first one in that game. That’s just the way I operate. I’m sure they’re going to have to hold me back a couple of times, but I’ll work with them and do what’s best for the team.“
The surgery that has restored Taurasi to professional play and provided relief is the same as what our lumbar spine specialty practice in New Jersey provides to weekend warriors and everyday people suffering from herniated disk pain. Call us today to set up an appointment and learn about the relief you can experience.