J.J. Watt has never missed a game – until now. For the first time in his entire career, he’ll be unable to compete when his team hits the field – whether for several weeks or possibly the entire season – as he receives treatment for an ongoing spinal injury. Watt seems to have aggravated or re-injured his herniated disk during Houston’s most recent game against the New England Patriots. He previously underwent surgery for this condition in July. These next few months will no doubt be crucial for his health AND his career, with doctors, coaches and fans all hoping his rehabilitation goes well enough to get him back on the gridiron soon.
While re-injuries aren’t uncommon among athletes, treatments can vary depending on each person’s short- and long-term goals. For example:
1. Pain Medicine and Injections
Anti-inflammatory medication and pain management injections are common treatment options for a wide variety of spinal conditions. Both forms of medication help reduce inflammation and pain, allowing patients to actively participate in their healing.
2. Physical Therapy
Strengthening the muscles and maintaining a healthy range of motion is very important for all patients, but especially for athletes. Physical therapists create a plan of care to help keep athletes active while making sure that the spine heals properly. Therapists also teach both surgical and non-surgical patients proper bending, lifting and twisting techniques to help keep their spine safe after they heal.
Watt is still being evaluated in order to determine the severity of his condition, but with his numerous injuries this past year, surgery may be an option that they are considering. There are several minimally invasive procedures available to help him recover faster and get back in the game sooner.
It’s still possible that we may see Watt recover in time for the game against the San Diego Chargers in November. However, sources close to the team are saying that he will most likely be out the entire season. We’ve seen athletes come back from similar injuries, Tony Romo included, so there’s hope that he’ll return to the top of his game before long. We wish J.J. a safe and speedy recovery!