Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots will be absent from the field for at least eight weeks after he was injured during the Patriots’ recent game against the New York Jets. According to reports, Gronkowski suffered a herniated disk and left the game early to seek medical attention.
This isn’t the first time Gronkowski has undergone treatment for an injured back – in fact, this will be his third time having spine surgery since 2009. Spine injuries are commonplace in sports, but that doesn’t make them any less concerning or dangerous. It is important to take the necessary steps to avoid a back injury – and even more important, to know what to do if you suffer an injury at home, work or play.
First, you can proactively protect your spine from unnecessary injury by practicing proper bending, lifting and twisting techniques as you go about your day, and by eating a balanced diet full of rich nutrients and lots of water. Also try to perform a few back strengthening exercises during the day to help keep your back and core muscles strong and limber. Our video tutorials demonstrate several of these maneuvers.
After An Injury
If you experience severe back pain immediately after an injury, call for help or call an ambulance. If you try to move or get up despite the intense pain, you could cause further damage that may be irreversible. If the pain develops a few hours or days after the injury, utilize hot and cold therapy as demonstrated in this the video. Bed rest for long periods of time is not recommended – instead, stay active and try a few low-key activities that can help reduce pain. If the pain doesn’t go away after two weeks, go to your doctor for an evaluation. Treatments will depend on the severity of the condition, but may include pain management injections, physical therapy, pain medicine and/or surgery.
The main goal of treatment is to heal and strengthen your back to prevent future damage. Talk to your doctor about safe and effective activities that will help keep your back strong – these may include swimming, Tai chi, yoga, cycling and weightlifting. Also, be sure to continue practicing proper bending, lifting and twisting techniques to help keep your back safe as you go about your day.
Gronkowski will most likely be out of the game for the rest of the season, but we doubt this injury will end his career. And just like the star athlete, you too can return to good form following a back injury if you practice the proper precautions to avoid re-injury and know what to do the next time an injury occurs. Remember, spine health begins with YOU. And we know you join us in wishing “Gronk” a safe and speedy recovery!
If you’ve had back pain for longer than two weeks, call Dr. Patel at the Spine Health Institute. He and his multidisciplinary team can diagnose and treat a variety of spinal conditions, and help you get you back on your feet in no time.