Low back pain lands Hanley Ramirez on disabled list

Jun 9 2011
Florida Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez is expected to stay on the disabled list until mid-June due to back pain symptoms that made it increasingly difficult for him to play the game.

NBC Sports quoted Ramirez as saying that the discomfort he experienced was "the worst pain I've ever had in my life." In fact, it was so bad he told the news provider that he was unable to put his shoes on.

Meanwhile, the Miami Herald reported that the low back pain was accompanied by a tingling sensation in Ramirez's left leg. Although the news source did not identify a specific diagnosis, these complaints are consistent with sciatica.

The National Institutes of Health reports that the condition is a symptom of another medical problem, as it is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve. The nerve starts in the spine and runs down the back of each leg. Sciatica may result from an injury or fracture, but some cases are due to degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis or a slipped disc.

The health agency states that some mild cases resolve on their own, and that often conservative treatments work very well. These include application of heat or ice to the sore area or taking over-the-counter pain relievers. It also recommends sleeping in a fetal position with a
pillow between the legs for symptoms relief.

However, in some people these treatments fail to bring lasting improvement, which may lead to more interventional pain management such as epidural steroid injections to calm the inflammation.

As for Ramirez, the enforced period of rest appears to be bringing positive results, as he was quoted by the Herald as saying that he is feeling better daily.

This is the first time Ramirez has experienced back pain in his six-year career. In this, he joins a list of other distinguished athletes who developed back and neck pain in recent years, including Petyon Manning, Peter Moyland and Chris Pronger.

Some of these individuals had to undergo spine surgery procedures to relieve their discomfort and allow them to return to their sports careers.