UFC heavyweight Shane Carwin needs spine surgery

Oct 17 2011
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contender Shane Carwin will need spine surgery to treat a pinched nerve in his lower back, according to a statement he released Oct. 15 on his official website.

"As I ramped up my training for UFC 141 my body locked up during training," Carwin wrote. "I scheduled an MRI and the results showed that my disc in my lower back is into the nerves. My doctor gave me two options: retire and I could probably go on for a few years without surgery or I could undergo surgery and continue my career."

Carwin's record for the mixed martial arts organization is currently 12-1, according to his website. His fighting career has been dogged in part from injuries sustained as an All-American football player.

The nerves of the spinal cord are protected by the vertebrae, the facet joints and the intervertebral discs that cushion the spaces in between the bones. These nerves help carry messages between the brain and the rest of the body in order to control movement or transmit sensations of touch and feel. A pinched nerve is the result of a structure in the spinal column putting pressure on or compressing one of the surrounding nerves due to injury, disease or age-related degeneration. The offending structure may be a bone spur that grows due to osteoarthritis, or a herniated disc.

When a nerve is compressed, messages between the brain and certain parts of the body can be interrupted, leading to symptoms such as difficulty moving a muscle, sensations of pain and numbness in different parts of the body or muscle spasms.

Muscular pain can be relieved with massage or alternating treatments of heat and ice. The pinched nerve may benefit from conservative approaches, such as range-of-motion exercises for the affected area, anti-inflammatory medication or physical therapy. However, severe cases of a pinched nerve may require surgery.

"The UFC had me lined up to face one of the best in the world and I am confident I have everything I need to be a Champion," Carwin said. "I am scheduling surgery and I hope to return to the Octagon by spring or summer 2012."