Peyton Manning undergoes surgery for bulging disc in the neck

Jun 1 2011
Athletes all over the world are at an increased risk of experiencing back or neck pain, either from overuse or injury, and nobody knows this better than Peyton Manning. 

The Indianapolis Colts quarterback is recovering from his second neck surgery in less than two years, according to USA Today.

The news source reported that the cause of Manning's second operation was increasing pain from a bulging disc, which his surgeon had to remove. Fortunately, the football star is expected to make a full recovery for the pre-season.

Bulging (or herniated) disc occurs when the contents of the cartilage that naturally separates the vertebrae spill out and start pressing on nerves that exit the spine. This type of pain is referred to as radicular pain or radiculopathy, and may be felt in other parts of the body such as down the leg or down the arm.

The latter was apparently what Manning was experiencing, as some sports commentators noted his inaccurate throws during the 2010 season, which was very unusual for him.

NFL Nation Blog, hosted by ESPN, suggested that the procedure Manning underwent was microendoscopic discectomy, a minimally invasive procedure that is often done using a laser and has the benefit of sparing the surrounding soft tissue from the trauma that usually accompanies an open-neck surgery.

As the player is recovering from the procedure, the conversation is now shifting to the future of his career in American football, as he turned 35 in March.

Although athletes are at a greater risk for back or neck surgery, the problem is by no means confined to the sports community. Data from the American Journal of Public Health indicates that each year, between 3 and 4 percent of the U.S. population is temporarily disabled, and 1 percent of the working-age population is permanently disabled, due to chronic back pain.