Although it wasn’t a major tournament, Tiger Woods’ victory at the Tour Championship on Sunday may have been the most rewarding victory of his career.
Woods carded an 11-under-par 269 over the course of four days to secure a two-stroke victory over a field containing the best players on tour. It was his 80th professional tournament win, but his first in five years, something few saw coming after he underwent his fourth spinal surgery back in April of 2017.
We wrote about the anterior lumbar interbody fusion procedure shortly after surgery, and although we were optimistic that the surgery could allow Woods to return to professional golf, it seemed that winning a competitive tournament was likely out of the question. Here’s a description of the operation he underwent.
During a minimally invasive anterior lumbar interbody fusion, the surgeon creates small openings in the back to access the problemed disc. The damaged disc is removed and the collapsed disc space is re-elevated to normal heights before fusing them in place. Through this process, area nerves are decompressed and the nerves that were causing the pain sensations or spasms are given room to heal.
Woods had been dealing with nerve pain and spinal muscle spasms after previous disc surgeries failed to fully correct the issue. Dr. Richard Guyer performed the fourth operation and everything went as expected, but the fact that 42-year-old Tiger Woods was able to parlay that into a Tour Championship victory is nothing short of astounding.
Spine Surgery and Returning To Sports
Tiger’s victory is a ringing endorsement for the skill of Dr. Guyer, but it also speaks to the benefits of surgery in the right situation. Not only was Tiger struggling to play competitive golf, prior to surgery he mentioned that he “couldn’t sit, couldn’t walk, couldn’t lay down without feeling the pain in my back and leg.” Not only has that pain vanished, but he’s also been able to return to playing the sport he loves at the highest competitive level.
“Just to be able to compete and play again this year, that’s a hell of a comeback,” Woods said of his victory.
His victory shows that with the right medical treatment and hard work, you can get back to pre-injury levels of fitness. Don’t just grit your teeth and deal with daily pain. Seek out a spine specialist like Dr. Chang, get a clear diagnosis, and follow your treatment plan. If conservative care can’t address the problem, surgery may be able to help. If Tiger Woods can get back to professional level golf at the age of 42 after spine surgery, you can get back to the recreational activities you love with the right medical help. Let us get you that assistance. Give Dr. Chang’s office a call today.