Indianapolis Colts Quarterback Peyton Manning has undergone neck surgery to deal with a pinched nerve in his neck. According to the Colts: “This condition has existed intermittently for the past four years, but at no time did it interfere with his training, practice or playing regimen. While it never has affected Peyton’s activity on or off the field, the Colts’ medical staff, after post-playoff examination, thought it best to resolve the situation now.” Manning had the surgery on Tuesday and was released from the hospital on Wednesday. He is expected to be ready to practice with the team in the off season this spring.
What is a pinched nerve?
A nerve becomes “pinched”, technically called nerve compression, when too much pressure is applied to it from the surrounding tissues, whether that be muscle, tendon, cartilage or bone. The pressure causes the nerve to malfunction, leading to pain, numbness and tingling, or muscle weakness. A pinched nerve can occur anywhere in the body, although the neck and the lower spine are frequent sites, as there is greater mobility in these areas of the spine. Sciatica, where lower back pain is accompanied by pain which shoots down the leg, is an example of a “pinched nerve” originating in the lower spine. Carpal tunnel syndrome is an example where tendons of the wrist, pushing on nerves, cause pain, numbness and weakness in the hand. Common underlying causes of nerve pressure include injury, poor posture, osteoarthritis (a wearing away of cartilage over time), stress from repetitive movements, hobby or sports activities, and obesity .
A number of spine conditions can lead to nerve compression. This picture illustrates some of the most common. Spinal nerves pass through a rounded space, called foramen, between the vertebrae on each side of the spine, out to the body. Anything that makes the foramen smaller can put pressure on the nerves.
Treatment of nerve compression depends on the underlying cause. In all cases early treatment is recommended to prevent permanent nerve damage.
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