SportsDoc Update: Tony Romo 1/2/14
1280 The Zone - January 3rd, 2014
"Tony Romo goes from a season ending back injury to possibility of playing in an important game against Philadelphia this weekend. How can this go from such a dire diagnosis to a more optimistic one for Romo , especially when he was in such obvious pain last game? Look further for a possible explanation -
Explanation - Earlier in the year Romo apparently had a surgery for a cyst in the disc area of the lumbar spine or low back back. These cysts are benign collections of fluid around the disc which are like a piece if hard rubber between the bones of the back. They usually cause pain from pressing on the nerve that comes out of the back in the disc area and goes down the leg. It is commonly called sciatica or an inflamed Sciatic nerve. This is a fairly common problem in the general population but is usually from a degenerated disc instead of a cyst. The cyst is usually removed then it no longer presses on the sciatica nerve and the pain is gone. Sometimes, however where the cyst was removed it can recur or the disc in the are bulges out and either can be pressing on the nerve again causing it to get inflamed. This can cause pain all the way down the leg to the foot and ankle , and even create some weakness or inability to move well. This is usually from the nerve being inflamed, and can at times be effectively treated with a cortisone shot into the spine to relieve the inflammation and therefore the pain and weakness. I would guess this is what the medical staff is doing with Romo. Injecting it early this week to see if the inflammation will come down enough to allow him to be functional. They will also take into consideration if Romo's long term health will be put at risk if he plays, but many times while very painful, this condition is stable, so don't be surprised if you see him playing.