WLFI Interviews Dr. John Gorup about Disc Herniation in the Neck

Peyton Manning's injury a common one

Updated: Thursday, 04 Oct 2012, 1:09 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 04 Oct 2012, 1:09 PM EDT

Elisabeth Rentschler

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Hit after hit during his career is what sidelined Peyton Manning during the Colts 2011-2012 season. But for those who work around heavy machinery, all it takes is one hit to sideline you.

Orthopedic Spine Surgeon John Gorup said it's also more likely to happen to you than a professional athlete.

"If you think about the energy of being hit by a car or a piece of heavy machinery and some of those surrounding factors here, it's far worse than being hit by even Ray Lewis or someone in the pros," said Dr. Gorup.

Claude Cornelison said he was injured on the job after being hit by a piece of machinery. Cornelison said he's been living with the pain for five months now. Pain, he said, is constant.

"24/7 and at times different levels," said Cornelison. "Most of the time on a scale of ten, anywhere from seven to 15."

Yet, Cornelison is not alone. In fact, Dr. Gorup said he sees about three patients a week who suffer from neck injuries similar to Peyton Manning's.

Dr. Gorup said symptoms can include pain, weakness and tingling in the arm, and while he said surgery isn't the only option, most patients choose to have it.

"People put up with numbness and I've seen patients say, 'It's just a little numb tingling, I'll put up with that, but I won't put up with the pain,'" said Dr. Gorup.

Dr. Gorup said the pain and numbness is the direct result of a disc herniation in the neck, which compresses the spinal nerve against the bone in the back. He said the surgery takes about 45 minutes, and starts with an incision in the front of the neck.

Once the esophagus and trachea are moved out of the way, Dr. Gorup said they clean out the disc until it no longer pushes on the spinal cord. Finally, a piece of bone from a cadaver or a bone from your hip, is placed inside and locked into position using a titanium plate.

Dr. Gorup said the patient can go home several hours after the surgery and can resume normal activities in about six weeks. Cornelison said he's looking forward to doing just that.

"I can get back to doing what I'm supposed to be doing," said Cornelison.

Dr. Gorup said he's looking forward to moving on too.

"I like Andrew Luck," said Dr. Gorup. " I think he's doing a great job, and I think he's going to be a great quarterback moving forward."

Dr. Gorup said if you've been experiencing any of these symptoms and are not a fan of surgery, cortisone shots three times a year can also help reduce the pain.