Health Alert: Spine injuries in teens - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Health Alert: Spine injuries in teens

NATIONAL - Back pain is not just for middle aged or seniors any more. More teens are suffering disc injuries, especially teens who play sports. But when medicine and physical therapy do not work, there's another option to consider.

Allyson Lindner loves all kinds of sports and plays competitively, but searing pain ran her off the field and into a doctors office.

"I was in tears 'cause like, you're not, I can't do this. As a kid, you know, you have to be active doing a lot of things. When he said that I couldn't it was just, like, it broke my heart."

More kids are experiencing the agony of herniated discs, with athletics often the culprit.

Dr. Ian Heger, a pediatric neurosurgeon, said, "It may be related to the competitiveness that we see in sports and maybe related to over use type of injuries and improperly training in competitive sports. It's hard to say why we're seeing this, but certainly it's becoming more prominent."

After trying everything from physical therapy to pain killers, Allyson's doctor recommended surgery.

Dr. Heger says, "You bring them to surgery and when you get a good result, these children are back, they're active, doing the things that kids should do and that they want to do."

Dr. Heger does a minimally invasive procedure to take pressure off the problem disc.

"Before I could barely sit down for more than five minutes, or anything at a time, without it hurting really bad when I got up. And I couldn't touch my toes and I couldn't bend down, couldn't do anything, and now I can do everything," says Allyson. "Soccer, volleyball, water polo, everything. The sky's the limit."

A tiny scar is all that reminds Allyson of her back "battle." she was running a week after surgery and is back in the game.

There are some surgery risks - things like bleeding, infection, nerve damage and, rarely, paralysis.

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