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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

A Pain in the Neck for Woods

Published May 13, 2010 2:39 PM by Cheryl McEvoy

Riddle me this: What is the real pain in Tiger Woods' neck?

I'd have to argue, the media. For the past few days, I've come across story upon story about Tiger Woods and his neck injury. (And just by writing this, I'm adding to the pile.) In case you're not a golf enthusiast--or a news reader--I'll catch you up to speed:

Woods pulled out of the Players Championship on Sunday, reporting muscle spasms and neck pain. An MRI scan concluded the pro golfer had inflammation in his facet joint, an ailment that requires anti-inflammatories, physical therapy and time off the course.

News outlets pounced on the story, many alluding to Woods' car accident last Thanksgiving that eventually landed his marital issues and sex addiction on the front page. Woods said the neck injury was unrelated to the collision.

Now, had Woods' indiscretions remained private, would people have cared diddly about his neck? Probably. Would the injury warrant full media force and daily updates? Doubtful.

Sure, Woods is a media mogul, which means anything worse than a stubbed toe is going to pop up somewhere. But if the guy really needs some rehab (and I'm talking the physical kind), then let's give him some breathing room.

On the bright side, all this coverage is giving average Americans a glimpse into physical therapy. The Businessweek article offers a brief intro to facet joints--maybe some fans were even compelled to Google it. Naturally, I decided to go to the experts.

As professionals in the field, what are your thoughts on Woods' neck injury? Have you encountered patients with facet joint inflammation? Is the condition as bad as it sounds?

And do us a favor--if you're curious about facet joints, skip the search engine and click here to browse our articles on the topic.

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