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Thursday, December 15, 2005

St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Replacement disc ends years of pain for Martz

Byline: JIM THOMAS; Of the Post-Dispatch

Edition: Five Star Lift

Section: Sports


Those who have spent a lot of time with Mike Martz since he became Rams head coach know that few days have passed without Martz experiencing some kind of back pain.

"I can't remember when it wasn't bothering me, but it's just been in varying degrees," Martz said Thursday.

Martz suffered a back injury while returning a punt playing high school football in San Diego. He ended up with a bulging disc, something that has been a problem since.

"The last two years, it's really been substantial," Martz said. "The last three months have been pretty bad. It had gone to an extent where I just couldn't stand it anymore."

So that's when Martz decided to contact Los Angeles neurosurgeon Carl Lauryssen. Lauryssen performed neck surgery on Martz five years ago.

Less than three weeks ago, just before Orlando Pace signed his multiyear contract, Martz went to Los Angeles for back surgery.

"The traditional surgical treatment for someone with back pain that is unresponsive to medical treatment is a fusion," Lauryssen said Friday in a phone interview from Los Angeles. "A fusion basically is where you take the disc out, and where the disc used to be, you put in a block of bone. And then the one vertebra grows through this block of bone to the other vertebra, and it becomes a fusion."

But Martz underwent a much more complex and much newer form of back surgery: He had a replacement disc implanted in his lower back.

The disc consists of two parts of metal (cobalt chrome), with high-tech plastic between the metal.

"The disc is like the shock absorber in between each block of bone, or vertebrae," Lauryssen said. "The disadvantage of a fusion is that it takes away movement."

In essence, the fusion procedure is taking away a disc.

According to Lauryssen, it takes about six months for a successful fusion to occur. But with the new artificial-disc surgery, the recovery time is six weeks to four months.

Over the long term, it is thought that artificial-disc surgery will lead to less stress on adjacent discs than fusion surgery.

Martz underwent surgery on March 17 and was hospitalized for about a week, missing the NFL owners' meetings in Hawaii. But the day he was discharged, he had dinner with Lauryssen. Martz returned to St. Louis on March 29 and went right to work.

He met with free-agent pickup Jay Williams, a defensive end, on March 30, and attended parts of Leonard Little's drunken-driving trial on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Martz is still experiencing some lower-back soreness, discomfort that increases as the day goes on.

"But each day it gets remarkably better," Martz said. "I'm getting better rest. Each day I'm making huge strides.

"To walk and feel loose, I don't remember having that. I don't remember feeling that good in the upper back, my shoulders. For years, if my lower back hurt, everything just tensed up."

Martz actually had two surgeries in one in Los Angeles. In addition to the replacement disc procedure, Martz also underwent surgery for an abdominal hernia.

The hernia probably contributed to Martz's back problems, because of the lack of strength in his stomach muscles.

"He couldn't keep the abs in shape because he had a hernia," Lauryssen said. "He tried, but he just couldn't get his abs into the shape that he wanted to."

Martz may never have six-pack abs. But he's already shed some pounds. His rehab consists of walking every day. "At least one mile," Martz said. "And then I work on the treadmill on an incline. I've probably lost about 15 pounds. I'd like to lose another 20."

Assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt minded the store at Rams Park during Martz's absence, and kept Martz abreast of developments. President of football operations Jay Zygmunt presided at the Pace press conference in Martz's absence.

So it's not as if Martz feels hopelessly behind on his football work. Although he did concede Thursday: "I'm a little bit behind on the draft."

(Copyright (c) 2005 The Post-Dispatch)


MORE than half of people in London believe can help achieve happiness.

A study published today reveals that six out of 10 people believe cosmetic enhancements to face or body could improve their lives and almost one third would like to make "dramatic changes to the way they look".

And more than half would like to make more subtle cosmetic alterations to their appearance.

Just 15 per cent of those questioned would not consider surgery.

Researchers questioned more than 1,000 people nationwide, aged between 18 and 65, for the survey. It was carried out for Lloyds TSB Personal Lending, after it noticed an increase in requests for loans for people wanting to borrow for .

The report comes days after the Government announced a major new clampdown after an explosion in the popularity of cosmetic procedures such as Botox and chemical peels.

New regulations will mean that only qualified medical professionals can carry out the treatments.

Spokesman Tony Gibbons said: "Plastic surgery is becoming a standard request for getting a loan up there with home improvements and buying a car.

"In the past we've logged loan requests for 'plastic surgery' under miscellaneous but due to the increase we're looking to set up a dedicated 'cosmetic surgery' category.

While there's a mixture of people requesting money for medical reasons and self-improvement, '' is becoming less taboo

and people aren't shy to admit that's what they want to spend their money on."

The report also revealed that Jackie Stallone - recently seen on Celebrity Big Brother - was the famous person who had had the worst surgery.

Anne Robinson was voted to have had the best cosmetic work (32.6 per cent) while 29.3 per cent, when asked who they thought had had the best cosmetic procedure, named Liz Hurley.

The part of the body respon-

dents would most like to change is stomachs (47 per cent), closely followed by chests and bottoms.

The study also revealed that more than one in 10 would like their partner to have cosmetic surgery.

Men were most likely to want their girlfriends to have liposuction on their stomachs or a tummy tuck, while women wanted their men to have their teeth fixed.

Experts believe that the growing enthusiasm for has been caused by the influence of perfect-looking celebrities who do not show normal signs of ageing,

and by recent TV programmes such as Extreme Makeover and Cosmetic Surgery Live which they say have trivialised operations, played down the risks and given potential patients unrealistic ideas of the results.

Phillip Hodson, fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, said: "There is a case for which is all very well.

"But we have an old saying in our profession: 'You don't treat symptoms, you treat causes'.

"I'm afraid some people don't need a new nose, what they need is a new life.

"These people become obsessive and it is really part of a neurotic obsession which is saying I will be a success, perfect, desirable, but I just need one more thing done."

He also said there were many people who did not consider the risks involved in surgery. "If you are tinkering with symptoms rather than causes you are going to focus your problems some where else," he added.

Body part people want changed: 1. Stomach ............37.9 2.

Chest..................13.5 3. Bottom ................7.4 4. Nose ....................7.9 5. Hips......................3.3 6. Legs ....................8.9 7. Arms ....................1.0 8. Feet ......................1.3 9. Lips ......................2.0 10. Ears ....................1.5 And the body part we dislike most: 1. Stomach ............47.3 2. Legs ..................13.0 3. Chest ..................8.4 4. Bottom................6.4 5. Nose ....................5.6 6. Feet ....................0.8 7. Chin ....................0.8 8. Ears ....................0.5 9.

Lips......................0.3 10. Back ..................0.2 SURGERY WISH LIST

What part of your girlfriend would you change?

1. Stomach 2. Bottom 3. Chest 4. Legs 5. Chin 6. Teeth 7. Nose 8. Feet 9.

Hips 10. Ears ... AND FOR PARTNERS What part of your boyfriend would you change?

1. Stomach 2. Teeth 3. Feet 4. Nose 5. Legs 6. Chest 7. Ears 8. Chin 9.

Back 10. Bottom In descending order

COPYRIGHT 2005 Solo Syndication Limited