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Ted Lilly had the nerve endings in his neck cauterized

Nov 15, 2013, 10:47 AM EDT

Ted Lilly Getty Getty Images

Ted Lilly is currently pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League after missing all but five starts this year with neck problems that led to being released by the Dodgers in July.

In order to get healthy enough to return to the mound Lilly underwent a procedure to … well, I’ll let Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times explain:

Lilly is trying to regain his form in the Venezuelan Winter League after having the nerve endings on the right side of his neck cauterized by a spine specialist. The procedure is not considered surgery, but a large needle is used to burn nerve endings, his agent said.

Woof. Lilly is 38 years old with 13 seasons in the majors and $80 million in career earnings, so he must really like pitching.

  1. aceshigh11 - Nov 15, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    Okay, total layman question here, but isn’t that SERIOUSLY dangerous and counterproductive in the long-term?

    You’re basically killing off the feedback route back to the brain that something isn’t right with your body.

    • chip56 - Nov 15, 2013 at 11:41 AM

      Yup sounds about right – It’s like a permanent cortisone injection

    • cur68 - Nov 15, 2013 at 5:54 PM

      Kind of a yes and no. Without knowing the actual reason for the nerve block, you can’t eliminate the possibility that he suffered from neuralgia (the fancy term for “nerve pain”) which might have been chronic. Cases of neuralgia don’t have to be linked to ongoing injury. Occasionally nerves become inflamed, easily irritated and prone to overreacting to stimulation in the absence of injury. Not unlike having a tender inner ear after a severe ear infection from which you have completely recovered (a condition I suffer from).

      So the block stops the neuralgia. However it also stops any way from those nerves to tell you “hey! you tore the crap out of this stuff right here, Ted!”.

      The block’s a gamble and a mixed bag of results. Remains to be seen how he does after. The likelihood of repeat injury is high, though. He can’t feel strain now. I

  2. thepittsburghkid - Nov 15, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    It’s like with a bulging disc in your back, eventually your body will naturally “burn” the nerves associated with the area traumatized. It’s a long road to wait, but it will happen. I’m sure this is the same thing, it’s a select few nerves.

    • blynch67 - Nov 15, 2013 at 9:39 PM

      Whoever told you that should have their medical license confiscated.

      I’m VERY familiar with Lumbar disk problems and I’ve never ever heard this silliness. The
      nerves that your bulging disk would impinge are contained within your spinal column – you
      possibly/likely wouldn’t be able to walk if these nerves were ‘burned’, either naturally
      or by a surgeon.

      We have 31 pairs of spinal nerves: 8 cervical 12 thoracic 5 lumbar 5 sacral 1 coccygeal.
      They are formed by the ventral and dorsal root of the nerve that comes out of the spinal cord.

      Specifically, the ventral roots control motor functions, as opposed to the dorsal roots,
      which are primarily sensory. Motor –> walking, Sensory –> feeling.

  3. jwbiii - Nov 15, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    I love the smell of barbequed me!

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