Gordon hopes procedure will help pain

Updated: May 19, 2009, 6:49 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Sprint Cup points leader Jeff Gordon underwent a facet block procedure on his back on Monday that he hopes will alleviate the pain that has gotten progressively worse.

The procedure took place in the Charlotte area and is not expected to keep the four-time Sprint Cup champion from participating in Thursday's qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 or any other weekend events.

"I was a little sore after the procedure, but I'll definitely take that brief bit of soreness if it stops the recurring back pain I've had," Gordon said in his prerace release. "I hope that will end the back issues I've been having, but it's too early to tell if that fixed the problem."

Gordon said he will have a better understanding of the test results later in the week. He is expected to participate in a karting event on Wednesday to help raise money for the Jeff Gordon Foundation and Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital in Concord.

"That event is always a lot of fun and it shouldn't be a strain on my back," Gordon said. "Even running karts I've felt some discomfort in my back, so that event may provide an early indication of how well the procedure worked."

Gordon first revealed his back pain may be more serious than thought two weeks ago at Richmond when he said an MRI revealed a touch of arthritis and other things he would not go into.

A facet block injection is performed to confirm that a facet joint is the source of pain and decrease the pain and inflammation in a facet joint or joints.

The injection is typically recommended for those who fail to respond to other conservative treatments. In some cases if the problem is not corrected surgery may be necessary.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter