It looks like George Clooney has had a number of interesting neurosurgical problems recently. It is helpful when stars have these issues because we all seem to relate better to the illnesses associated with a familiar face (not that anyone wishes these illnesses on stars or anyone else).
Interestingly, Clooney points out that he had a disc problem and arthritis. These are usually one and the same. My patients with neck and back pain are often surprised when I tell them that they have arthritis. However, more than 90% of any disc problems are associated with, or a direct result of, arthritis.
Arthritis is extremely common. In fact, it is present in almost everyone. Anyone who lives past the age of 40 will have arthritis in at least one of his or her joints. Your disc problem is arthritis, and arthritis is your disc problem. If you are lucky, you only have arthritis at one or two joints or one or two disc levels, and you don’t have it everywhere as some people do. It is essential to point out that what we are talking about is osteoarthritis or “wear and tear“ arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a different matter and much less common.
Another interesting condition that George Clooney mentioned was a spontaneous CSF leak from his nose. This problem is completely unrelated to disc problems and arthritis, but it is treated by a neurosurgeon. Clooney notes that his leak occurred after falling out of a chair. However, these leaks can occur From out of nowhere one day and for no reason. Chronic sinus infections can be a factor or trauma, as in Clooney’s case. A Covid test gone wrong hasn’t even been the cause of spontaneous nasal CSF leaks.
The good news is that CSF leaks are dangerous but treatable. Untreated leaks can eventually lead to meningitis, which is a life-threatening condition. Most of these leaks can be repaired through an endoscopic approach in the nose. Some cases still require a craniotomy (“brain surgery”) for repair. If you have severe headaches and clear fluid running continuously from your nose, seek medical attention right away.