Many people probably had to look up the word diverticulitis when they heard that David Backes of the Bruins had it.  As a health professional, I will give you an idea of what diverticulitis is, and will try and help explain the treatment. When we can expect the big rugged Bruin back on the ice?




I have been telling everyone I know that what David Backes has is a very curable infection. I am quick to do this is because the infection is misunderstood.  Many people believe that what the Bruin forward has is a form of Crohn’s or Colitis, and that is not true.

Diverticulitis is an infection of an area of your lower digestive system near your bowel called the diverticulum.  The area itself is shaped like a small inlet and often can get infected to a lesser degree.  When the area becomes more intensely infected you get some very serious symptoms.  It often presents with pain upon eating anything, bowel difficulties(mainly diarrhea), and a great deal of pain.  This is why it is often mistaken for the chronic disease Crohn’s, as the symptoms are somewhat similar.  This infection can be picked up more easily by some people then another.  The big thing is how well your system clears it away before it intensifies.  In severe cases, it requires an operation, but fortunately not very often.

The way to differentiate is a stool test. This looks for infection, and is often how a diagnosis is made.  I am unsure what the exact antibiotic regimen Backes would be taking, but it will be standard.  It is treated with a cocktail of two antibiotics (often ciprofloxacin and metronidazole), and a low dose course of steroids. This would aid in getting rid of the infection and lessening the discomfort.  You must be careful to not use too many pain relievers because they can alter bowel function as well.

The kicker with this infection is that the patient would not be able to eat much until the treatment is into the fourth or fifth day. This is why the rugged Bruins forward is expected to be out 3-4 weeks.  The normal treatment is usually 14 days of straight antibiotics, and starting soft and non solid foods as tolerated.  It’s hard to keep your strength up until resume a normal diet.



Once being able to resume a normal diet, he will need to return to his usual game form.  A professional athlete cannot be deprived of food for that period of time, then expect to feel ready to go.  Once he can comfortably skate and train again, it will likely take 7-10 days for Backes to get back into limited game action.

Providing that all of the steps of his recovery goes well, we should see the Bruin forward back on the ice in a couple of weeks. It is a nasty infection, but should not be a recurring problem.  Once cleared from his system, Backes should be able to get back to his old cranky self.  He will have to be monitored for recurrence, but should not be a problem.


Here’s to wishing the big Bruin a speedy recovery, and seeing him back on the ice soon! Better now than at playoff time, when his loss would be huge.


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