Jeff Gordon has admitted that his back problems could eventually shorten his driving career if he does not find a way to cure the pain that has been hampering him of late.
The four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion revealed recently that he has been suffering from chronic back pain and that an MRI scan had showed a mild arthritis among other things that might have come as a result of previous crashes.
On Monday, Gordon had a facet block injection performed on his back to try to keep pain under control as he aims to find a solution in order to be in the best shape possible to contend for his fifth Cup title.
"My physical fitness program is fantastic," Gordon said. "I'm in the best shape I can ever remember being in. But all the things I was doing, the stretches, the fitness work outs, none of those things were making my back any better. We tried things in the seat, lumbar supports and all those things and it's only certain tracks that it really flares up bad.
"Martinsville and Bristol were two that really stood out. When I was talking to the doctors I wanted to make sure that whatever we do with the type of season that we're having that when we get down to the end of the season and I feel like this championship is won that I'm in the best shape that I can be in and I'm not complaining about back problems if that's possible. So that's why we did the treatment now."
The 37-year-old admits the pain he has suffered has been such that if his doctors are unable to find a solution, his NASCAR career may be cut short. However he says is not uncommon for drivers to face this kind of issue and he vows to get to the bottom of it soon.
"If my back were the way that it was at Bristol this year it's definitely going to shorten my career," said Gordon. "I can't race like that for long periods of time. If it's like that and it was getting worse or getting like that at all the tracks, no doubt about it. But we all have issues.
"Every driver throughout history has had some kind of problem issue he's had to fight through and battle through to stay in the car and stay competitive. That's what I'm doing to stay in the car."
Gordon is currently leading the driver standings in the Sprint Cup series heading into Sunday's Coke 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, where he claimed the first of his 82 career victories in 1994.