September 19, 2017

Spine patient: Before back surgery

Neck, Back and Spine | Patient Stories

This post is part of The Ultimate Guide to Back Pain Relief

Justin Ochoa is an active father, husband and personal trainer in Indianapolis. He is constantly on the move with his family and helping clients in the gym. He even trains fellow OrthoIndy patient and radio personality Nikki Reed from WZPL. But when back pain began to hinder his job and overall quality of life, he knew it was time to seek help.

The only option – back surgery

After attempting physical therapy, injections and other pain management techniques, Justin made the decision with his family to pursue surgery with OrthoIndy spine surgeon, Dr. David Schwartz.

In part one of the three-part video series, Justin explains the steps before surgery and what led him to OrthoIndy to get normal back. Follow his journey in the upcoming weeks on the blog and our social media channels.

Should I see a Spine Surgeon or Physiatrist

Justin’s story

“My name is Justin Ochoa I am a personal trainer and strength coach here in Indianapolis getting ready to go into a spine surgery on my L5 S1 lumbar spine so I will be seeing Dr. Schwartz for that. They’re going to be doing a micro discectomy and I’m going to be taking you guys through the process of what this whole process looks like over the next couple weeks leading up to my surgery. You guys are going to see my surgery and then see the recovery process and how that whole thing works. So it’s going to be an informative and interesting ride back to recovery.

I first experienced the symptoms of this injury about ten years ago. I am 27 years old right now and so this I believe is stemming from an old basketball injury that happened when I was 17. So at the time I only cared about athletics and I didn’t really want to deal with healing things the proper way. I believe that poor decision compounded over time and probably led me to get in this situation that I’m in today with needing a surgery at such a young age.

When things got really, really bad was around winter 2014. I basically was probably in the best shape of my life at the time, went down to give my dog a treat and collapsed. My back pretty much gave out on me and I had lost like all feeling in my left leg for probably two or three minutes and it was really scary because I had no idea that it had become that bad.

So I went to OrthoIndy and I got referred to a physical therapist in which I completed the program and kind of monitored the pain but it never really went away. I’ve had multiple injections on different areas. Doing different things had some relief initially, but it never really bought me enough time to properly fix the problem. Eventually, that path led me to a consultation with Dr. Schwartz. After I did several injections with Dr. Langhorst and Kate VanPoppel, who were also part of my team at OrthoIndy, they referred me to Dr. Schwartz.

I met with him for about 30 minutes and he basically told me “if you were my son I would recommend you to get the surgery.” That to me gave me that trust and relationship with my doctor that I was able to make a conscious decision and talk it over with my family, my wife and our two kids. I’m ready, anxious, excited and a little nervous but I know I’m in good hands. So it should be a pretty awesome experience to wake up and not be in pain for the first time pretty much ten years so I’m looking forward to it.”

View the second part of the video series, During Spine Surgery or learn more about OrthoIndy Spine.

You don’t have to live with back pain. Learn more about how to get relief with our ultimate guide to back pain relief.

The Ultimate Guide to Back Pain Relief cover

The Ultimate Guide to Back Pain Relief

Find out what's causing your back pain and how you can treat it with OrthoIndy's ultimate guide to healing back pain.

Read the guide

Chelsea Tuttle

By Chelsea Tuttle

Chelsea is the current Marketing Coordinator for OrthoIndy. She graduated from Ball State University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations. Chelsea has been with OrthoIndy since 2014.

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