Ivan: “It’s really changed my life”

IVAN Not everyone can pinpoint the root cause of their neck or back pain, but Ivan can. The year was 1999, and he was working installing irrigation systems. He could frequently be found playing softball and hanging out with his kids when he wasn’t working. He led a busy, active life. Being an able-bodied man, Ivan offered to help lift an old heavy cabinet, and that’s when his trials with back pain started.

“Within 2 inches of coming off the ground, my back sounded like it cracked,” he remembered. “I immediately went home and knew I was hurt.”

For several years, Ivan saw a chiropractor to help manage his pain. His chiropractor eventually told him that he could no longer help him and that Ivan needed surgery to treat the pain. So he made an appointment with a surgeon’s office to discuss surgical options.

“I met with a surgeon, and he said, ‘You’re going to need surgery,’” he recalled. “He then said, ‘I’ll have my nurse come in and talk to you.’ She came in with a spine model and talked about installing four bolts and plates. I literally started crying.”

Not only did Ivan want to avoid a fusion, the cost of the surgery was far outside his financial ability. After that meeting, Ivan had resigned himself to living in pain for the rest of his life.

“I literally thought I had another year or two left because I couldn’t take the pain anymore,” he shared.

Ivan turned on the TV after his doctor’s appointment and saw Laser Spine Institute’s commercial. He already had his MRI and X-rays, so he decided to send them to Laser Spine Institute to find out if he was a candidate for surgery.

“That’s when I got a call from Matt,” he remembered. “He was the greatest guy to talk to; never mind that I was almost crying every time we talked.”

After Ivan’s MRI was evaluated, Matt was able to tell him that he was a great candidate for surgery at Laser Spine Institute.

“I didn’t know what to ask or what to say,” he shared. “When I first heard about Laser Spine Institute, it sounded like a magic trick. It didn’t sound real.”

Matt and Ivan spoke two to three times per month for nearly three years before Ivan and his dad were able to arrange to come to Laser Spine Institute. Once he finally made it to the facility, Ivan was blown away by the overwhelming kindness of the staff at Laser Spine Institute.

He recalled. “Every person there was just unbelievable.”

Ivan was afraid that the surgery wouldn’t work, and he would still be in pain. But he felt relief after his surgery and was “ready to go out and do anything” during the first two weeks of his recovery. He was careful, though, because he didn’t want to risk re-injuring his back.

“It’s kind of scary for me because I’ve been hurt for so long,” he shared. “It’s like having a car in the garage that’s been broken for 20 years, but you just don’t know what’s going to happen when you get it on the highway.”

Ivan is making progress each day. Although he looks forward to when he’ll be able to participate in the big things, like playing sports, he’s thankful for the small things, like sleeping and standing without pain.

His experience with Laser Spine Institute Philadelphia has given him a new outlook on life. Where once he lived in pain and was fearful of making it worse, now he’s ready to embrace life.

“It’s really changed my life,” he said.

If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic neck or back pain, visit LaserSpineInstitute.com to learn more about our minimally invasive procedures.

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