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Jose Cartagena – Multi-level Lumbar Decompression and Fusion

Image of Dr. Jeffrey Carlson in scrubsI am a 42 yo male Navy veteran. Since about June of 2000 I have been battling lower, and sometimes, debilitating back pain. I would have considered myself as in shape and athletic growing up. I have never had any mishaps that would have caused my pain. Through the years I saw my ability to partake in various athletic events and involvement in the gym become less and less. My quality of life suffered, and I believe this pain cost me my Naval Career.

Throughout my journey to minimize my pain I subjected myself to various pain management procedures. Chiropractors, Cortisone (steroid) shots, RFA, trigger point therapy and drugs to name a few. Some had a good effect, though only short term, while others left me worried about long term use and dependency.

Throughout my ordeal I met with numerous spine specialists. Multiple MRIs and Xrays showed a problem but in their respective views not severe enough to warrant surgery. I was told to continue with pain management treatments. This was unacceptable, but I learned to “live” with the pain and avoid things that made my pain worse. Easier said than done, being worried about sneezing the wrong way is enough to drive anyone a little anxious, forget about traveling long distances. Again, my quality of life was not at the highest but I made the most of it.

Summer of 2017 one of my wife’s co-workers was at a 5K race. The co-worker was talking about racing again and that her recovery from back surgery was going very well. I could not believe it, she was running! IN A RACE! AFTER BACK SURGERY! I have heard all the horror stories and this person was living proof of what is possible with the right doctor and approach to medical care. She passed on Dr. Carlson’s information. I sat on it for a month and finally made an appointment to see him. He had me take XRays and an MRI, took a little time for the appointments but the place was right next door at Orthopedic and Spine Center in Newport News.

When we had all the pictures and after my interview, which was very thorough with a lot of questions, Dr. Carlson declared he could help me. I was shocked. Years of being told to basically deal with pain and dilute with meds were over.

I went under the knife on 21 November. When I awoke, I remember feeling the incision site pain, but was not feeling the tightness and other pain I had been living with for the past 15 plus years. I thought it might be the post-surgery meds, so I did not get my hopes up. After I left the hospital, one day later, I was up and walking, slowly, but walking nonetheless.

Today is Feb 22, 3 months since surgery and I can say the decision to trust Dr. Carlson has been one of the best things I have ever done. I am swimming and slowly getting myself back into athletic events. I am scheduled for my first 5K race in a long time for the latter part of March.

I want to pass on my thanks to Dr. Carlson and his staff at OSC. They were very helpful from beginning to end. All the paperwork and appointments were handled with precision and I was kept on track through constant monitoring of events. Again, I am very thankful for Dr. Carlson, he has truly given me my quality of life back! (no pun intended)

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