When you’re experiencing neck, back, or limb pain that’s affecting your quality of life, it’s important to have someone in your corner. Whether a trusted doctor or industry professional, they’ll listen and ease you towards the road to recovery.
Oftentimes, finding that individual can be a difficult task, especially if you’re looking for personalized care. If you’re in the Four Corners area, Spine Colorado is the proven choice for those looking for orthopedic specialists, offering an unparalleled range of treatment options. Commonly, their approach involves exploring all treatment possibilities before recommending surgery.
Of those specialists, Dr. Bohachevsky is often the first to provide aid. As a physiatrist at Spine Colorado, he treats patients conservatively according to their needs, relying on non-invasive measures to treat musculoskeletal pain.
From space to the spine
While he’s spent over 20 years in his field, Dr. Bohachevsky took a slightly unconventional path into physiatry. In fact, he almost never went into healthcare at all. “Throughout high school and in college, I had no interest in medicine. In fact, blood, guts, that scared me” he said, “I had no interest, even though my mom was a nurse.” Instead, he began working towards a career in engineering, specifically focusing on aerospace tech. While studying for his degree in Houston, he worked at the Johnson Space Center, analyzing a yet-to-be-launched space station. Although he found the field engaging, it also felt very removed from actually helping people. So, Dr. Bohachevsky looked for other options.
Oddly enough, he found his calling on the ski slopes, where a minor accident totally shifted his career path. “Around the same time, I tore my ACL skiing, and it got repaired by an orthopedist. And I went, ‘wow, this is really cool. This guy fixed me,’ he says, “So I thought, ‘I can use my engineering to fix people.’ I decided to go to medical school.”
Initially working towards a career in orthopedic surgery, Dr. Bohachevsky found himself called to help people achieve their goals through non-surgical intervention. “Most people don't need surgery for any of their ailments. After experiencing the orthopedic lifestyle and operating on people in the middle of night, I found physical medicine and rehabilitation. We would look at the body from orthopedic, musculoskeletal, neurological perspectives, but we treat issues non-surgically.”
During his training, he gained experience in sports medicine, musculoskeletal treatments, and inpatient care for spinal cord and brain injuries, eventually working closely with a spine interventionalist. After graduation, he applied at Spine Colorado, and he has been there ever since.
Non-invasive options to meet patient needs
At the practice, Dr. Bohachevsky is part of the non-operative or conservative treatment arm and focuses on managing or eliminating pain without surgery. His goal is to restore patient’s functioning, mobility, and quality of life using their preferred methods, giving them relief without taking invasive measures.
Although it varies case by case, he typically tries to treat musculoskeletal issues first with adjustments or exercise techniques. Usually this involves physical therapy, chiropractic, stretching, and/or strengthening for a month or two.
If the patient doesn’t experience relief, Dr. Bohachevsky recommends diagnostic imaging and potentially injection treatments. “if it's a pain that's radiating down their arm or leg, we typically get a MRI first to make sure we know where the nerve is being pinched, and then treat them with an epidural injection,“ he says, “those are generally 60-70% successful for three to six months, and are repeatable over time.”
For neck or low back pain, Dr. Bohachevsky often considers a facet injection to diagnose pain location and an RF ablation to treat before recommending surgery. This common procedure uses a needle that heats up to thermally target nerve branches so they no longer register pain. “The patient can get improvement in their neck pain or low back pain for 12 to 18 months, and that procedure can then be repeated again and again,” he says, “no steroids are used.”
If they’ve exhausted all potential treatment options and nothing offers relief, Dr. Bohachevsky then considers recommending surgery as a treatment option. “Sometimes you don't have a choice, especially if you have a significant weakness. You have to say ‘hey, like it or not, you should have surgery,’ he says, “If it's a pain or numbness issue and we've tried all the various treatments, we will say, ‘Well, if the pain is bothersome enough, you can choose to have surgery’ if the imaging supports that it would help them.”
Listening, learning, and treating
Like other practitioners at Spine Colorado, Dr. Bohachevsky works closely with his patients to create individualized treatment plans that work for their needs. Oftentimes, this is just a simple 1-1 conversation between patient and doctor. “I bring them in, I talk to them, and I listen to them as they describe where their pain is coming from,” he says “what makes it better, what makes it worse?”
While sometimes there’s a need for diagnostic imaging like an X-ray or MRI, a simple in-office assessment may be all Dr. Bohachevsky needs to start treatment. “If I feel that it is a nerve-related issue, we'll probably get other imaging such as MRIs. But it's mostly talking to them, listening to what their problem is, and doing a physical exam where we look at their muscles, look at the motion of their spine/extremities, evaluate their nervous system from reflexes and strength perspective, and try to figure out what's going on.”
With orthopedics and physiatry, it’s easy to get bogged down in the scientific jargon, so he tries to speak to patients in their language so they can make the most educated treatment decisions. “I do use medical terms, but I try to simplify it and explain where their symptoms are coming from,” Dr. Bohachevsky says, “I'll use the X-ray or MRI, and I just go over them and explain each spot and then ask questions to make sure they understand what's going on. Then we make a decision about what we can do for treatment.”
Year-round, patient-centric care
There’s a lot of nuance to orthopedics and physiatry, so Dr. Bohachevsky’s focus on patient-centric care is key. While he’s helped countless individuals, he specifically remembers a time when a client needed treatment over the holidays.
For clients, Christmas time is a tough time to have orthopedic issues because most offices are closed. If you’re having a medical issue, you typically need to wait until the new year because many doctors are out of town.
The patient called complaining of terrible back pain and pain radiating down his leg. He had tried physical therapy, but he was still miserable. “I added this guy in, came in on my day off, and did an epidural injection on him,” he says. The treatment worked.
These moments make care at Spine Colorado from practitioners like Dr. Bohachevsky so memorable. “I just saw him today for his neck and he recounted that time I saw him 10 years ago and how he's doing great ever since, he says, “so, that was really neat to help him out, especially during the holidays when it's so hard to get care.”
Living the Durango lifestyle
While originally from Texas, Dr. Bohachevsky appreciates the outdoor life that Durango, Colorado provides. He completed his residency in Denver, but there was “traffic on the weekends going into the mountains and coming back out,” he says.
He and his wife found Durango, and never looked back. Smaller town life gave him plenty of options to enjoy the great outdoors. His primary passion outside of his work at Spine Colorado is mountain biking–particularly the Twin Buttes trail system.
He also enjoys scuba diving, although he doesn’t get many opportunities in landlocked Colorado. Instead, he sets aside time to escape to the beach in the winter so he can rest and recharge.
Restoring quality of life
With non-operative goals, Dr. Bohachevsky’s physiatric work makes a difference for those looking to manage pain without surgery. It’s an important part of restoring quality of life for patients without resorting to more invasive measures.
Working closely with clients, he creates treatment plans that meet their needs and takes their individual pain tolerance into account. He uses their feelings, along with the diagnostic imagery of MRIs and X-rays, to provide client-centric care that gets them back to feeling like themselves again.
Schedule an appointment to start your journey towards becoming pain free.