Practicing out of Tustin, California, chiropractor Dr. Luis Jovel is known for his relentless pursuit to empower patients. He goes out of his way to help people out and has a huge heart which always comes out in the community he serves. He shares that growing up, he never had anything easy and people along the way gave him a hand and it inspired him to impact those who need him, whether it be some form of inspiration or some form of way that he can help with his resources. Dr. Jovel says chiropractic school was something that was introduced to him through sports. He shares his challenging journey and pursuit of his dreams to succeed and make a beautiful life.
Dr. Luis Jovel is a chiropractor out of Tustin, California. Dr. Jovel’s journey has not been an easy one and he has been relentless in the pursuit of his dreams. He was born in El Salvador, raised in the Compton Paramount, California area, and has done everything in his power to succeed and make a beautiful life. He has a huge heart and it always comes out in the community he serves. Dr. Jovel is an inspiration to me and it’s an honor to have him on the podcast to share his story. Please welcome, Dr. Luis Jovel.
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A Chiropractor’s Relentless Pursuit To Empower Patients with Dr. Luis Jovel
On the podcast, we have Dr. Luis Jovel. Dr. Luis, where do you practice out of?
I practice in the City of Tustin in Orange County.
Just moved to a new office, right?
Just moved into a new office.
How’s that going?
It’s amazing now that the move is done at least.
You outgrew your first base and business as well?
We started off small like we should start in business and grew into our previous location. It was only three rooms and a reception area. As we got busier we figured, “Maybe it’s time to make that move, reinvest into our business and be able to service others.”
I met you at the library at chiropractic school when you were working. You always went out of your way to help me out. You didn’t know me at all. I’m very grateful for that. You helped me out a lot in school, even when you didn’t have to. Where does that come from? Has that always been a part of you or did you pick that up somewhere?
It’s something in my personality. Growing up, I never had anything easy and people along the way gave me a hand and it inspired me to want to be the same way, impact those who, at some point, may need me, whether it be some form of inspiration or some form of way that I can help with my resources. It’s something that I naturally like to do.
Where are you from originally?
Originally born in Central America in El Salvador, grew up in the city of Paramount, Compton, moved up to the city of Victorville thereafter for high school and went down for undergrad at Cal State Fullerton and have been in the Orange County area ever since.
How did you get into chiropractic?
Chiropractic school was something that was introduced to me through sports. I played soccer all my life. My dream was to be a professional at one point. My physical was used to be done by a chiropractor. She sat me down and she said, “Check this out. This is what I do.” Some of her patients to be able to explain it to me, “This is what chiropractic does and it’s a pretty cool field.” It got the ball rolling as far as thinking about my future at that point. I was either a sophomore or junior in high school. I did my due diligence and I did my research after that. It’s something that I became very passionate about. I read books on it.
What was it that that doc said to you that made you want to research chiropractic and possibly get into the field? Did she give you an adjustment that day too?
She did not give me an adjustment. She just did her physical evaluation, but more than anything, it was the way that everything carried within her office and how she approached patients and what chiropractic essentially was because at that point, I didn’t know what chiropractic was. The fact that she was able to expose me to that spark, that little thought to be able to say, “Maybe I should look into this.” It’s very special for me in that regard because it is what it is and it’s what I do now.
Is that in high school when you met her?
This was in high school. This was during evaluation for a sports team.
Did you think you might, at that point, want to pursue chiropractic as a career or you were just thinking about it as a patient?
I thought about it from a career choice, but went off and did my own research, read books and tried to inform myself on, “What is this thing? What is this chiropractic stuff?” You have that perception that chiropractic is for bad backs because we adjust the spine, but I knew that there was something a little bit more to that and just went off on my own and did my own thing and try to gather up some facts on whether this is going to be a career choice for me.
What did you decide to pursue in undergrad?
Undergrad was kinesiology.
You had the science background and everything.
At that point, I made the decision fairly quick. I’ve always tried to make one decision and stick to it to gain some type of stability with anything and accomplish goals. I got in touch with a counselor at high school and then I, as a junior, reached out to SCU-HS, Southern California University of Health Sciences, and spoke to a particular counselor there. As a junior in high school, I said, “Let me know what is it that I need to do to get there as soon as possible.” Me being the impatient person, I’ve always been. Direct me in the way so I can get this done quickly because I don’t think I can wait for eight or nine years. Then I acted accordingly. She said, “If you’re going to be in Cal State Fullerton, go for kinesiology or for some other health science major and take the following classes.” I did but it wasn’t fast enough for my liking, so I attended weekend classes at SCU-HS. This was the chiropractic college that we graduated from, you and I. I was going to school seven days a week to get to chiropractic school as soon as possible and finish.
Was there anybody along the way that told you that you couldn’t do it? That it was too much work? Because I had a couple of people who tried to talk me out of it either because they didn’t know the background of the profession or they told me it was going to be way too hard and I couldn’t do it. Did you experience that as well?
I did. It’s a little bit more difficult when it’s what you think part of your support system.
How was your support system in high school and back then?
From a financial perspective, as a family, we’ve always taken care of each other. However, for school mentally is half the battle, being able to overcome yourself mentally and being able to act accordingly to be successful is tough to understand that concept and get through it. Sometimes, I did get people telling me, “Maybe this is too much. Maybe you can’t do it. Maybe you should slow down.” Realistically, I think that the way to go is empowering somebody to be like, “It’s okay to move forward and it’s okay to maybe take on too much because it’s only going to make you stronger.”
You’re in undergraduate. You graduated from Cal State Fullerton with a kinesiology degree.
I did not graduate with a kinesiology degree. I researched and I came to realize that graduate schools don’t require a degree. To go to chiropractor school, to go to medical school, to get your JD, be a lawyer, you do not need to have a degree. I made the decision. I said, “Cal State Fullerton is getting a little bit pricey because I’m living on campus, I’m paying for all these books. I have to live and eat something at some point.” I need to still get an education, so I said, “The kinesiology degree, am I going? Will I be able to get into chiropractic school, which is what I ultimately want and be a doctor and still be able to be a doctor without any kinesiology degree or will kinesiology make me that much of a better doctor?” What is it? What’s the connection? What’s the connection between me and being a doctor and where does the kinesiology degree fall?
I made the decision that I can save a couple of $10,000, a couple years’ worth of time that you cannot buy back, and try my best to get straight A’s in science, so I have no issue as far as admissions in chiropractic school and move forward. I decided to not go with a kinesiology degree. I got done with all my prerequisites in Cal State Fullerton in a matter of three years. I got accepted into graduate school, which was SCU-HS for chiropractic school to be a doctor and went from there. It’s my way of preparing for graduate school too because we went from 20 units at 32 units. It was absolutely outrageous. The way of preparing for that is overloading in classes. I had the full load in undergrad and being able to take these other weekend courses as well to get ahead. Going to school seven days a week and overloading myself to be able to prepare for something.
After chiropractic school, there’s not much that’s going to faze you because it is high pressure, high intensity, overworked for about two years and you reach a certain point where it’s unmanageable but you still do it and your body’s like, “I’m going to do my very best year and whatever happens, happens. I’ve done my best now. Hopefully, that translates.” Dr. Jovel, you have a little bit of a specialty within the chiropractic field. You like to work with athletes. What would you say you do? Is it myofascial release? I know you have some tools. What would you say is your type of chiropractic?
What we do in the office more than anything, it’s more of a sports therapy and rehab work for sports injuries. I get a diverse amount of patients from weightlifters, power lifters, soccer players, to professional boxers, sometimes basketball players that all deal with these ongoing nagging injuries such as knee pain, shoulder pain, and so on and so forth. What we do for the most part is do rehab for that. Do physiotherapeutical modalities that will help with swelling, that will help with stiffness, scar tissue buildup and lack of mobility, as well as lack of strength because of all these things. We essentially eliminate this ongoing problem that they’ve been going through and rehab them into a more strengthening being to be able to work out more effectively, to be able to push more weight, and to essentially be able to train.
Some of these guys, this is their job to live. It’s their job to box and to play soccer, basketball. It’s essentially a sports injury, a concept of what we have attacking these sports injuries in the office. I’m exceptionally passionate about it because half of these injuries I’ve had myself. It’s easy for me to relate and say, “I understand. I’ll show you compassion because of that not necessarily because I want to be a doctor, but because I’ve gone through what you’re going through, and I can completely relate.” When I tell you, “Take my hand, we’ll make it,” we’ll make it.
When I was playing, especially with high school sports, I used to tear my right hip flexor once a season and if I knew about sports rehabilitation, sports chiropractic, I wish somebody told me because that’s a preventable injury. I was like, “Not am I going to tear my hip flexor this year, one’s it going to go,” and sure enough once a year it was done. I was lucky enough my senior year to run into a sports chiropractor that fixed me up, but I wish I had somebody like that my entire career.
So did I. I fractured my ankle three times unfortunately, and that’s what was part of what ended my soccer career. If I would have known somebody who does exactly what I do now, I would be in a little bit of a better shape as far as my ankle’s concerned. I wish I would have known someone too.
From what I remember, I’d be in and out of touch with you over the past couple years. Did you start your own practice right away or did you work for somebody first and then get into it?
Our last year in chiropractic school, it’s meant to go out there and intern and find offices to be in that you can essentially work for free, so you can get hired and stuff. I understood quickly that that was a little grace period that we have for us to form a career base, to be able to have our expenses paid for through school, school loans, and be able to learn the craft and find something that you can essentially call home after graduation. I interned for an office for about a year. It unfortunately did not work out to my favor. At that point, it didn’t work to my favor, so I was a little bit disappointed in that.
I graduated December of 2014, and it was January here. I was still trying to look for a job when I have put all my bets in one, all the eggs in one basket, and it didn’t work out for me. Here I was trying to look for a job and I spoke to one of my colleagues. He said, “Check this out. There’s this other job. You should go check it out in the City of Hawthorne.” I went to the interview and the lady was absolutely amazed at how well we had been taught. She enjoyed the way that I adjusted the spine and everything and she was very happy, so I got hired on the spot. I was told to wait for my license to come in because it takes about two to three months for your license to come in and for you to be officially be able to be a practicing doc in the State of California.
I had to wait. Before that, I probably had called about 100 offices to look for a job. No sign of nothing. I went to about ten interviews. They agreed to pay me less than the minimum wage and I was extremely disappointed. That’s when I spoke to my colleague and my colleague was like, “Let me handle this. I’ve got something for you.” That’s when I met that lady. She was a doctor in the city of Hawthorne. I got the job and she said, “Wait a couple of months for you to get your license and you’re hired.” I put all my eggs in one basket there too and my license came in. The first thing that I did was give her a call and say, “I’m ready to start tomorrow if you need me to. I just want to work.” She didn’t answer. She called me back the next day and said, “Dr. Jovel, I’m sorry, but the guy that you were supposed to replace decided to stay in. It’s just more convenient for me to keep him.”
For two months, I was wasting time thinking that I had a job. Now, I’m back to the drawing board. I’m like, “I’m going to call another 100 offices.” If that didn’t work out, Kevin, enough. It was in March or April. I call this office. I got this posting from a chiropractor school out in the east and it said, “Looking to take over practice in the city of Huntington Beach, California with a good patient-base and so on and so forth.” At this point, it’s not something that I wanted to do or was interested in, but I called anyway because I had absolutely no choice. I called this guy and he said, “I bought that practice six years ago. That ad is extremely old, but you can come in and talk to me either way.”
I told him, “I’ll be honest with you, I have no time to waste.” He said, “Maybe you can start here.” I was like, “It’s worth a shot.” I went and spoke to him. The first thing he told me, “I’m not willing to pay you a dime because I’m not in that position too. However, you can start here in my office. I’ll pay you a percentage as an independent contractor.” I said, “What’s the percentage?” He said, “50%.” I was like, “That’s a bit high. Let’s be real here.” I was like, “You have to still pay for 27% on your taxes on that 50%,” so you’re left with essentially nothing. He said, “I understand but I will teach you every single thing that you need to learn.” I didn’t realize I’ll pay my dues for 40%.
It was April 2015 and I was a couple months in. It was about June and I came to realize that unfortunately, I was being taken advantage of again. I wasn’t being taught anything and I was essentially using thousands that I did not have for marketing things that didn’t work for me at that point. I’m dipping into my savings. I was there up until August and I have probably made about $800 from April to August. $800 for those months, not once a month. I went up to the owner of the practice and said, “I’m not making it, I need some help, whether it be guidance or whatever. I was hoping we’d renegotiate the situation.” No contract had been signed, so I figured it was casual enough to ask in respectable manner.
I still remember the look on the guy’s face. He looked at me and said, “Are you serious? You’re so ungrateful. You don’t understand that you’re the gold mine.” I was in shock to be listening to that. I walked out and he cursed and said, “Are you going to effing stay or are you going to leave?” I was like, “There is nothing for me. I’m out.” Here we are, August 2015 and I’m back to the drawing board. I’m like, “What the hell am I going to do with this?” I figured that the only way that I can pull this off, and I understand that the chiropractor profession, a phenomenal profession, had not evolved into the healthcare industry as much as we’d hope as far as opportunity and to be of service to more patients because what we do is amazing.
It does help a lot of people. Unfortunately, I had come to realize how much separated that chiropractor profession has been, not only within the healthcare field but amongst ourselves. I came to realize that the only way was to go out there, create the opportunity that nobody wanted to give me. Luckily enough, while I was in graduate school, all these financial aid checks that they had given me, I decided not to spend the whole money and stash some as we go for trimester. I was stashing in my savings over and over, which was meant not to be touched. It was meant to be used for an emergency situation such as this one specific. I was like, “I just got out of chiropractic school not too long ago. I have absolutely no experience in business. What am I going to do? I’m going to take the leap because I feel like I have no choice.” I got some of this money. It was $22,000 that I had saved up throughout student loans and working regular duty. I got $11,000 and I give the rest to my dad. I said, “Take this because if it’s in my bank account, I’m touching it.”
I got this $11,000, and I said, “I need a plan.” I got a broker and I told him exactly everything that I needed. I told him exactly everything that I wanted to spend. In the classifieds, there was this chiropractor who was giving away a high low table, which is a mechanical table that goes up and down. It costs thousands, as well as another drop table. Overall, it was about $12,000 worth. He was giving away and it’s specifically there to a student for somebody who’s starting their own practice. I wrote him an email, I told him my story, I told him if he would be nice enough to consider me. I drive all the way to Fresno to get it. Sure enough, he gave me a call back. He said, “It’s yours. Anything I can do to help.”
The doors are opening the moment that you start knocking. My broker came to me with 30 locations. I went and did my due diligence on all of them. I looked at all of them and I made my final decision on the last one. We started negotiating, we got a couple months free rent, we had the tables, and I started shopping for things that we needed in the office that weren’t too expensive too because you don’t want to dip too much into these savings. All these guys that I started meeting at the gym, I started telling, “I got a spot. Come check it out.” They came in and checked it out. I started understanding business slowly as I progressed, and I haven’t stopped working since that day.
I threw everything on the wall and saw what will stick on the wall. I started capitalizing on that, started paying attention to business patterns, started paying attention to revenues and where they were coming from. Before I can be a doctor, I have to be a businessman. I probably read above 50 plus business books within the year to try to educate myself on a whole different world. As we know in chiropractic, you put a spine in front of me, I know exactly what to do with it. At that point, I have absolutely no idea how to bring that patient in.
Our school, they tried to give us some business background, but you have absolutely no idea until it happens to you. You can read a lot of books and that’s why you were successful is because you were reading the books and doing it at the same time. It’s one thing to read the book and be like, “I’ll implement this down the road,” but you had to. It was a go, go, go.
It was retain and apply. These business classes in chiropractic school, they didn’t even scrape the surface. I was thinking about that like, “By the grace of God, I am where I am and I’m thankful.” I’m thinking about my education along the way. They taught me how to be a great doc. I’m very, very confident in my abilities to see a patient and tell them exactly what they have without hesitation and without being intimidated by any other doc. When it comes to business, we didn’t even scrape the surface. Even then, there’s so much to learn.
They almost encourage you to do what you exactly did. Go to some doctors, see if you can get a job. They don’t encourage going out on your own and doing your own thing, understandably because it is a lot of hard work. Sometimes it is right for people and it is the right move and they tell you, “You can’t do it.” Some people listen, some people don’t. You push through. There’s definitely a couple of brick walls you got to break through and it’s tough. What would be some advice that you’ve taken along your way, your journey, for future doctors of chiropractic, future small business owners, anyone trying to succeed in their passion and trying to make a business out of it because they love what they do, what would be your advice for them?
If there’s something that I understood and throughout these years that I’ve essentially bounced around everywhere, I’ve come to realize that the key to success, whether it be in chiropractic, whether it be in the way that you approach patients or pursuing your passion, it starts in the mind. Success starts in the mind because we’re essentially the ones who dictate the boundaries. We’re the ones who dictate what we can and cannot do. Being able to get your mind right and telling yourself, “You can do this,” and be able to set up a plan accordingly just be relentless there after that, it’s just inevitable. You have to be relentless.
You look at all the greats. I admire all the greats. Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali. All of these guys have been absolute borderline crazy. You don’t get to greatness not being relentless. If there’s something that I’ve understood that success starts within the mind, being able to dictate, “This is what I’m going to do and this is how I’m going to act accordingly and I am not going to stop until I get there.” It doesn’t matter what you do. When you put in that much work, when you put it in that many hours, it’s impossible to not be successful.
What do you think that driving force was with you? There probably were so many times along your road where you could have been like, “I’m not doing this. I can’t do this. I’m giving up.” What was that driving force inside of you?
I came to that realization of what that was about a few years in. I knew that my family had always inspired me to be able to do things and everything, but I came to really think about it. What gives people the impulse is essentially other people. You can only be so selfish. Things for yourself before it becomes so important that you’re doing it for this person, this person, and that person. For me, who always inspired me to want to be better was my parents because we come from an immigrant family. I was born in Central America and just seeing all those sacrifices to come here and be able to work as an immigrant family and being able to provide and be a good resident if they were to live in States.
I figured it was my time to payback. It was my time to say, “These are your efforts. It’s been exceptionally rough for our family and we’ve had to work up to where we are.” What inspires me is that whole process. I don’t want this whole process to go to waste, for me to say, “I’m not going to be successful. I’m not going to take that next step. I’m not going to be a doctor.” I saw that as a coward outwardly state of mind. I said, “I’m going to do this. I’m going to act accordingly and I’m going to be successful, not for me, but for my family to be able to provide.”
Your mission was bigger than you.
I realize now what that means, whereas when you’re a little bit younger, you can’t help but to think about yourself. You’re growing. You’re trying to figure out who you are to be, but that is my driving force. It has always been. It’s something that inspires the heck out of me to be able to go even furthermore.
What I’m taking from that is know your ‘why’. Know what it is why you do something because even though it’s the most passionate thing you’re about, there’s going to be days where you don’t feel like doing it. You don’t feel like getting up. It’s tough. When you know what your ‘why’ is, that’s what’s going to get you up out of bed in the morning. Some people don’t have that and that’s why some people stop.
You have to find that driving force on what it is and oftentimes, it’s not something for yourself. You have to figure it out and have a strong ‘why’ and act accordingly. That’s my personal ‘why’. We always have our ‘why’ for our office to be able to empower our patients to be better, which is something that I’m very passionate about. There’s so much negative energy out there sometimes and so much approach was scarcity where we want to promote abundance. We want to promote abundance in health, in strength, in financial stability. That’s essentially what I envisioned doing for all my patients, if you’re walking out unempowered, then I’ve done something wrong.
Where are you located? Where can people find you on the internet, social media platforms?
We’re very active on social media in Instagram. You can find us, @SpinalPerformance. You can also find us on Facebook.com/DoctorJovel. SpinalPerformance.com, we’re in the City of Tustin in Orange County, California. Our address is 14591 Newport Avenue, Suite 200 in Tustin, California 92780. It’s absolutely a beautiful office. We just moved so I’m very proud of us. I’m at your service anytime.
Dr. Jovel, thank you so much for coming on. Everything you have right now, you deserve. You worked so hard for it. You’ve been an inspiration for me from day one once I walked into chiropractic school. I can’t thank you enough for coming on and I know you’re going to do big things. I’m excited for you. Thank you so much.
Thank you so much, Kevin, for having me. I wish nothing but the best to you.
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