Back Pain

Innovative Spine Care

Minimally Invasive Spine Specialist located in Tampa, FL

Back pain ranges from a temporary nuisance to a disabling problem. If you’ve got back pain that isn’t getting better, Stephen Watson, MD, of Innovative Spine Care in Tampa, Florida, can help. Dr. Watson uses nonsurgical back pain treatments and is an expert in minimally invasive laser discectomy and neural decompression using a thulium laser. If you’re suffering from back pain, Dr. Watson could relieve your discomfort without surgery. Find out more by calling Innovative Spine Care today or book an appointment online.

Back Pain Q&A

What causes back pain?

Multiple conditions could result in back or neck pain, so it’s vital to monitor your symptoms and see Dr. Watson if they persist for more than a week or so. Common causes of back pain include:

  • Strains and spasms
  • Poor posture
  • Bulging discs
  • Herniated discs
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Sciatica
  • Vertebral compression fractures from osteoporosis
  • Abnormal spine curvature (scoliosis)

Kidney problems can also cause excruciating back pain, so it’s important to rule out internal conditions like these.

Typically, back and neck pain originate in the muscle tissue around your spine or the nerve roots where they exit your spine. Back pain often involves issues like a herniated disc compressing a nerve root.

Axial back pain is localized to one region, while referred pain affects parts of your body away from your spine, like your thighs, hips, or arms. Radicular pain travels along the path of a nerve and often feels like a burning or electric shock — sciatica is one of the most common types of radicular pain.

How is back pain treated?

Before designing a treatment plan for you, Dr. Watson performs a thorough exam, reviews your symptoms and medical history, and sends you for imaging tests to diagnose the cause of your back pain. Common initial treatments for back pain include:

  • Over-the-counter medication
  • Topical pain relievers
  • Muscle relaxant medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Corticosteroid injections

You can also improve your back health by watching your weight, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and managing stress. Dr. Watson can help with advice on better sleeping positions, improving your posture, and how to lift by bending at the knees rather than the hips.

When might I need surgery for back pain?

If you’ve followed a program of conservative treatments for back pain but aren’t finding any benefit, it might be worth considering more invasive approaches.

Traditional back surgery often involves removing all or part of a herniated disc (discectomy and microdiscectomy) or some of the bone in the vertebrae (decompression surgery).

Dr. Watson specializes in cutting-edge laser discectomy and neural decompression using a thulium laser, a much less invasive approach to addressing disc problems.

He inserts a needle into your back through a 2- to 3-millimeter incision in the skin. The light energy from the laser turns off the pain receptors in your discs and seals the blood vessels to reduce inflammation. 

Unlike traditional decompression surgery, laser discectomy and neural decompression don’t involve removing any bone or fusing the vertebrae. That means you can move normally after the procedure, whereas fusion limits movement in the treated area of your spine.

To benefit from Dr. Watson’s expertise in laser treatment for back pain, call Innovative Spine Care today or book an appointment online.