For those who fear going under the knife to relieve chronic back pain, there is a new alternative that has attracted many seeking a pain-free existence.
"I can twist and spin all the way around," said Tony Rios, a martial arts instructor who once suffered from back pain.
It was on the mat when Rios said pain first shot down his leg.
"When I kicked, boom, it stuck and my foot flopped to the ground," he said.
Rios said he couldn't move for 45 minutes. Doctors didn't give him a good diagnosis.
"You probably have to have your back fused and you may need to look for another career field," he said he was told. "Unfortunately, this is what I love to do."
So, Rios didn't give up and continued to look for an answer to his back woes. His search ended when he heard about the AccuraScope procedure, which is only performed in Dayton, Ohio and now in North Texas.
Six doctors are trained to do the procedure nationwide. Four of those doctors are now local, including Dr. Ken Reed with the North American Spine Group.
"This is the best innovation I've seen in a fairly lengthy practice here in Dallas," he said of the procedure.
Reed uses a HD monitor and catheter to travel through the spinal canal. Endoscope doctors say it helps them diagnose problems better than an MRI.
A laser is then used to dissolve problems, like bulging discs, whether they are fully formed or just in the beginning stages.
"We'll see the tear in there forming, and before it can form and the disc bulges through, we do a heat treatment along the tear," Reed said.
The laser shrinks and dissolves the bulge immediately.
Reed can reach multiple disc levels, which means patients like Rios leave with no metal in their back and no scars. There is also little downtime.
"I hobbled into the surgery with my cane and walked out on my own two feet," Rios said.
It took Rios nine months to fully exchange his cane for his third-degree black belt. Now, he said he is virtually pain free.
"It's a great big deal," he said. "I do what I love. I'm always going to do this until I cannot kick anymore."
Rios had endured major back surgery before. When he got the laser surgery, it got rid of his scar tissue.
The surgery costs $19,500 and is only performed at Forest Park Medical Center. Most insurance will cover a portion of the cost. Doctors say patients are paying as low as $4,500 dollars for the laser surgery.