Our Team of providers at Tampa Bay Spine and Injury

If you are in need of treatment, Tampa Bay Spine & Injury is the best place you can go for the treatment and care. Our experienced doctors and specialists provide Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, physical therapy, and Chiropractic for individual treatment plans that work.

Dr. Robert J Kowalski, Jr., M.S. P. E.

Dr. Kowalski was born in Meadowbrook, PA and graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He completed a Master’s Degree in Washington, DC and after five years of service in the Navy’s Civil engineering Corps, he was awarded a Scholarship to attend the University of South Florida College of Medicine. Graduating with honors, he completed residency in neurological surgery at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Dr. Kowalski utilized his engineering background and distinguished himself by conducting extensive research on spinal biomechanics. He received a prestigious grant from the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation and following his residency, he also completed a fellowship in complex spinal surgery working with Neurosurgery and Orthopedic Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Kowalski served in the US Air Force for four years serving as the sole neurosurgeon in Afghanistan.

Dr Kowalski’s practice encompasses all aspects of cranial and spinal surgery with particular emphasis on motion preservation technologies, minimally invasive surgery techniques and spinal instrumentation.

Since 2009 and still today, Dr. Kowalski is servicing Tampa Bay residents at Florida Spine Institute in Clearwater, Florida. In addition to this, he has recently joined Tampa Bay Spine & Injury to help injured patients in the Brandon and Sarasota/Bradenton areas. 

Dr. Navdeep Jassal, M.D. 

Dr. Jassal graduated Magna Cum Laude from Ross University of Medicine and was elected by his fellow residents and the Departmental Faculty as Chief Resident at Hofstra/Northwell Health. He continued his pain fellowship at University of South Florida (USF).

His pain medicine subspecialty training extends his physiatric skill-set to offer a multidisciplinary approach to complex pain management. This includes treatment of cancer, neurological and musculoskeletal pain using medications, tailored physical therapy prescriptions, fluoroscopically/ultrasound/CT guided interventional pain and spine procedures. His procedures include implantable spinal cord stimulators, radiofrequency ablation, intrathecal drug delivery systems, kyphoplasty, lumbar decompression and complex headache/facial pain management.

Dr. Jassal currently serves as Assistant Clinical Professor for the Pain Medicine fellowship at the University of South Florida and Assistant Professor for the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the University of Central Florida. He has authored numerous original articles, abstracts in peer-reviewed journals and several textbook chapters including chapters within the leading texts in both Interventional Pain Medicine and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He has presented at numerous national academic conferences and has placed 1st place at the annual America Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP) Meeting, the American Spinal Injury Association Annual Scientific Meeting and the Hofstra/Northwell Health System academic day. He was noted #1 Pain Physician by Tampa Bay Magazine and noted USF’s Pain Faculty Attending of the year in 2018.

Dr. Jassal is actively engaged in educating medical students, residents, fellows and other physicians in interventional pain management, advanced treatment options for Spinal Stenosis and Neuromodulation. He is also actively involved in research studies involving minimally invasive spine interventions. 

He is an active member of several professional societies, including national and regional organizations in Pain Medicine and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He serves as a Young Guns Co-Chair for the American Society of Pain & Neuroscience.

Dr. Jassal has an interest in device innovation, educating students/physicians and minimizing opioid burden.

Dr. Maulik Bhalani, M.D. 

Dr. Bhalani is double board-certified in interventional pain medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the American Board of Medical Specialties.

After earning his medical degree from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, Dr. Bhalani went on to complete a physical medicine and rehabilitation residency at the University of South Florida, where he served as chief resident and completed a prestigious interventional pain medicine fellowship as well. Dr. Bhalani did his internship and anesthesiology training with the University of Maryland Medical Systems in Baltimore.

With a strong belief that one should always be learning, Dr. Bhalani pursues additional training and education in the latest spine and pain management technology, attending pain conferences across the nation and bringing home the newest, most innovative practices for his patients. He continues to produce research and literature dedicated to pain management, and he participates in clinical trials for new pain treatments to help advance the field he loves.

Dr. Bhalani is a member of several professional societies and regional organizations dedicated to pain medicine and physical medicine and rehabilitation, and he currently serves as clinical associate professor and faculty for the pain medicine fellowship and Department of Neurology at the University of South Florida.

In his spare time, Dr. Bhalani enjoys spending with his family, playing and watching sports (he is a huge fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Orlando Magic, and the Creighton Bluejays), skiing, teaching resident/fellow surgeons at the University of South Florida, trying his hand at golf and other outdoor activities.


Chiropractor Brandon Scott Elliott

Dr. Scott Elliott, D.C.

Doctor of Chiropractic. Licensed and practicing in the state of Florida, Dr. Scott O. Elliott graduated with honors from Cleveland Chiropractic college in Los Angeles, CA. He served on the Board of Directors for the California Chiropractic Association and has been recognized for clinical excellence and outstanding service to the profession. Dr. Elliott was also a part of an integrated physical medicine team where he treated less fortunate citizens using a multi-disciplinary approach to pain management and corrective musculoskeletal rehabilitation.

Dr Mark Elliott

Dr. Mark Elliott, D.C.

Doctor of Chiropractic. Dr. Mark Elliott graduated Magna Cum Laude from Cleveland Chiropractic College in Los Angeles, CA. Licensed in the state of Florida, he is the primary treating physician and back pain doctor at the Tampa Bay Spine and Injury Brandon location. While in school, Dr. Elliott participated as a treating intern in a research trial that studied the effects of chiropractic care in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. He has worked as a volunteer in an integrative medical setting managing chronic pain patients and focuses on a functional approach to pain management and postural rehabilitation.

Brandon FL ChiropractorDr. Robert De Stefano, Jr. D.C.

Doctor of Chiropractic. Licensed and practicing in the state of Florida, Dr. Robert De Stefano Jr. graduated from Sherman College of Chiropractic in Spartanburg, SC. While in school, Dr. De Stefano served as the President of the Student Government Association, the Vice President of the philosophical society, and an academic advisory committee member. He was the primary victor of the Chiropractic philosophy and patient education lecture competition, an ambassador for prospective scholars, and the receiver of the Service Distinction Award for contributions to Sherman College and the local community. He has participated in mission trips to the Dominican Republic and India, providing Chiropractic care to underprivileged natives; from infants to the elderly. His sports background, training on extremity adjusting, and certification in the activator technique

Dr. Roman Gressel, DPT

Dr. Roman Gressel received his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury, NY. He is also a Certified Senior Strength Trainer, Certified Health Coach, Certified SFMA Level 1 Practitioner and Certified Graston Technique Provider. Recently, Dr. Gressel was also nominated for the Ledger’s Best of The Best in Physical Therapy for the Central Florida Region. 

Health, fitness, and medicine have always been passions for Dr. Gressel. He has always felt a need to serve others; so choosing physical therapy as a career path was, by and large, a “calling” for him. During his graduate studies, he had the opportunity of working with doctors who have published multiple articles and textbooks specifically tailored towards Spinal Therapy.

This education allowed him to further understand the intricacies of the spine and how to properly approach the treatment of muscular-skeletal and soft-tissue derangements or dysfunctions. The studies also permitted him to engage in proper traction techniques, joint mobilizations, postural realignment and muscle energy techniques that would in-turn, accelerate recovery time for his patients.

Dr. Gressel uses a conservative approach to start all of his rehabilitation programs with graded increases to challenge and eventually meet all patient goals. His experiences range from all types of Cervical/Thoracic/Lumbar/Sacral Spine Disorders, Spinal Stenosis, Herniated Discs and Auto Accidents to complicated pre/post-surgical treatments, and pediatric/geriatric wellness programs. He specializes in rehabilitation treatments for all degenerative and traumatic spinal conditions.

Dr. Gressel cares about each and every one of his patients and demonstrates this throughout the rehabilitation process.

Corrine Cafra, P.T.A

Corrine is a Physical Therapist Assistant whom obtained her degree in an Associates of Science in Physical Therapy in 2015. Corrine graduated Cum Laude after gaining vast experience observing unique recovery interventions with Hippotherapy and Custom Mobility services. Corrine attended South University of Tampa where she also acquired her certification in the application Class IV cold K-Laser throughout clinical rotations. Since then Corrine has become certified in CPR/AED (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation/Automated External Defibrillator), BLS (Basic Life Support), and HIPAA compliance. During her time as a mid-level P.T.A. she has worked in a variety of settings including outpatient, inpatient, pool therapy, and pediatrics before joining Tampa Bay Spine and Injury in December of 2017.

Megan Benedict, P.T.A. 

Megan is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant with an Associate’s degree in Physical Therapy. She graduated top of her class in 2017 with a 4.0 GPA. She also received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Vermont in 2012. She has experience working in outpatient and inpatient settings. During her clinical rotations, Megan was introduced to a wide variety of techniques such as kinesio taping, gait training, and massage therapy. She has treated people with sports injuries and joint replacements, as well as developmentally delayed children, and people living with neurological deficits as a result of stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. Megan is passionate about helping people improve their quality of life and has enjoyed working at Tampa Bay Spine and Injury since September, 2017.

Cara Dixon-Taliaferro, L.M.H.C.

Cara is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with 14 years counseling experience specializing in Trauma, deficits in executive functioning, mood disorders and anxiety while also treating most other mental health conditions. Counseling services include counseling, coaching and support groups. She has experience in providing service in the public-school system, CINS/FINS program referrals, military veterans, law enforcement and first responders. Cara is licensed in the state of Florida and also holds certifications in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT) & Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP).


Find out more information about our neck and back pain doctors located in Brandon and St. Petersburg and how they can help you with low back pain, neck pain, headaches, and sports injuries. Contact Tampa Bay Spine & Injury today to make an appointment and start on your path to pain-free living.

We have three locations to serve you:

Brandon, FL (813) 381-3852

St. Petersburg, FL (727) 898-3852

Sarasota, FL (941) 248-2080