Neck Pain Specialist

St Michael's Neurology and Pain Medicine

Miguel Pappolla, MD, PhD

Neurology & Pain Medicine located in the Texas Medical Center, Houston, TX

Neck pain is a common problem that affects most people at some point in time, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. At St Michael's Neurology and Pain Medicine in Houston, Texas, Miguel Pappolla, MD, and the compassionate staff diagnose and treat all types of neck pain. If you experience neck pain that’s severe or ongoing, call the office or request an appointment online today.

Neck Pain Q & A

What causes neck pain?

A wide range of problems can cause neck pain. Most often, neck pain is the result of muscle strain from improper posture or an injury like whiplash. Other common causes of neck pain include:

Nerve compression

Each vertebra has a large opening for your spinal cord (spinal canal) and smaller openings for a pair of nerves to pass through.


Neck pain can result if one or more nerves that pass through the vertebrae in your neck (cervical spine) are pinched. Many problems can cause a pinched nerve, such as a herniated disc, inflammation from an injury, or narrowing of the spinal canal.

Cervical stenosis

Cervical stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows and presses on the spinal cord.

Arthritis

Osteoarthritis, also called wear-and-tear arthritis, causes the cartilage between your vertebrae to break down. This can cause bone spurs to develop, which may compress nerves. Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, can also affect your cervical spine.

Disc problems

A spinal disc can herniate, rupture, or bulge out and press on your spinal cord or a nearby nerve. Degenerative disc disease is another common disc problem.


Rarely, neck pain is due to a tumor or mass.

How is neck pain diagnosed?

An accurate diagnosis is essential to determine the most effective treatment for your neck pain. At St Michael's Neurology and Pain Medicine, Dr. Pappolla performs a thorough neurological evaluation to identify the precise cause of pain.


He may order diagnostic tests, such as an X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, or nerve conduction studies, to pinpoint the pain source.

What are my treatment options for neck pain?

Dr. Pappolla always proceeds with the least invasive approach to treatment. In most cases, neck pain resolves with conservative measures like physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, and wearing a neck collar.

If your neck pain persists despite treatment, Dr. Pappolla may recommend a minimally invasive procedure like:

  • Trigger point injections
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Epidural injections
  • Facet joint injections
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Regenerative medicine like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) 

Surgery for neck pain is rare, but may be necessary in cases involving extreme pain, severe spinal cord compression, or a tumor or abnormal mass.

For compassionate care of all types of neck pain, call St Michael's Neurology and Pain Medicine or book an appointment online today.