Neck & Back Pain

Minimally Invasive and Complex Spine Neurosurgeon, Neurosurgery & Complex Spine & Complex Brain Neurosurgeon located in Houston and San Antonio, TX and Upstate New York, Syracuse, NY
Neck & Back Pain

Neck & Back Pain services offered in Houston and San Antonio, TX and Upstate New York, Syracuse, NY

Neck pain is a common cause of disability and suffering. If you have a painful neck that doesn’t improve in a few days, visit Board-Certified, Fellowship-trained, and highly skilled neurosurgeon Yan Michael Li, MD, PhD, at the Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Institute. At the offices in San Antonio and Houston, Texas, and Upstate, New York, Dr. Li and his colleagues perform a functional evaluation of your condition and advanced diagnostic and anti-inflammatory injections to relieve neck pain. They also excel in surgical neck pain management. Call your nearest office today or book an appointment online for cutting-edge neck pain treatment.

Neck & Back Pain Q & A

What causes neck pain?

Neck pain can develop after trauma, particularly whiplash injuries. These happen when your head moves violently back and forth, usually in an auto accident or when playing sports. Aging is responsible for the deterioration of the spine’s structures, which can lead to neck pain.

In many cases, neck pain is caused by stress-related muscle tension. Other common causes include sleeping with your neck at an odd angle and poor posture. Conditions affecting the neck’s structure and function include:

  • Spinal stenosis (narrowed spinal canal)
  • Cervical radiculopathy (nerve compression in the neck)
  • Facet joint arthritis
  • Degenerative disc disease (age-related wear-and-tear)
  • Herniated discs

Discs are circular pads between the spine’s vertebrae (bones). They have a tough outer shell with a soft gel center. If you have degenerative disc disease, the discs dry and flatten, weakening the outer shell. The soft core can squeeze through a weak spot, causing a herniated disc. Trauma can also herniate the discs.

These problems can cause pain in the lower back (lumbar spine) and, less commonly, the upper back (thoracic spine), as well as the neck.

Dr. Li diagnoses neck pain after a physical exam and viewing X-rays or other diagnostic images. You might need a nerve block (injection of numbing medicine into the spine) to determine the source of some pain.


How is neck pain treated?

Neck pain often improves with rest, hot and cold treatments, and anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen. If your neck pain doesn’t improve, you might need physical therapy.

Patients with more severe or long-lasting neck pain might require steroid injections. Steroids are potent anti-inflammatories that Dr. Li inject into your spine using ultrasound or fluoroscopy (moving X-ray) image guidance. They reduce inflammation, offering long-term pain reduction.

Other nonsurgical treatments for neck pain include radiofrequency ablation, which destroys pain nerves in the neck, and spinal cord stimulation (SCS), which disrupts communication between pain nerves and your brain.


Would I need surgery for neck pain?

If your neck pain is severe and no other treatment helps, Dr. Li might suggest surgery. Depending on your condition, you might benefit from:

  • Discectomy (herniated disc removal)
  • Microdiscectomy (partial herniated disc removal)
  • Spinal fusion
  • Artificial disc replacement
  • Decompression

Decompression surgeries remove the bone and tissue in your spine that is pressing on the nerves.

Dr. Li specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS), reducing tissue damage and pain and shortening recovery time.

Call the Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Institute today or book an appointment online to find expert relief from neck pain.