Kraus Back & Neck Institute: 281.446.3876(281.44.Neuro)


Neck Pain

Your neck is one of the most complex and mobile parts of your body. The cervical spine supports and balances the weight of your head while you are still or active.

The cervical spine is compact and includes 7 small vertebrae, spinal cord, 8 sets of nerve roots, blood vessels, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Considering its size, flexibility and versatility, it is easy to appreciate why neck pain is common.


There is a broad range of disorders that cause neck pain.

  • Poor posture and body mechanics
  • Disc disorder, such as cervical disc degeneration
  • Sprain or strain, such as whiplash
  • Osteoarthritis, spondylosis
  • Cervical spinal stenosis
  • Trauma, such as compression fracture
  • Infection, such as meningitis
  • Tumor, such as cancer


Although you may share the same diagnosis with another patient, your symptoms may differ. Your symptoms may spread or radiate beyond the neck into the shoulders, upper back, and arms. This is called cervical radiculopathy.

  • Pain: mild to intense; dull, achy, sharp, throbbing
  • Movement aggravates pain
  • Sensations: burning, tingling, numbness, pins and needles
  • Muscle spasms
  • Hand clumsiness
  • Gait and balance disturbances
  • Localized swelling, feeling stiff
  • Skin area tender to the touch

Other symptoms

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Jaw pain
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Rare, bowel and bladder dysfunction

Accurate diagnosis

Consult an expert, especially if neck pain develops suddenly, quickly worsens, or you have a pre-existing back disorder. An accurate diagnosis is essential to an effective and successful treatment plan.

Your medical history and physical and neurological examinations are very important. You and your doctor discuss your symptoms, when they developed, and treatments tried. The doctor tests your reflexes and evaluates you for muscle weakness, loss of feeling, and signs of neurological injury.

An x-ray or CT scan may be ordered to confirm the doctor's diagnosis and rule out a more serious condition such as spinal fracture.


Seldom is spine surgery necessary to treat neck pain. Non-surgical treatments often effectively relieve pain and symptoms. Your doctor may combine two or more therapies to maximize the success of your treatment.

  • Activity modification
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Pain medication (a narcotic, painkiller)
  • Muscle relaxing medication
  • Spinal injection
  • Short-term bracing supports the spine, may help relieve pain
  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic

When your surgeon may discuss surgical treatment

Your surgeon may recommend spine surgery if you have neck instability or neurologic dysfunction. If neck pain and symptoms are not responsive to non-operative therapies and persist, surgery may be considered. If your surgeon discusses surgical options with you, be assured his recommendation is made with the greatest concern to your healthcare.

Gary Kraus, MD,
Neurosurgeon, is Board Certified
Meet Gary Kraus, MD
Masaki Oishi, MD,
Spine Fellowship at the University
Meet Gary Kraus, MD
Pain Library - Kraus Back & Neck Institute
Online Videos - Kraus Back & Neck Institute
Patient Forms - Kraus Back & Neck Institute
The Woodlands Office
3101 College Park Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77384   MAP
Sugarland / Richmond Office
21155 Southwest Freeway, Richmond, TX 77469   MAP
West Houston Medical Center
12121 Richmond Ave., Ste. 324 Houston, Texas 77082   MAP
West University/Galleria
3391 West Park
Houston, Texas 77005   MAP
Memorial Hermann Memorial City Professional Building III, 915 Gessner, Ste. 360 Houston, Texas 77024   MAP
Humble Office
8901 FM 1960 Bypass, Ste. 304 Humble, Texas 77338    MAP
West Grand Parkway North
1331 West Grand Parkway North, Suite 320, Katy, Texas 77493       MAP