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Neck Pain Specialist

Jessen Mukalel, MD

Spine, Sports, and Interventional Pain Specialists & Ketamine Infusion Specialist located in The Woodlands, TX

Though spending hours hunched over your computer or smartphone can lead to neck pain, the pain usually resolves with at-home care. However, if your neck pain is chronic and causes headaches or pain that travels down your back or into your shoulders, interventional pain specialist Jessen Mukalel, MD, can help. Dr. Mukalel takes a patient-centered approach to care and offers advanced diagnostic tools and techniques to help you get long-term relief from your neck pain. To schedule a neck pain consultation, contact the office in The Woodlands, Texas, by phone or online today.

Neck Pain Q & A

What is neck pain?

The neck is a common source of discomfort where you may experience general pain, as well as muscle tightness and spasms. Neck pain can affect your mobility. It’s also not uncommon to see neck pain paired with headaches and trapezius and rhomboid muscle-tendon strains. 

What can I expect during a neck pain consultation?

Dr. Mukalel is an experienced interventional pain specialist who schedules adequate time to ensure you get a comprehensive exam when you see him for a neck pain consultation.

During your consultation, Dr. Mukalel asks detailed questions about your symptoms, medical and surgical history, and the treatments you’ve tried to alleviate your discomfort. To better understand the source of your neck pain and help direct your treatment plan, he may perform an ultrasound or x-ray exam during your visit. 

How is neck pain treated?

Dr. Mukalel develops individualized treatment plans for neck pain based on your symptoms and the underlying cause. In most cases, he alleviates neck pain with radiofrequency ablation of the facet joints in the neck, which reduces muscle spasms and tightness in your cervical spine.  A simple procedure called a medial branch block will let you know how successful the ablation could be for you. If the block does not provide temporary relief of neck pain, an epidural injection of steroids may be needed to treat cervical spine stenosis.  

He also provides platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, a regenerative medicine therapy, in the cervical joints (C1 and C2). This pinpointed area of the neck is typically confused with occipital nerve pain and commonly misdiagnosed. 

What are specialized treatments for neck pain?

Dr. Mukalel provides specialized neck pain treatments based on your symptoms and the underlying cause of your pain.

Neck pain and headaches

Dr. Mukalel specializes in neck pain associated with headaches and is a member of the American Interventional Headache Society. He provides pulsed radiofrequency ablation of the cervical joints in your neck, specifically C2 and C3, which significantly reduces pain in the neck and head through neuromodulation rather than destruction. He can also use pulse radiofrequency ablation to treat facial pain from the trigeminal nerves surrounding the eyes or mouth.

Occipital nerve pain

The occipital nerve in the back of your head can be an injectable target for those suffering from chronic migraines. Dr. Mukalel may ablate or stimulate the nerve with a peripheral nerve stimulator to alleviate discomfort. 

If your occipital nerve is compressed, an ultrasound exam aids in finding the source of the compression. Dr. Mukalel can perform gentle, ultrasound-guided hydrodissection to relieve the compression.

Migraines

For migraines, Dr. Mukalel suggests keeping a pain journal to help diagnose causes and patterns associated with your head pain. This information from your pain journal is used to determine the best medication and interventional treatment options, such as monoclonal antibody treatments or trigeminal nerve blocks for facial pain, while helping you understand what your migraine triggers are. 

Persistent muscle spasms

Though uncommon, persistent muscle spasms in the cervical spine can lead to cervical dystonia (painful involuntary muscle contractions), which Dr. Mukalel treats with Botox® injections. This is done quarterly to help relax the muscles causing your pain or abnormal head posture.

For relief from your neck pain from a physician who thinks outside the box, contact the office of Jessen Mukalel, MD, by phone or online today.