7 Ways to Treat A Stiff Neck – Starting with the Fastest

Today, your rude awakening wasn’t the alarm clock.

It was your neck. 

If you have some or all of these symptoms, you have a stiff neck:

  • headache
  • tense muscles or muscle spasms
  • pain and difficulty or inability to turn the head
  • general neck soreness

Let’s look at seven ways to treat it, starting with the fastest. 

1. Take Over-the-Counter Pain Medicine 

If you don’t have any time, taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or aspirin can lessen the pain by reducing inflammation. 

2. Try Self-Massage 

Step one: Find the sore, tense area with whichever hand is closest. You may be able to feel a raised lump. 

Step two: Press into the knot with one or more fingers. You can get creative and use a prop like a plastic lip balm or tennis ball instead of your fingers.

You may feel pain, but it should feel like the productive pain of a massage rather than sharp pain.

Step three: Turn your head slightly toward the side opposite the knot, then slowly bend it down toward a position parallel with your armpit. 

Step four: Repeat steps two and three about 20 times, then gently stretch your upper back as you usually do when getting out of bed. 

You can do this again throughout the day as needed. 

3. Try Hot Therapy 

Heat therapy can reduce pain by relaxing sore and tightened muscles. 

An easy way to apply heat is to dip a towel in warm or hot water, ring it out, then wrap it around your neck for as long as it’s warm. 

4. Try Cold Therapy

Cold therapy can reduce pain from pulled and tense muscles by lessening inflammation.  

To make a cold pack, put something frozen or cold such as a small wet towel, bag of ice, or reusable plastic freezer pack, in a sealed plastic bag. 

You may want to wrap a shirt or towel around the bag so that it doesn’t feel too cold against your skin. 

Next, hold the pack against the sore area of your neck long enough to feel it get very cold or even numb (but not painful). 

Heat or cold therapy alone can relieve pain, but the two can be even more effective when used together.

5. Get A Professional Massage

A massage therapist has the training to work the tension out and improve circulation in your sore neck.

6. Avoid Strenuous Physical Activity

Sometimes less is more. 

Sit out from your regular exercise routine or sports participation, and cancel your appointment to help move furniture.

Resting your sore neck is the priority.

7. Visit A Pain Specialist

It’s time to visit a pain specialist when your pain and stiffness don’t improve after more than a day or two of self-treatment. 

Pain specialists can identify whether a more serious underlying condition than tension or a pulled muscle is causing pain and discomfort in your neck. 

Pain Relief in Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Outlying Areas

At Texas Pain Physicians, our team of pain specialists is here to help you find relief from the pain and stiffness. 

With 16 locations in major Texas cities, chances are we are nearby you. 

Feel free to call us at (972) 636-5727 or book an appointment online.

Get Lasting Relief from Migraines and Other Headaches with Trigger Point Injections

Throbbing pain in your head can distract you from everything.

You need quick but lasting relief from migraines and other types of headaches.

Trigger point injections are a safe, non-invasive treatment that can provide that relief. 

What are trigger points?

Often called “muscle knots” or just “knots,” trigger points are painful knots of muscle tissue.

They may or may not be visible as lumps on the skin surface.

What causes them? 

Trigger points form when muscles don’t relax. The causes for lack of muscle relaxation include:

  • inadequate exercise
  • performing repetitive mechanical tasks 
  • lower limb mechanical asymmetry (different leg lengths)
  • joint disorders (arthritis, bursitis, gout)
  • poor sleep quality
  • vitamin deficiencies 

How they cause migraine pain.

Trigger points are a common cause of tension headaches, and they can make headache disorders such as migraines worse.

They produce what’s known as ‘referred pain,’ which is pain in other areas of the body.

When trigger points form in the muscles of the head, neck, and shoulder, they can press on nerves, causing headaches and making migraines worse.

How trigger point injections provide migraine pain relief.

Trigger point injections are usually injections straight into muscle knots to release muscle tension.

Typically, a trigger point injection includes a mixture of saline and a local anesthetic such as lidocaine.

The anesthetic reduces or eliminates headache pain by blocking pain receptors surrounding the muscle’s nerves that send pain signals to the brain. 

When inflammation is present, the doctor may use a corticosteroid dose to reduce the swelling and pain.

What is a trigger point injection like?

Depending on the number of trigger points, you may need more than one injection. 

An injection can reduce or prevent headache pain for up to several weeks.

Fast, lasting pain relief!

One injection provides immediate relief from migraines and tension headaches.

The procedure only takes a few minutes and can address more than one muscle knot.

You can have more than one injection session (as needed), and the relief can last for weeks. 

It may take several sessions to experience sustained relief.

Are Trigger Point Injections for You?

You are a strong candidate for trigger point injections if you suffer from headaches due to muscle knots.

But this treatment doesn’t work for everyone. 

Some people are allergic to anesthetics, and some don’t experience relief from the injections. 

Expert Headache Treatment in Texas

If you suffer from migraines, tension headaches, or other types of headache pain, Texas Pain Physicians can help.

Our pain specialists will recommend the best treatment and get you back to your routine. 

Call Today!

To find out more or make an appointment at one of our Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, or other locations, please call us at (972) 636-5727 or book an appointment online.

Facet Block Injections and Nerve Block Injections for Long-Term Pain Relief

You may be living with pain from an injury, disorder, or disease. 

Good and bad days come and go.

But even when the pain goes away, you can count on it to return –  month after month, year after year.

You could spend a lot of time trying DYI and non-traditional therapies and treatments until you start finding relief. 

Or you could visit a pain management doctor. 

Pain Management Injections

Pain management doctors or pain specialists are trained to diagnose chronic pain conditions and apply the most effective minimally-invasive pain relief procedures.

Steroid injection is one of their simplest methods for relieving muscle, joint, and nerve pain.

Two of the most common injections are nerve block and facet joint injections.

The type that pain specialists choose depends on the location and source of your pain.

The Benefits of Pain Management Injections

  • safe and effective 
  • minimally invasive (non-surgical)
  • long-term pain relief (up to several months or longer)

Facet Joint Injections

The facet joints connect the spine’s bones and are found in the neck, chest, and back at each vertebral level. 

Pain specialists use facet joint injections (also known as facet blocks) to discover the source of your pain or treat pain by reducing inflammation in the spine’s joints.

What Facet Joint Injections Treat:

  • back pain due to injury 
  • arthritis damage in facet joints 
  • stress on the spine

Nerve Block Injections

Unlike facet blocks, nerve block injections can help pain specialists identify the source of nerve pain in the legs and feet or treat nerve pain in the head. 

 What Nerve Blocks Treat:

  • A lumbar sympathetic block can treat nerve pain symptoms in the feet and legs.
  • An occipital nerve block can treat nerve pain in the scalp and back of the head. 

Injection Procedures 

For a nerve block or facet joint injection procedure, a doctor or nurse administers two injections (a local anesthetic and steroid) into the designated area.  

Within minutes of the anesthetic injection, you may notice significant pain relief. 

Facet blocks and nerve blocks pain-relief injections are safe and highly unlikely to cause complications compared to surgical alternatives.

Get Long-Term Pain Relief in Texas

Are you tired of taking pain medication every day to keep up with your chronic pain? 

We can give you relief that lasts for weeks or months. 

To find out how pain management injections may help you, give Texas Pain Physicians a call at (972) 636-5727 or book your appointment online.

7 Treatments for Chronic Neck Pain

Most chronic or long-term pain and discomfort comes from wear and tear, injuries, and overuse — three things no one can avoid if they live long enough.

Neck pain and discomfort symptoms include:

  • Neck pain
  • Neck stiffness and reduced range of motion
  • Headaches
  • Muscle weakness in the arm, hand, or shoulder
  • Numbness, prickling, and tingling in the forearm, hand, and fingers

Pain specialists typically recommend non-invasive conservative treatments to relieve chronic neck pain. Below is a list of some of the most common treatments for neck pain:

1. Steroid Injections 

Some treatments take a while to relieve chronic neck pain. Steroid injections can provide relief within hours that can last for weeks or even months.

A simple outpatient procedure that takes a few minutes, a steroid injection can reduce or eliminate chronic neck pain long enough for you to start realizing benefits from physical therapy and other non-drug treatments.

2. Occupational Therapy 

Occupational therapists can help you improve your daily ergonomic awareness at work, on the go, and around the home.

For example, poor sitting and standing posture can cause chronic neck pain. Occupational therapy can teach you healthy moving and non-moving posture that involves maintaining your spine’s three natural curves (neck, mid-back, and lower back). 

3. Physical Therapy

A certified physical therapist can develop a stretching and strengthening routine tailored to your body. Consistent stretching and strengthening help your body heal faster and keep your neck and spine healthy.

Physical therapists may also recommend therapeutic devices, such as cervical or neck traction devices, to help relieve your neck pain. A neck traction device can ease neck pain related to nerve root irritation by gently stretching the neck.

4. Lifestyle/DIY Remedies

Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medicines

OTC non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen), and pain relievers like Tylenol (acetaminophen) can be effective pain management for chronic neck pain. 

R & R

Like a sore throat or a pulled hamstring, getting enough rest and sleep can help decrease chronic neck pain. 

Applying cold packs or compresses and warm compresses or heat pads to your neck can be comfortable and relaxing.

With chronic neck pain, which occurs because of damage to the neck’s bones, discs, and joints, this therapy likely won’t provide much, if any, pain relief. It may, however, provide some added comfort and relaxation that can help you rest. 

6. Prescription Medications

Muscle Relaxants 

If your chronic neck pain is making you lose sleep, muscle relaxants may help. Though pain specialists typically prescribe muscle relaxants for acute pain, these meds also cause drowsiness which can help you rest and sleep better. 

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Your pain specialist may recommend tricyclic antidepressants, especially if your chronic neck pain is nerve-related. 

Opioid Painkillers

If other treatments don’t work, your pain specialist might recommend painkillers on a short-term basis. 

7. Alternative Medicine

Alternative therapies such as chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage may relieve neck pain. If conventional treatments haven’t worked for you, you might want to ask your pain specialist about these therapies. 

Chronic Neck Pain Treatment in Houston, Dallas, and Other TX Locales

At Texas Pain Physicians, we provide comprehensive pain treatment. Our friendly pain specialists will assess your medical history, pain condition, and recovery goals to develop a unique pain treatment plan for you.

Please give us a call today or book your appointment online!


Treatment and Management of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) can be extremely painful and debilitating. Treatment and medication for TOS depend on the specific type.

Treatment for Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (NTOS)

Neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome occurs when the nerves leading from the neck to the arm are compressed. Over 90 percent of cases of thoracic outlet syndrome are neurogenic.

Symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • pain
  • numbness and tingling in the hands
  • pain in the shoulder

Pain specialists often recommend a combination of two or more conservative treatments at the same time. NTOS treatments include (but are not limited to):

1. Physical Therapy

Physical therapists aim to ease symptoms and restore upper-body function. Treatments include:

heat packs: Applying heat packs can relax muscles and lessen pain.

exercise programs: Exercises consist of stretching to improve flexibility and increase strength in the affected areas.

cervical traction: Cervical traction devices help to relax the muscles, increase flexibility, and relieve pain. They do this by slightly stretching the neck, which decreases pressure on the spine by separating vertebrae. 

2. Biofeedback Therapy

A biofeedback therapist helps you practice relaxation exercises, which you fine-tune to control different body functions. 

During a therapy session, a biofeedback therapist attaches electrodes to your skin which monitor stress indicators, such as heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, and muscle activity.

The therapist teaches you to practice relaxation techniques in stressful situations, such as deep breathing and mindfulness.

3. Occupational Therapy

An occupational therapist will generally recommend simple methods for relieving pain and relieving nerve compression, the underlying cause of NTOS.

They will recommend correcting poor posture and practicing safe ergonomics, such as safely lifting heavy objects. They may also recommend simple exercises you can perform at home.

4. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be an effective complementary treatment for TOS. It can help patients in three ways: 

  • Change their perception of pain.
  • Think about their experience in positive terms.
  • Eliminate or at least minimize believing the worst or exaggerating the situation.

5. Medication

Your pain management specialist may recommend taking over-the-counter drugs, such as 

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (such as ibuprofen and aspirin) and muscle relaxants, such as tizanidine, can relieve muscle stiffness and pain. 

6. Botox Shots for Pain 

Your pain specialist may recommend a botox injection in the muscle at the base of the neck. 

Botox injections can relax the muscles and ease the pain. The positive effects can last for up to 3 months, and the injections are repeatable.

Treatment for Venous and Arterial Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

These two types of thoracic outlet syndrome account for only 10 percent of cases. Symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • pain
  • edema (swelling of the hands, fingers, and arms)
  • blue color in the hands and arms
  • bulging veins in the neck, shoulder, and hand

You will likely be treated for possible blood clots and have thoracic outlet decompression surgery. 

After this, you may need long-term pain management. In this case, your pain management specialist would recommend a combination of the above treatments and therapies.

Texas Pain Treatment and Management Specialists

At Texas Pain Physicians, our priority is to improve your quality of life.

If you have been diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome or think you may have this condition, please give us a call at (972) 636-5727 or book your appointment online today.

White woman curled up in bed in pain, covering her head with a pillow.

7 Fast-Acting Medications and Treatments for Severe Migraines and Cluster Headaches

Severe or acute migraines and cluster headaches can hit in minutes and cause excruciating pain. 

While there are many management, prevention, and treatment options, sometimes relief can’t wait. 

Let’s look at seven fast-acting prescription medications and treatments.

1. Sumatriptan

Prescription triptan drugs can get rid of your acute migraines and cluster headaches in minutes. 

Sumatriptan, the fastest-working drug on this list, works fastest in injectable form. Typically, a medical professional administers the first injection. 

Whereas injectable and nasal Sumatriptan can start providing relief in 15 minutes, oral Sumatriptan takes 30-60 minutes. The nasal spray is for migraines and cluster headaches, and the pills are only for migraines. 

2. Oxygen (for Cluster Headaches Only)

Strapping a mask over your face and taking in pure oxygen can start relieving severe headache symptoms from cluster headaches within 15 minutes.

Unfortunately, oxygen can be very inconvenient as a severe headache relief option because you either have to take it at a medical facility or carry a portable tank with you.

3. Zolmitriptan 

Another prescription triptan drug, Zolmitriptan, is a fast-acting nasal spray alternative to injections that treat migraines and cluster headache attacks.

Zolmitriptan can be taken as an oral tablet to dissolve in the mouth, an oral pill to swallow, and a nasal spray.  

The nasal spray works faster, providing noticeable relief as soon as 10 minutes (typically taking an hour to bring significant relief).

The oral forms typically take two hours to noticeably relieve pain (probably not fast enough, especially for a cluster headache).

4. Octreotide (for Cluster Headaches Only)

Octreotide or Sandostatin is a synthetic form of the brain hormone somatostatin. It’s an effective medication for cluster headaches but not for migraines.

It can provide relief within 30 minutes, though it’s generally not as fast-acting or effective as Triptans. 

5. Nerve Blocker 

A nerve blocker like lidocaine is a quick treatment for migraines and cluster headaches — but you can’t take it with you. Some people experience improvements in their symptoms within 15 minutes.

It’s a procedure administered by a medical professional at a medical facility that involves receiving an anesthetic injection into the back of the skull.

Nerve-blocking injections can provide pain relief from migraines and cluster headaches for months. 

6. Local Nasal Anesthetic (for Cluster Headaches Only)

A prescription local nasal anesthetic, such as lidocaine, can provide a numbing effect for cluster headache pain within minutes.

Like nerve blockers and oxygen, this treatment is only available for administration in a medical facility. Also, this isn’t a long-term option, as pain relief from a local nasal anesthetic wears off within hours. 

7. Dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45)

Dihydroergotamine is a medication that may provide fast-acting pain relief for migraines and cluster headaches.

It’s available in injectable, intravenous (IV), and nasal spray forms. 

Though generally not as effective a treatment as triptans, Dihydroergotamine is associated with a low risk of migraines returning within 24 hours. 

Expert Treatment for Headache Disorders At Texas Pain Physicians

Do you suffer from severe migraine or cluster headaches, or think you might?

Our board-certified pain management doctors can find what’s causing you pain and ensure you have safe, fast-acting medication.

Give us a call at (972) 636-5727 or book an appointment today.

Woman with migraine

Want Extended Relief from Chronic Migraines? 7 Things to Know about Botox Treatment

The thudding pain feels like getting kicked in the head again and again. 

You can only lay down in a dark, quiet room until it goes away.

There is no known cure for chronic migraines.


Imagine living with fewer migraine attacks – or no attacks – for months. Imagine not having to take pain meds all the time.

It’s possible with Botox injections for migraines. Here are seven things to know about this treatment.

1. Does Botox treatment eliminate migraine attacks?

According to the American Migraine Foundation, studies show that Botox injections for migraines reduce the number of days patients suffer from migraines or other headaches by 50%.

2. How does Botox stop migraine attacks?

Botox, or botulinum, is a neurotoxin extracted from mold. Well-known for its use as a cosmetic treatment, the FDA approved Botox as a treatment for migraines in 2010.

Though doctors don’t know precisely how Botox stops migraines, they suggest that it blocks pain signals from reaching the brain.

3. Who can get this treatment?

Those with diagnosed chronic migraine. Chronic migraine symptoms:

  • headaches at least 15 days of each month
  • eight migraine headaches each month
  • these symptoms occur for at least three months

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, a headache specialist or neurologist prescribes the treatment.

4. What’s a Botox treatment session like?

The neurologist typically administers shots of Botox in the head and neck once every three months. Doctors don’t give Botox injections more often than every three months because this could trigger the body’s immune response, which would make the treatment ineffective.

Doctors trained to treat migraine with Botox administer the injections (not plastic surgeons trained to use Botox for cosmetic purposes). Around 30 to 40 injections are administered evenly to each side of the head and neck.

5. How long does it take to see results?

Results come within 2 to 3 weeks, and the effects last 10-12 weeks. Alternative medication is needed to treat migraines during the ineffective period. Patients see better and better results after multiple treatment cycles.

6. Are there any side effects?

The most common side effects are swelling and bruising at the injection sites. Less common side effects include head and neck pain and headaches.

7. Does insurance cover this?

Botox injection sessions as a treatment for chronic migraines cost thousands of dollars a year. A patient’s insurance company will cover the treatment when the patient has been diagnosed with chronic migraine headaches.

Insurance companies may not cover Botox treatments for adolescents and children.

Migraine treatment in Houston, Dallas, and many other Texas locations. 

Don’t allow this debilitating condition to interfere with your life a day longer.

At Texas Pain Physicians, we have a team of doctors who specialize in pain management. Botox injection is one of our treatments for chronic migraines.

Please give us a call at (972) 636-5727 to set up an appointment at your nearest Texas Pain Physicians location.

Woman suffering from Migraine

Migraines Cancelling Your Schedule? Here Are 5 Ways To Get Back On Track

You reach out for the wall to steady yourself. Stars chase each other across your field of vision.

It’s another migraine attack.

Migraine Facts

Throbbing pain from migraines can be debilitating. About 12% of Americans suffer from migraine headaches.

Migraine triggers include:

  • emotional stress
  • missed meals
  • caffeine reaction to chemicals and preservatives in food
  • frequent use of pain-relieving medication
  • light
  • hormonal changes in women.

Though they can strike at any time, migraines most often occur at a rate of 2-4 per month.

Steps you can take to manage your migraines:


1. See a specialist.

See a doctor as soon as possible when you first experience migraine symptoms. Your primary care physician can diagnose migraines and start treatment.

Sometimes primary care physicians will recommend a neurologist or “headache doctor.”

The primary care physician or neurologist will help you develop a treatment plan and prescribe abortive and preventative medications.

2. Practice sleep hygiene.

Most people need at least eight hours of sleep. Try to get enough sleep, go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every day. Turn off the TV and electronic devices with screens an hour before bed.

3. Change your diet.

Work with a nutritionist or doctor to identify foods that contribute to or trigger your migraines. Keeping a record of what you eat and drink can help identify the problematic foods.

Though one size does not fit all, keeping regular mealtimes, and maintaining a healthy, balanced diet, can decrease the chance of a migraine attack.

4. Keep a migraine journal.

Keep track of the details of your migraine attacks, such as:

  • date and time migraine started
  • all the migraine phases and their duration
  • detailed symptoms
  • quality of sleep the night before the migraine attack
  • diet details (any missed meals or foods that may have triggered it)
  • pain description and rating from 1 to 10
  • pain location (jaw, side of the head, eye)
  • list of medications (daily and non-routine)
  • describe treatment (of migraine), including dosage, frequency, and whether it worked

5. Exercise regularly.

Regular exercise is one of the keys to keeping a healthy diet and sleep schedule. Exercising outside is more effective in regulating sleep and eating rhythms.


Migraine Treatment at Texas Pain Physicians

Are you dealing with the pain of a migraine attack? Are you worried about your next migraine attack? Do you have undiagnosed migraine symptoms?

Our board-certified pain management specialists can get you on a treatment plan tailored to your condition and lifestyle.

Give us a call at (972) 636-5727 or book an appointment online today!