Most healthy adults will experience back or neck pain at some point in their lives. Whether you’re young or old, back and neck pain can be debilitating. And it’s no wonder, your neck and back work to give strength to your movements and hold up half of your weight day in and day out. The spine is a complex structure with more than 33 vertebrae that form the flexible column running from skull to tailbone; between each is a cushiony disc, and holding everything together is a web of ligaments and muscles.

“With all of these different parts in the spine, there’s a lot that can go wrong,” said Dr. Karl Vega-Lelkes, a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon at the Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital Neuroscience & Spine Center.


Back ailments can stem from a variety of sources, including heavy lifting, improper sports or exercise techniques, sitting hunched over a desk or being overweight. Conditions such as a herniated disc, muscle spasms, arthritis and scoliosis can also contribute to back pain. Depending on the source of your back problem, you may experience acute pain (lasting a few weeks) or chronic pain (lasting for months or years).

“Since most people end up experiencing back pain, one of the best things we can recommend is prevention,” Vega-Lelkes said. Some of the steps you can take to prevent back and neck pain include:

• Maintaining good posture
• Strengthening muscles in your legs, back and abdomen
• Lifting objects with your legs, not your back
• Maintaining a healthy weight
• Wearing supportive shoes


If you’re experiencing mild back or neck pain, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen may help, along with applying an ice pack and alternating with a heating pad. Whether your pain is intense or a slight throbbing, it’s important to seek a treatment option that’s right for you.

 To schedule an appointment with Dr. Karl Vega-Lelkes, visit for easy online schedule or call our Neuroscience & Spine Center at 281.274.7979.


Join us on Wednesday, April 19 at 6 p.m. at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital’s Brazos Pavilion Conference Center.  Whether you’ve had back and/or neck pain for a few days or several long years, we are here to help. Dr. Karl Vega-Lelkes will present the latest information on less invasive treatment options and address any questions you may have.

Registration is required.  Register online at or call 281.274.7500.