Everything You Need To Know About Managing Neck Pain

Everything You Need To Know About Managing Neck Pain

  • managing neck pain

Neck pain is a common medical condition that often causes patients frustration. Living with and managing neck pain can be difficult and even prevent you from participating in your favorite activities. While the good news is that neck pain does not often suggest a serious problem, it must still be addressed.  

If you’re experiencing neck pain, keep reading to learn more. Whether your pain is from poor posture or tightness from looking down at a computer to more serious conditions, Carolinas Pain Center can help. With many treatment options available, you don’t need to live in pain! Our team helps patients with neck pain feel better in no time!

Types and Causes of Neck Pain

Whether you turned your head too quickly to answer a question or you were in a car accident, neck pain can have a variety of causes, depending on the location of the problem. For example, some neck pain can come from issues with the spinal cord, ligaments or cervical discs, cervical vertebrae, or the blood vessels, muscles, or nerves in the neck region.

Neck pain may also be due to trauma or whiplash, arthritis, nerve root irritation, poor posture, cervical herniated discs, or other medical conditions. Other common causes of neck pain include muscle spasms, osteoporosis, fractures, sprains or strains, and degenerative disc disease.

Some neck pain may be acute, meaning it is short-term pain that lasts less than four weeks. Other neck pain is considered subacute, which is pain that lasts up to 12 weeks. In addition, many chronic neck issues cause pain that lasts over three months.

Preventing Neck Pain

Prevention of neck pain is just as important as the treatment. When engaging in high-contact sports, use appropriate equipment to protect yourself. When driving, always wear a seat belt to prevent or reduce whiplash injury. If you work on a computer, it’s important to make sure the screen is at the correct height to protect against neck strains and muscle spasms. 

Here are other ways to prevent neck pain:

  • Practice good posture when sitting and standing.
  • Take breaks from working at your computer or driving. Move around and stretch your neck.
  • Don’t tuck your phone between your neck and shoulder when talking on it. Try a headset or use a speakerphone.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Don’t carry heavy bags with shoulder straps.
  • Sleep in a comfortable position with your head and neck aligned with the rest of your body. Use a small pillow and sleep on your back to flatten the spinal muscles.


Depending on the source of the pain, neck pain can cause patients to have many uncomfortable symptoms. These include feelings of a stiff neck, where you feel it’s difficult to move or experience sharp pains when trying to move. Generalized neck soreness or headaches may also occur with your neck pain.

Some patients with neck pain also have pain that radiates along a nerve from the neck to the shoulder or arms. You may also have difficulty lifting or gripping objects.


How your doctor will choose to treat your neck pain will depend on the severity and type. First, non-surgical approaches may be deployed to help you in managing neck pain. Physical therapy may help as you learn exercises to strengthen the neck and correct postural issues. Heat, ice, or electrical stimulation may also be used in combination with physical therapy.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, or TENS, often helps patients reduce their neck pain. Another type of targeted therapy uses traction to gently stretch the neck under the supervision of a doctor.

Several medications are also available to manage neck pain. If over-the-counter medications are not enough, your doctor may need to prescribe stronger medications. These medicines include muscle relaxants, tricyclic antidepressants, and more.

How a Doctor Can Help

If you’re living with neck pain, it is important that you see a doctor promptly. Remember, there are many approaches to managing neck pain beyond surgery. Your doctor can help you manage neck pain through other approaches first, such as steroid injections, medial branch blocks, epidural injections, and much more.

Tired of living with uncomfortable neck pain? Is your neck discomfort impacting your quality of life and ability to enjoy every day? If so, make an appointment today with Carolinas Pain Center to learn more about neck pain treatment. Our specialists use a multidisciplinary, individualized approach to manage neck pain in a way that works for your specific needs.

How to Tell if You Have Bursitis in Your Knee

  • bursitis of the knee

Do you think you could be suffering from bursitis in your knee? Perhaps you’re experiencing knee pain, but you don’t remember twisting it or knocking it. Or maybe you have experienced a twist or impact, but the swelling and discomfort feels unusual and is localized in a specific area. All of this could indicate that you have bursitis in your knee. 

So, what do you need to do next? Read on to discover more about how to identify bursitis, what this means, and how it can be treated. Remember to reach out to the experts at Carolina’s Pain Center if you have any questions or worries about your knee.

Understanding Bursitis in the Knee

Your knee is a complex joint, complete with a number of different bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, as well as other elements. One of these other elements is the bursa, or bursae of the knee. These are small sacs that are filled with fluid, providing protection for the joint and preventing excessive friction or impact.

Unfortunately, these bursae can become inflamed, resulting in pain and discomfort. Bursitis literally refers to inflammation in the bursa and can occur in various locations around the body. In the knee, bursitis used to be referred to as housemaid’s knee, coal miner’s knee, or carpet layer’s knee simply because it is commonly associated with the action of kneeling for an extended period of time.

The Symptoms of Bursitis

There are three general symptoms of bursitis in the knee:

  • The knee will be painful to touch, and you may feel pain while moving the joint.
  • The knee will become swollen, particularly around the area of the inflamed bursa.
  • The knee will feel hot and appear red.

Other injuries and complaints can also cause these symptoms. These are just things to look out for, and may indicate bursitis or another complaint. It’s important to seek medical diagnosis and further advice if you are unsure.

Bursitis Knee Treatment

A doctor, medical professional, or rehab specialist will generally prescribe an anti-inflammatory treatment, reducing some of the swelling around the knee. This will help you to eliminate much of the pain and discomfort associated with bursitis.

The best bursitis knee treatment, however, is rest. Bursitis may go away on its own, but only if the joint is properly protected and given time to heal. Rehabilitation services may be required if problems persist, or if there are other underlying conditions at work.

Bursitis of the Knee: Common Questions

How can you check for bursitis?

You can check by gently pressing your knee to identify any areas of pain, swelling, or heat. You may also want to look for areas of redness, or instances of pain when you move the knee. Always seek professional diagnosis if you are unsure.

Is it OK to walk with knee bursitis?

Bursitis does not affect the structure of the knee joint, so light walking should not cause problems. Don’t do anything that causes pain in the knee, however.

Is knee bursitis serious?

Some types of bursitis can be serious. If there is a bacterial infection, for example, this will require immediate treatment. This is why it is important to get your painful knee checked out by a professional.

Should I wear a knee brace for bursitis?

You don’t need to brace the knee joint if you have bursitis, as it is not a structural problem. You may want to use a light compression bandage to reduce swelling.

Does knee bursitis show up on X-ray?

No, the X-ray will not pick up bursitis. However, medical professionals may use an X-ray to determine if there are any other underlying conditions affecting the knee, such as a bone injury.

What do doctors prescribe for bursitis?

Doctors generally prescribe some sort of anti-inflammatory medication for bursitis, accompanied by rest and protection for the joint. Rehabilitation may also be required, particularly if there are other forms of damage to the knee.

Get the Treatment You Need for Bursitis or Other Knee Pain

The team at Carolinas Pain Center has the skill and understanding required to provide effective treatment, as well as rehabilitation for other knee and joint complaints. Get in touch today to book your appointment or to chat with a member of our team.

10 Common Causes of Hip Pain

  • causes of hip pain

Do you or a loved one struggle with hip pain? Wondering what it might be? Below, we’ll explore some of the most frequently seen causes of hip pain and what to do about them. Some conditions that result in hip pain may be minor, while others require more immediate attention.

What Is Hip Pain?

Hip pain is a general term that refers to any type of pain or discomfort felt in the hip. This could be muscular pain, internal pain, pain with ligaments or tendons, or soft tissue pain surrounding the hip joint.

Where Is Hip Pain Felt?

Hip pain can be felt in areas beyond the hips themselves. You may feel pain or discomfort in your thigh, buttocks, groin, or inside or outside of your hip joint. In some cases, pain from other parts of your body, such as the groin or back, can also radiate to the hip, causing hip pain (sometimes called referred pain). Hip pain causes a reduced range of motion in some people.

10 Leading Causes of Hip Pain

The causes of hip pain are quite diverse. If you’re experiencing hip pain, it’s important to seek medical care to determine the underlying cause. Below are some of the most seen reasons for hip pain:

1. Dislocation

Dislocation of the hip joint can cause serious hip joint pain. Often, dislocation is due to blunt force trauma, such as a car accident or other injury. A dislocated hip joint forces the bones in the hip to move positions, leading to significant pain. It can be exceedingly difficult or impossible to walk with a dislocated hip. This medical condition should be treated promptly.

2. Labral Tear

Your hip joint has cartilage that surrounds it, known as the labrum. When this is damaged, hip pain can start. This can happen through trauma to the area, repetitive motions, and some genetic conditions. This important structure holds the ball of your thighbone into the hip. If it is torn, the pain will persist.

3. Osteoarthritis

One of the most frequently seen causes of hip pain is known as osteoarthritis. This condition affects both men and women of any age. However, it is mostly seen in older adults. This form of arthritis happens slowly over time from age or could result from trauma.

The cartilage that surrounds your hip bone begins to break down, causing the bones to rub directly against each other. In turn, this friction results in uncomfortable hip pain. This condition is often a primary factor for many hip replacements.

4. Tendonitis

Tendonitis affects tendons that surround a person’s hip joint. These tendons are important, as they join the muscles to the bone. This condition causes the tendons to become swollen or inflamed, leading to hip pain.

5. Snapping Hip Syndrome

This medical condition causes the IT band to snap outside of the thigh and a person’s deep hip flexor to snap over the front of their hip joint. In addition, tears of the surrounding cartilage may cause snapping. This can result in serious hip pain.

6. Stress Fracture

Anyone can get a stress fracture of the hip; however, they’re frequently seen in athletes who participate in high-intensity sports. Stress fractures can improve on their own with rest and recovery.

7. Hip Fracture

Elderly patients that fall frequently experience hip fractures, though this can happen at any age. A hip fracture causes severe hip pain and will need to be treated with surgery. To repair a hip fracture, surgeons may replace the broken portion or repair it using metal plates and hardware.

8. Muscle Strains

Muscle strains, such as groin pulls, and hamstring strains, can lead to spasms and hip pain. These may range from mild to severe. You may also notice bruising or swelling in the area, along with difficulty walking.

9. Osteonecrosis

This hip condition causes less blood flow to reach the bone, leading to the death of cells. It frequently happens in the hip joint, causing the bone to collapse or weaken.

10. Trochanteric Bursitis

This fancy name may sound complex; however, this is a common problem. This condition causes inflammation of the bursa, the fluid-filled sac that reduces friction between your bones, muscles, and tendons. When the bursa is inflamed, it causes degeneration of the hip soft tissues, resulting in pain.

How Do I Know if My Hip Pain Is Serious?

Some conditions that cause hip pain are mild and will resolve with rest and recovery. However, certain conditions may require that you seek immediate medical attention. If you see a joint that appears deformed or are unable to move your legs or hip, this is a sign to seek prompt medical attention.

In addition, if your hip is suddenly swollen or you have intense pain, see a doctor right away. Any signs of infection, such as redness or chills, along with hip pain, also may indicate that prompt medical attention is needed.

What Is the Most Common Hip Problem?

According to Johns Hopkins, arthritis is the most common hip problem. 

What Medical Conditions Cause Hip Pain?

Medical conditions that commonly cause hip pain include:

  • Arthritis
  • Injuries and overuse
  • Pinched nerves
  • Cancer 

Is Walking Good for Hip Pain?

Yes, walking will help keep the muscles strong and flexible to control swelling and relieve pain.

Struggling with hip pain? Make an appointment today! The pain specialists at Carolinas Pain Center can help you manage your pain, no matter where the cause of your pain lies.

We feature an individualized approach to treatment, with the core belief that no two patients are the same. You’ll receive an individualized treatment plan that will help you manage your hip pain. Want to learn more? Be sure to look at our pain services.

Understanding the Symptoms of Neuropathy

  • symptoms of neuropathy

Do you know if you are experiencing symptoms of neuropathy? Neuropathy is a complication within the nervous system. It is caused by the degeneration of the nerves situated outside of the spinal cord and brain. While this problem is irreversible, you can take action to help fend off neuropathy or control it through treatment, lifestyle, and diet.

Symptoms of neuropathy are usually unpredictable and differ greatly from person to person. The symptoms are influenced by the group of nerve fibers affected and the severity of impairment.

There are four main types of neuropathy, each with its own type of symptoms and diagnosis.

1. Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral nerves are located outside your spinal cord and brain. They are part of the peripheral nervous system that includes neuromuscular junctions, spinal nerves, their branches and roots, and cranial nerves.

Peripheral nerves transmit signals from the spinal cord and brain to the rest of the body. They are vulnerable and can be damaged easily. Peripheral nerve injuries can hinder the brain’s ability to communicate with organs and muscles. As a result, these injuries present various problems to patients, varying from life-long impairment to mild discomfort.

Damage to peripheral nerves is commonly associated with:

  • Uncontrollable muscle twitching
  • Painful cramps
  • Muscle weakness

Muscle spasms and twitches will manifest in the arches of the foot, ribcage, belly, arms, hands, calves, and thighs. Most muscle twitches are inconspicuous and aren’t a reason for worry. However, muscle spasms can make breathing, eating, talking, and walking difficult.

A muscle cramp occurs when a muscle contracts uncontrollably and suddenly. A cramp can go on for varying durations and mostly resolve by itself. There are many causes of cramps, but compression of nerves in the spine is the main cause of cramp-like pain in the feet.

The doctor may conduct electromyography to evaluate the state of the muscles and the nerve cells that manage them.

2. Proximal neuropathy

Proximal neuropathy is a disabling and rare type of nerve injury in the thigh, buttock, or hip. It typically affects one side of the body initially, but gradually, the symptoms will worsen and spread to both sides. Diabetes mellitus is the most common cause of proximal neuropathy.

Your doctor will diagnose proximal neuropathy by inquiring about your symptoms and conducting tests like nerve conduction studies. If the proximal neuropathy is suspected to be caused by diabetes, your doctor will check your glucose level through a blood test.

Symptoms of proximal neuropathy include:

  • Pain in your thigh, buttock, and hip, which is severe and sudden
  • Loss of reflex response — as a result, your muscles may be so weak that you won’t be able to complete everyday activities
  • Serious foot problems, like ulcers, infections, deformities, and bone and joint damage
  • Unwanted weight loss — this happens when your body starts burning muscles and fat at a quicker pace because it is not receiving signals in time
  • Weakness in the legs

While the specific causes of diabetic neuropathy remain a mystery, multiple factors may give rise to the disorder. Diabetic neuropathy is generally caused by high blood sugar levels experienced over a long period. This leads to chemical changes in nerves and makes it more difficult for the nerves to transmit signals. Other causes are obesity and high triglyceride, smoking, and low “good” HDL cholesterol levels.

You can manage proximal neuropathy pain with the same medication used to treat peripheral neuropathy pain. Similarly, regular exercise can successfully restore nerve function and boost nerve regeneration. Consequently, it would be best if you prioritized these exercises:

  • Low-impact cardiovascular exercises
  • Strength training
  • Balance and stability work
  • Mind-body exercise

3. Autonomic neuropathy

Autonomic neuropathy happens when the nerves that manage involuntary body operations are destroyed. This has a negative impact on sexual function, bladder function, digestion, temperature control, and blood pressure.

Autonomic neuropathy has varying symptoms depending on the type of nerves that are damaged:

Blood pressure and heart rate symptoms

When the nerves that control blood pressure and heart rate are injured, they are unable to respond to changes in breathing patterns, sleep, physical activity, stress, and body position quickly. As a result, your blood pressure may decrease when you stand or sit. Moreover, your heart rate will remain too low or high rather than changing with body exercise and functions.

Digestive symptoms

Damage to the nerves that control the digestive system will result in multiple gastrointestinal symptoms. You may feel constipation that may be accompanied by diarrhea. Other symptoms include difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite, bloating, vomiting, and nausea.

Urinary symptoms

You may not be able to initiate urination or incontinence when you develop autonomic neuropathy. Sensing a full bladder may also become a significant problem. Similarly, you may have difficulties emptying the bladder, which may cause urinary tract infections.

Body temperature symptoms

Autonomic neuropathy can interfere with the body’s ability to detect temperature changes in the atmosphere. This can lead to sweating abnormalities, like sweating too little or too much. Consequently, your ability to regulate body temperature will become ineffective.

Sexual symptoms

Autonomic neuropathy is punctuated by damage to the nerves that control blood flow to the vaginal area and enable smooth muscle relaxation. Therefore, the onset of autonomic neuropathy can lead to multiple sexual difficulties, such as the inability to achieve or maintain an erection in men. Women also experience issues like difficulties reaching orgasm, low libido, and vaginal dryness.

Lung symptoms

Damage to the autonomic nervous system can cause problems with your lungs. The result is shortness of breath that may be accompanied by fainting.

Vision symptoms

Autonomic neuropathy has a negative effect on your eyes’ pupils. The pupils will be unable to adapt quickly to changing light. This may be a problem, especially when you are driving at night or moving into a brightly lit area.

4. Focal neuropathy

Focal neuropathy is a condition in which you experience damage to a single nerve, primarily in your leg, torso, head, or hand. It is less common than other types of neuropathy and manifests in different ways:

Carpal tunnel syndrome

The median nerve is a sensory nerve that offers motor functions to the three middle fingers and the thumb. Compression pressure on the median nerve can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. This condition usually affects the narrow passageway in the palms of the hand.

In most patients, carpal tunnel syndrome will worsen if left untreated for a long period.

Carpal tunnel syndrome’s main symptoms are weakness, tingling, and numbness in your hand. You may also experience shock-like feelings that move into your fingers. These symptoms usually come and go, and they are often more prominent at night.


Mononeuropathy refers to damage to a single nerve that is located near a bone or close to the skin. If the symptoms develop suddenly, it is called acute mononeuropathy. However, if the symptoms develop slowly, it is called chronic mononeuropathy.

Mononeuropathy is generally caused by injury or diseases that affect the entire body. For instance, a prolonged cramped posture, cast, tumor, and any form of compression against a hard surface can induce mononeuropathy.

Mononeuropathy leads to abnormal sensations, such as loss of sensation and pins-and-needles, in the region supplied by the affected nerve. You may also experience numbness, paraesthesia, and a stabbing sensation. Other symptoms of mononeuropathy are loss of coordination and muscle mass in the affected region.

Plexus neuropathy (brachial plexus)

Plexus neuropathy is a condition that involves the damage of nerves in the upper shoulder area. It leads to severe pain in the arms and shoulders and may restrict movement. Plexus neuropathy is also characterized by loss of sensation or extreme pain in the nerves that carry signals from and to the spinal cord and brain.

Plexus neuropathy is common among athletes, especially footballers. Babies can also develop the condition if they are injured during birth.

The main symptoms of plexus neuropathy are weakness, tingling, and numbness in the shoulders and chest. You may also experience unusual sensations and poor muscle control in the region around the shoulders.


Radiculopathy refers to a series of conditions that are caused by the compression of a nerve root in the spinal area. The main symptoms of radiculopathy include pain, weakness, and numbness. You may also experience a loss of sensation, decreased motor skills, and pain associated with neck straining or movement.

Let us help you

At Carolinas Pain Center, we help patients struggling with symptoms of neuropathy. In particular, we focus on unique pain management techniques. You can be sure of a customized holistic approach to treatment and care at our health facility.

Our health experts will diagnose the causes of your pain and recommend the appropriate treatment. We can also implement a lifestyle change plan to help manage your neuropathy pain. Contact us today to book an appointment.