A Guide to Chronic Pain Management

A Guide to Chronic Pain Management

  • chronic pain management

Chronic pain management is crucial. Everyone experiences pain at some point in their lives. Whether it’s a sharp shoot after banging your elbow or the aches of an upset stomach, pain is an unfortunate aspect of existing. When you start to experience chronic pain, life can become unpleasant. 

By definition, chronic pain lasts for 12 weeks or more. It can arise without any history of an injury or operation. If you’re experiencing it, chances are you’re undergoing some significant mental and physical strains. Alongside making an appointment to manage your pain, it’s worth learning more about how you can address it. 

What chronic pain feels like

Everyone’s experience of chronic pain is different, so it isn’t easy to pinpoint exactly what it feels like. However, many describe it as sharp, dull, aching, or burning. You may also notice painful tingles in some areas or an overall unpleasant sensation accompanied by fatigue.

Alongside the physical sensations that come with chronic pain, it’s important to acknowledge the other ways it can make you feel:

  • Persistent tiredness or an inability to complete everyday activities
  • Anxiety and signs of depression
  • Feeling stiff
  • A sensation that your bones and muscles are weak

When you discuss every aspect of your condition with a professional, they’ll form a chronic pain management plan that addresses everything. It may help you to keep a diary of your symptoms so you feel confident discussing them with the people who provide your treatment.

Self-help for managing chronic pain

Chronic pain management can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. However, by routinely engaging in self-help measures, you can gain control of your condition. Doing so alongside seeking help from a professional can be empowering and life-changing.


Exercise plays an important role in chronic pain management. You don’t need to do anything too strenuous. Instead, focus on gentle exercises that boost endorphins and stretch your muscles. Popular forms of exercise include swimming, walking, yoga, and stretching. It may help to speak to a physiotherapist who can recommend specific approaches for your condition. It’s also important to know that doing small amounts of exercise on your bad days is as important as reaching your goals on your good days.

Staying in work

Staying away from work may result in your symptoms worsening. You might also increase your risk of depression if you quit your job. If you’re finding that work is difficult, speak to a medical professional so they can discuss useful occupational adjustments. You may also want to speak to your boss or supervisors so that they have the chance to assist you. If you feel especially fatigued, it may be useful to reduce to part-time hours.

Professional help for chronic pain relief

If you’re seeking professional help for chronic pain, it’s best to take a multidisciplinary approach. Chronic pain can benefit from the attention of doctors, physiotherapists, and counselors. The type of treatment you’ll use may vary according to where you are in your journey and the symptoms you’re experiencing.

Medications for chronic pain

Medications for pain range from everyday off-the-shelf products to specialist targeted therapies. The types you’ll benefit from will vary according to the symptoms you’re experiencing. It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis and prescription from someone who understands chronic pain well. The team caring for you may also want to review your medications from time to time.

Mental health support

Battling with chronic pain can sometimes affect your mental health. For example, you may feel anxious about everyday activities. You might also experience signs of depression. Unfortunately, anxiety and depression can worsen your symptoms. It’s for that reason that seeking counseling is important. With the right techniques, you can bring a sense of balance to your well-being and feel confident in managing your condition.

Chronic pain physiotherapy

Physiotherapy can become one of your most useful tools in managing chronic pain. An experienced physiotherapist can guide you through exercises and give you advice on using them at home. With the right approach, you can improve your function and your movement.

Living with chronic pain

Chronic pain can easily touch every area of your day-to-day life. Fortunately, having the right support in place and emboldening yourself with knowledge can make a big difference. Whether the cause of your pain is unknown or has clear medical roots, our team is ready to support you.

What Happens When You Over Strain a Muscle?

  • muscle strain

A muscle strain can be seriously painful in some cases, while in other instances, the you might be able to manage the pain and you may not even notice that damage has been done. Discover more about what happens when you overstrain a muscle and why you need to treat a strained muscle with care.

Understanding a Muscle Strain

A muscle strain is basically a rupture or a tear of the soft tissue within your skeletal muscles — the organs that provide strength, power, and stability to your musculoskeletal system. This immediately makes a strain different from something like a sprain. A sprain is a rupture of a ligament, i.e. damage to the connective tissue that joins bones with other bones. 

While muscle strains may occur across an array of different areas — from calves and thighs to your biceps and chest — sprains occur almost exclusively in joints. This is because joints, such as the wrists, knees, and ankles, are found at points where two or more bones meet and are held together by ligaments, while the main muscles are found away from the joints.

You can strain a tendon, too, which refers to damage to the connective tissue joining muscles with bones. Ruptures of the Achilles tendon between the foot and knee, or hamstrings between the knee and hip, are common. However, we’re going to be focusing on strains that occur specifically in the muscle.

What Happens If You Over Strain a Muscle?

There are two fundamental ways to overstrain a muscle:

  1. Placing high amounts of stress on the muscle over a long period of time — a chronic strain.
  2. Placing a high amount of stress on the muscle suddenly — an acute strain.

In both of these instances, the same thing is happening. The muscle fibers have to stretch to provide power and support for the musculoskeletal system. In the event of a strain, they are stretched too far, extending beyond their safe capacity and leading to a rupture or tear in the tissue itself. 

An acute strain might occur because the muscle is not properly warmed up ahead of exertion, or if an unexpectedly high load is placed on it. A chronic strain might occur because the frequency or duration of intense activity is increased beyond normal levels, resulting in a small tear that grows more severe over time.

Recognizing a Severe Muscle Strain

Some degree of tearing is normal for muscles. During exercise, muscles often develop tiny ruptures known as micro-tears, resulting in that familiar post-workout soreness. However, a muscle strain generally involves a larger tear and can be debilitating for the sufferer.

Muscle strains are defined by three categories:

  • The mildest form of strain is a first-degree strain. This may cause tenderness or low level pain, which grows worse as the muscle is flexed.
  • The next form of strain is a second-degree strain. You may notice swelling around the muscle or even an indentation where the tear has occurred. You will find it difficult to move the area and use the muscle due to pain.
  • The most severe form of strain is a third-degree strain. It will be almost impossible to move the affected area, and there may be severe levels of pain. In some cases, however, an especially severe strain might result in no pain in the immediate aftermath.

This information is intended to serve as a guide as you recognize the severity of your strain. It’s not a substitute for medical attention or professional advice. If you think you have strained a muscle and the issue is not going away, seek medical evaluation.

Give Muscle Strains the Attention They Deserve

If you have a regular exercise routine or simply a busy life, it’s tempting to ignore a muscle strain. Milder strains may not feel too bad, and you may feel able to keep on exercising and moving about, albeit with a limited range of movement. This is generally a mistake.

A strained muscle needs time to heal. Depending on the severity, it may take anywhere between three weeks and several months to heal completely. Continuing to use your injured muscle means putting more pressure and stress on the strained area — this weakened area is not going to be able to cope, and the strain will worsen.

P.R.I.C.E. is a good acronym to bear in mind while you allow your muscle to heal.

  • Protection — Remove all stress, strain, or impact from the muscle.
  • Rest — Give the muscle time to recuperate.
  • Ice — Reduce swelling by cooling the injured area with ice.
  • Compression — Bandage the muscle and compress to accelerate healing.
  • Elevation — Try to keep the injured muscle above the level of your heart during healing.

Remember, if you have any uncertainties or concerns, consult a medical professional or rehab specialist without delay.

Overcome Muscle Strains Safely and Effectively with Carolinas Pain Center

Here at Carolinas Pain Center, we provide expert treatment and rehabilitation services for anyone suffering from a muscle strain or other similar injury. Reach out today to book your appointment or to chat with a member of our team.

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.

How to Recognize Arthritis Pain

  • arthritis pain

Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints, causing pain and inflammation. It is a common condition, and there are many different types of arthritis. 

If you are experiencing joint pain, it’s important to know how to recognize arthritis pain so that you can get the treatment you need. This article will discuss the different symptoms of arthritis pain and how to treat them.

Symptoms of Arthritis

Let’s go through some of the most common symptoms of arthritis:


The most common symptom of arthritis is also known as arthralgia. It can range from a mild ache to severe pain that limits your ability to move and perform activities of daily living. Arthritis pain is often described as a deep, throbbing, or dull ache. The pain may be worse in the morning or after periods of rest. It can also be aggravated by too much activity or weather changes.


Joint stiffness is another common symptom, especially in the morning. The stiffness may last for several hours and can prevent you from moving your joints through their full range of motion.


In some cases, arthritis can cause deformity in joints. This may result in visible changes, such as knobby fingers (called Heberden’s nodes) or a hunched back (called kyphosis). Arthritis can also cause the nails to become brittle and thin.


Arthritis can cause fatigue, which makes it difficult to do everyday activities. 

Inflammation and Swelling

Arthritis can cause inflammation, which can lead to pain and can be felt as swelling, redness, and warmth in affected joints. Swelling may also be a sign of other conditions, such as infection. If you have swelling in your joints, it’s important to see a doctor so that the cause can be determined.

Types of Arthritis and Their Symptoms

If your symptoms become an issue, your specific situation can be assessed to identify what type of arthritis you have. Below are some of the most common forms of arthritis and their early symptoms:

Early Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that affects the larger joints. The most common symptom of osteoarthritis is pain in the joint, which may be accompanied by stiffness, swelling, and loss of range of motion. In the early stages of osteoarthritis, these symptoms may come and go and may not be very intense. As the disease progresses, however, it can become more constant and more severe. 

Other symptoms of osteoarthritis include warmth and redness in the affected joint, numbness or tingling in the hand or feet, and a feeling of grating or crunching in the joint when moving it. Exercise and losing weight are two recommended ways of lessening the effects of osteoarthritis. Low-impact exercises, along with over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, are some of the best ways to keep osteoarthritis at bay.

Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the joints and surrounding tissues. Early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can include fatigue, joint pain and stiffness, loss of appetite, and low-grade fever. These symptoms may be mild at first and come and go over time. As the disease progresses, the symptoms may become more severe and persistent. Joints may become swollen, red, and warm to the touch.

In advanced cases, joints may be severely damaged, resulting in deformity. Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect other organs in the body, including the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis typically involves a combination of medication and changes in lifestyle. The first medicine that patients are typically given is a DMARD called methotrexate. Patients can also take steroids or corticosteroids to reduce inflammation.

Early Gout Symptoms

Early gout symptoms can be difficult to identify, as they can resemble those of other conditions. However, there are some telltale signs that may indicate the presence of gout. It often attacks the large joint of the big toe.

The most common symptom is intense pain in the joint, which may be accompanied by swelling, redness, and heat. In some cases, people may also experience a tingly sensation or a feeling of pins and needles in the affected area. Other symptoms may include fatigue, fever, and nausea. Gout can be a very painful condition, but with early diagnosis and treatment, patients can be released from a lot of the pain that comes with it. Typical treatments include cold packs, over-the-counter pain relievers, and corticosteroids.

Getting Treatment for Arthritis

If you are experiencing arthritis pain, it’s important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. There are many different treatments available for arthritis, and the sooner you start treatment, the better. Arthritis is a progressive condition, meaning it will only get worse over time. Early diagnosis and treatment can help slow the progression of arthritis and prevent further joint damage, even though it may be hard to notice the symptoms at first.

There are many different types of arthritis, so it’s important to see a doctor who can properly diagnose your condition. Once you have a diagnosis, your doctor will develop a treatment plan that is specific to your needs. Treatment plans for arthritis pain may include medication, physical therapy, exercise, weight loss, joint surgery, or lifestyle changes.


Arthritis is a degenerative disease, and while there are many different kinds of arthritis, the most common are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. Treatment for arthritis depends on the type you have and how severe your case is. There are many treatments available that can help reduce pain and improve mobility, so if you are looking to explore your options for treating arthritis, contact Carolinas Pain Center today!

Bracing and Splinting for Chronic Pain

  • chronic pain management

When you have chronic pain, you want to alleviate the ache as much as you possibly can. Tendinitis, arthritis, or repetitive stress injuries can cause pain, and splinting or bracing can help improve your function, decrease pain levels, and reduce irritation. But, which one is the best support system for your needs? Braces and splints offer different levels of control and support, depending on how long and how you choose to wear them. We’ll outline both below. 

Braces vs. Splints for Chronic Pain Management

One of the first things you have to do is decide if you need a brace or a splint. These are both assistive medical devices that can help alleviate the symptoms of chronic pain, but they work in slightly different ways. While both braces and splints can help with chronic pain, one may work better over the other for your situation. 


A brace is a device that you wear to stop any further agitation in your joint by immobilizing whichever part of your body you wear it on. Braces usually feature a rigid stay or have rigid fabric that helps to treat minor injuries or pain flare-ups. You can use a brace to treat minor sprains or carpal tunnel syndrome. You can choose from different braces, including: 

  • Ankle and foot braces
  • Back support
  • Elbow braces
  • Hand and wrist braces
  • Knee braces
  • Shoulder braces


A splint is something you’ll use to treat more serious conditions or injuries as it acts like an immobilizer. Very similar to a brace, splints have a stiff fabric design to them. However, splints also come with a rigid piece of plastic or metal built in to strengthen them more. Since this gives splints more stability, you’d use them to treat fractures, major sprains or flare-ups, and carpal tunnel syndrome. There are a few types of splints, including: 

  • Ankle stirrup
  • Finger splint
  • Nasal splint
  • Posterior elbow
  • Posterior full leg
  • Posterior lower leg
  • Sugar tong
  • Thumb spica
  • Ulnar gutter
  • Volar wrist splint
  • Wrist or arm splint

How to Use Braces and Splits for Chronic Pain Management

Now that you know the most popular splints and braces available, we’re going to touch on several ways you can use them for your chronic pain management. 

Low Back Pain

You can use soft or rigid braces to help with your low back pain. Soft braces will increase your abdominal core’s pneumatic mechanism, and this gives your back internal rigidity to support your spine. A rigid brace provides external support for your spine and back muscles. They’re useful for helping manage spine conditions that cause low back pain, and you can use them to stabilize the area. 

Muscle Sprains or Strains 

Ankle, knee, elbow, and foot braces are common assistive devices with tendon or ligament sprains or strains. They can provide just enough support to allow you to use it on a limited basis. Additionally, having a brace on your strained or sprained area can help prevent you from overusing it and causing irritation. 

Neck Pain

There are rigid and soft collars that can help treat neck pain. The soft brace works best for whiplash-type injuries, and you usually wear them for two to four weeks. Rigid braces offer dynamic tension that will eventually change your neck on a mechanical level to get you to a thoracic spine orientation. It’s common to wear a neck brace after neck surgery to help keep the cervical spine stable. 

The Carolinas Pain Center Can Help With Chronic Pain Management 

If you have chronic pain, it’s essential that you have a dedicated team on your side to help treat and manage your day-to-day symptoms. We can also help decide if a brace or splint would be more appropriate for your needs. Book an appointment with our team today. 

Tips for Managing Cancer Pain

  • cancer pain

Unfortunately, 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the United States alone. A cancer diagnosis often brings a lot of pain from the illness itself to the patients’ treatments. Fortunately, there are ways to manage cancer pain, though, and this blog post will explore some of the best tips. We hope that these tips will help you manage cancer pain more effectively.

Assess the Pain

The first step in managing cancer pain is a comprehensive assessment of your condition and pain. This evaluation should be conducted by a healthcare professional experienced in treating cancer pain. During the tests, you will be asked about the location, intensity, and duration of your pain. You will also be asked about any other symptoms you may be experiencing. This information will help your healthcare team develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

Manage the Pain

Pain is a common symptom of cancer and can be caused by the tumor itself, the treatment (chemotherapy), or other health problems. Cancer pain can range from mild to severe and interfere with routine daily activities. Fortunately, over the last 30 years, there have been many advancements in treating cancer pain. Below are some options:

Take Pain Medication

Your healthcare team may prescribe pain medications to help you manage your cancer pain. There are various types of pain medication, and your healthcare team will choose the ones that are best for you. However, it is important to take these medications as prescribed and not exceed the recommended dosage.

Try Pharmacologic and Anesthetic Approaches

There are several over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications, and targeted cancer therapies that can be used to reduce cancer pain. In some cases, local anesthetics may also be used to provide relief.

Use Adjuvant Analgesics

Adjuvant analgesics are used to enhance the effect of other pain medications. They may be used when pain cannot be adequately controlled with a single medication. Some common adjuvant analgesics include NSAIDs, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants. Your healthcare team can help you decide if adjuvant analgesics are right for you.

Remove or Reduce the Cancer

If the cause of your pain is cancer itself, then removing or reducing the tumor may be the best approach. This can be done through surgery, radiation therapy, or other treatments. In some cases, chemotherapy can also be used to reduce the size of the tumor.

Go for Palliative Surgery or Radiation Therapy

Palliative radiation therapy is a type of radiation therapy used to relieve cancer pain without killing the cancer cells. Palliative surgery or radiation therapy can be used to relieve pain caused by cancer that cannot be operated on because it has spread to other parts of the body. 

Consider Nerve Blocks

Nerve blocks are injections that can be used to block the nerve impulses that cause acute pain. This can provide relief from pain that is not responding to other treatments. There are several different types of nerve blocks, and your healthcare team will work with you to find the one that is best for you. Some common types of nerve blocks include:

  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Peripheral nerve blocks
  • Nerve root blocks
  • Trigeminal neuralgia injections

Epidural and Intrathecal Pumps Can Be Effective

Epidural and intrathecal pumps can be used to deliver medication directly to the site of the pain. This provides rapid and effective relief from pain. These pumps can be used to provide a variety of medications, including opioids, local anesthetics, and corticosteroids. 

Neurosurgical Approaches

Neurosurgical approaches are associated with the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, etc. Neurosurgeons specialize in treating tumors and other diseases of the brain and spine. When drugs are not providing sufficient relief from pain, nonpharmacologic approaches can be used. For example, doctors can disable the nerves in the spinal cord that bring the pain impulses to the brain.

Psychological Approaches

There are several psychological approaches that patients utilize for cancer pain. They are an important part of effective pain management, as they can provide strategies to patients for relieving their stress and improving their quality of life. These include hypnosis, relaxation techniques, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. 

These approaches can help patients deal with the stress and anxiety that often accompany cancer pain by allowing them to discuss their situation in group settings and improve their knowledge of their condition through cancer education sessions.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

In addition to medication, you may also want to consider complementary and alternative therapies. Several other approaches can be used to manage cancer pain. These include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Hypnosis

Supportive Care Is Important

Finally, cancer patients need to receive supportive care, as it can improve their quality of life and help them manage their symptoms. This is achieved by preventing or treating a disease’s earliest signs and symptoms. Supportive care includes things like regular assisted physical therapy, psychological support, and nutritional counseling. Cancer can be a devastating diagnosis, but there are several effective treatments available, like surgery, chemotherapy, immune therapy, and more.

Do Cancerous Tumors Hurt?

There are many different types of cancer, each with its own unique set of symptoms. Some types of cancer may not cause any pain at all, while others may cause only mild discomfort. But other types of cancer can be very painful.

Cancers that grow quickly or spread to other parts of the body are more likely to cause pain than those that grow slowly or stay localized in one area. Cancerous tumors can press on nerves or other sensitive structures in the body, causing pain. They can also release inflammatory mediators that cause inflammation, which can lead to pain.

What Does It Feel Like to Be on Chemotherapy?

It’s hard to say what it feels like to be on chemotherapy because it varies so much from person to person. Some people feel very sick and tired, while others only have mild side effects.

The main side effect of chemotherapy is fatigue. This can range from feeling a little bit tired all the time to not being able to get out of bed for days at a time. It’s important to listen to your body and rest when you need to. Another common symptom is nausea and vomiting. This can be controlled with medication, but some people still have a lot of trouble keeping food down.

Some other possible side effects include hair loss, mouth sores, and neuropathy (tingling or numbness in the hands and feet). These are all temporary and should go away once treatment is finished.

Dealing with Cancer Pain

Overall, cancer pain can be well managed in the majority of patients. With the right tools and strategies in place, it is possible to keep the pain under control. By following the tips in this article, you can manage your cancer pain and live a more comfortable life. If you are dealing with pain from cancer, there are many ways that you can find some relief. Contact Carolinas Pain Center today for a consultation.

Lifestyle Changes to Relieve Your Chronic Pain

  • chronic pain management

If you suffer from chronic pain, there’s no single method to relieve it. Instead, it’s best to combine multiple tactics as part of a comprehensive chronic pain management plan. Here are eight lifestyle changes you can embrace to relieve pain. Try using them in combination for pain relief. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll also help fight lower life expectancy that is associated with chronic pain.

Improve Your Diet

Eating more cleanly will help your overall health and reduce inflammation in the body that causes or exacerbates pain. What is clean eating? It’s simply consuming food in its most natural state, closest to its origins. For example, instead of eating foods made with refined flour (bread, pasta, cereal, etc.), eat whole grain products. Rather than drinking juice, have an orange or an apple.

One tip you can use when grocery shopping for clean eating is to try to buy most of your products from around the perimeter of the store, where you’ll find perishable foods like eggs, fish, and fresh produce. The less you eat from a bag, box, or can, the better. Try making things like soup or spaghetti sauce from scratch.

Get rid of sugar as much as possible. Sugar is one of the most inflammatory things you can eat. Not only will your joints and muscles appreciate the change, but your skin, digestion, and cardiovascular system will also function better. Avoid artificial sweeteners in lieu of stevia. In recipes, try using naturally sweet elements, like fruits.

The great thing about clean eating is it’s adaptable to whatever kind of diet you eat. You can be a vegan, a pescatarian, or an omnivore and still eat clean. When you start eating clean, you can also typically increase the volume of food you’re eating because you’re eating things like leafy greens and lean proteins. It might surprise you to know that low-calorie diets can contribute to low back pain. When you don’t get enough nutrients, it doesn’t matter if you’re only consuming a small number of calories. Your body doesn’t get the fuel it needs, and pain can be a symptom.

Stay Hydrated

Everyone’s hydration needs are different, so you have to figure out how much water you need to stay fully hydrated. You don’t want to become dehydrated because this saps the natural lubricants in your joints and deprives cells of the fluid they need for optimum function.

Follow these tips to improve your water consumption:

  • Keep a refillable water bottle with you, so you have access to water no matter where you go.
  • Set an alarm on your phone if you tend to forget to drink water.
  • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to consume water – stay ahead of the game.
  • Watch out for alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, which are dehydrating.
  • Look at the color of your urine; it should be a pale yellow, like straw. Anything darker means you’re probably dehydrated.

Lose Excess Weight

Every step you take puts pressure on your lower extremities. If you are overweight, you are adding even more impact to your movement. That can take a toll on your back, hips, legs, and feet.

Losing weight can make a huge difference in how you feel on a day-to-day basis. And the more weight you lose, the easier it becomes to exercise, which also helps with pain management (see “Reduce Stress” below).

If you’re already exercising a lot, but those pounds won’t budge, it may help to consult with a nutritional specialist, like a registered dietician. Also, check with your primary care provider to make sure you don’t have any medical conditions, like hypothyroidism, that could be slowing down your metabolism.

Reduce Stress

Chronic stress can lead to or provoke mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, that actually cause physical pain. When the chemicals in your brain are out of balance, you can experience body aches and fatigue that make other pain worse.

If you’re already dealing with chronic pain, psychologically caused pain can further isolate you and cause feelings of hopelessness. But managing stress can help reverse that. Some ways to reduce stress include:

  • Get plenty of exercise without overdoing it.
  • Spend time in nature, around pets, or with friends and family you enjoy seeing.
  • Join a support group or find a counselor to talk through issues bothering you.
  • Get long-term problems under control (money management, career objectives, etc.)
  • Take up a relaxing hobby, like painting, music, or cooking.
  • Try traditional Eastern therapies, such as tai chi, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, or massage.
  • Learn to say “no” to too much, both at work and at home.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going to avoid classic stressors like rush hour traffic jams.
  • Avoid substance abuse, which seems like an escape but actually makes stress worse.

Quit Smoking

If you thought eating sugar was bad, smoking is a million times more harmful to the body. Quitting smoking will affect virtually every body system in a positive way. You’ll get better blood flow throughout the body, which helps with the circulation of both natural pain relievers and any medications you take. You’ll be able to exercise more and enjoy the foods you eat.

Work on Sleep Hygiene

All the healthy eating and exercise in the world won’t help you if you aren’t sleeping well at night. Sleep hygiene is the medical term for creating an environment that’s conducive to restful slumber, so you wake up refreshed in the morning. Follow these suggestions to improve your sleep hygiene:

  • Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, giving yourself enough time for the sleep you need, whether that’s six hours or nine hours.
  • Don’t bring stress into the bedroom, such as doing work in bed.
  • Develop a relaxing bedtime routine that you practice every evening, like taking a warm bath and having a cup of herbal tea.
  • Get rid of screens about an hour before you intend to go to sleep, or use screen shaders or blue-blocking glasses if you must use an electronic device.
  • Make sure your room isn’t too hot or too cold (slightly cool is good for inducing sleep and has other benefits too). Use layers of blankets to get the comfort you need throughout the night. Wear comfortable pajamas of natural fabrics that breathe well.
  • Keep kids and pets in their own spaces as much as possible.
  • Try using white noise if silence or ambient sounds are disturbing your sleep.

If you try all these tips and feel tired when you arise, you could have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if this is a possibility.

Be Conscious of Your Posture

Your posture when you sit, stand, or move can have a huge influence on your chronic pain. You could be putting stress on your spine and joints by not positioning yourself correctly. Make sure you sit and stand up straight and use proper support and ergonomics, whether you’re at your desk at work or reading in bed.

Use footwear with good arch support, and avoid high heels and shoes with pointed toes. Engage your abdominal muscles for extra help when exercising or lifting objects. If you’re not sure how to do this, a personal trainer or physical therapist can show you how.

See a Qualified Pain Specialist

Chronic pain management can be challenging without a pain specialist to help you. You may not even know what’s causing your pain or where to start with treatment. That’s where Carolinas Pain Center can assist you.

We are a group of providers who are pain specialists in North Carolina. We can help you get relief and learn how to manage pain so you don’t feel overwhelmed by it and can get back to loving life. You don’t have to accept the chronic pain you’re experiencing now when there are many options available to you. Start with the tips above, and reach out to Carolinas Pain Center today to learn how you can do more.

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