Common Causes of Shoulder Pain Without Injury

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain Without Injury

Shoulder pain can come from a traumatic injury while playing sports or as the result of an auto accident. However, many people can experience shoulder pain without trauma. This discomfort can be due to conditions like arthritis or bursitis, or it could be “referred” pain, which comes from an injury in another part of the body.

Shoulder pain without injury can cause discomfort, such as swelling and stiffness. It may also limit movement and make it difficult to perform everyday actions, such as carrying a grocery bag or picking up your child.

Here is an in-depth look at what can cause shoulder pain without injury and possible treatment options.

What Are The Reasons For Shoulder Pain Without Injury?

While shoulder pain without injury can sometimes come from damage to another part of the body (referred shoulder pain), it is usually caused by a specific condition. Here is what can cause shoulder pain without injury.

Arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joint. It can occur in any part of the body, including the shoulder joint. Shoulder pain without injury can be a symptom of osteoarthritis. This chronic condition involves the wearing out of the cartilage between the shoulder joint, causing the bones to grind together. Shoulder pain can also be a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks the joint lining.

Frozen Shoulder

Shoulder pain without injury can also be a symptom of a frozen shoulder. The medical term for this condition is adhesive capsulitis. A frozen shoulder occurs as a result of the thickening of the protective tissues that line the joint—the thickening results in pain, especially during any shoulder movements.

Rotator Cuff Tears

Rotator cuff tears can occur gradually due to overuse or repetitive motions. It can cause pain during movement and limit the motion of the shoulder joint.

Spine or Disc Issues

You can also experience referred shoulder pain without injury as a result of spinal or intervertebral disc issues. For instance, pain from a herniated disc in your neck or upper back can radiate into your shoulders and upper arm.

shoulder pain

When Should I Worry About Shoulder Pain?

In most instances, sudden shoulder pain without injury treatments can effectively relieve pain and restore the full range of motion. In some cases, however, the pain can be a sign of something more serious, such as cancer, heart problems, or systemic infections.

More severe problems are usually accompanied by additional symptoms. If you experience any of these additional problems, you should quickly seek medical care.

  • Fever along with shoulder pain
  • Complete inability to lift your shoulder
  • Heat and tenderness around the joint
  • Persistent shoulder joint swelling that doesn’t resolve with common home treatments
  • Persistent shoulder pain that doesn’t improve after treatment

Can Shoulder Pain be Related to Heart Problems?

Shoulder pain can also be related to heart problems, such as a heart attack or reduced blood flow to the heart. Individuals with symptoms that put them at increased risk for heart diseases, such as high blood pressure, also tend to experience musculoskeletal disorders, such as joint pain and rotator cuff problems. Also, sudden and sharp shoulder pain that is not connected to any injury may be an indication of a heart attack.

shoulder

What Does Shoulder Bursitis Feel Like?

Shoulder pain without injury is commonly caused by bursitis. A bursa is a cushioning pad between bones and soft tissues such as tendons and ligaments in joints. While you have bursae all over your body, shoulder bursitis is the most common type of bursitis. It occurs when excess fluid builds up in a bursa. Individuals with shoulder bursitis may experience sharp pain, dull ache, or mild tenderness.

Shoulder bursitis can be diagnosed using an x-ray, MRI, or ultrasound. Treatment includes surgical and non-surgical methods and home remedies. Surgeries remove the affected tissue, while antibiotics, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory injections can also help. Home treatments can include pain relievers, ice packs, and stretching.

 

Does Stress Cause Shoulder Pain?

While physical stress and repetitive aggravation of your shoulder joints and muscles will, without a doubt, cause shoulder pain, emotional stress can also lead to shoulder pains. Prolonged and increasing levels of stress, tension, and anxiety can cause inflammation throughout your body. This can cause both joint and muscle tightness.

The good news is that if your shoulder pain is caused by stress and anxiety, you can significantly relieve the discomfort by utilizing proven tools and techniques for handling stress. These treatments can include meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, yoga, and exercise.

What Are Common Range of Motion Problems for the Shoulder?

In addition to a frozen shoulder and a rotator cuff tear, a wide range of other conditions can cause shoulder movement problems and make it difficult to move your arm above your shoulder.

Here are some other issues that can limit the range of motion in your shoulder.

  • Wearing a sling or other device that limits shoulder movement for a prolonged period
  • Having a thyroid condition
  • Having a cardiovascular disease or a heart attack
  • Having diabetes
  • Suffering a stroke
  • Experiencing different forms of arthritis

If you experience sudden shoulder pain without injury and symptoms include a racing heart or other cardiovascular emergency signs, you should seek medical treatment immediately.

You Can Get Treatment for Your Sudden Shoulder Pain Without Injury at Carolinas Pain Center

There are a variety of reasons you may experience shoulder pain without injury. Luckily, most common issues are treatable once you define the problem. At Carolinas Pain Center, we can assess shoulder pain, find the root causes, and offer shoulder pain treatment options.

You do not have to deal with the discomfort and limited motion caused by shoulder pain without injury. If you are experiencing chronic issues that do not resolve with common home treatments like over-the-counter pain relievers and ice packs, you should make an appointment with Carolinas Pain Center to get answers and treatment options for your shoulder issues.

What Not to Do with a Migraine

  • Headache and Migraine Pain

Migraines can strike at the worst times and can be debilitating. Once they start, extreme sufferers can expect to be out of commission for hours, even days. For those prone to migraine headaches, it is important to know what not to do in the throes of a migraine and between migraines. These are the dos and don’ts for chronic migraines.

How Do You Know If You Have a Migraine?

Most migraine sufferers report an intense, throbbing pain that worsens with movements, lights, sounds, smells, and other triggers. For some people, there are symptoms that arise before the actual headache. There are four stages of a migraine.

Phase 1: The Prodome

The prodome isn’t experienced by everyone. It’s kind of a “premonitory” or “pre-headache” stage. During the prodome, one can find it hard to concentrate, speak, read, or sleep. They can feel irritable, anxious, or even depressed without explanation. Nausea and muscle stiffness can also occur. People may feel sensitive to lights, sounds, and smells.

Phase 2: The Aura

Not everyone is aware of or feels an aura, period. It happens quickly — between five minutes and an hour. The aura stage may overlap with the actual headache for some migraine sufferers. During the aura phase of a migraine, people may experience visual disturbances or even temporarily lose sight. There is numbness, tingling, or weakness in one side of the head or body. Speech may even be affected.

Phase 3: The Headache

A migraine headache typically brings a strong, throbbing pain in the head (that may move from one side of the head to the other), neck pain, stiffness, nausea, vomiting, and/or nasal congestion. Symptoms of anxiety and depression are also common. Migraine sufferers can expect this phase to last from four hours to three days.

Phase 4: The Postdrome

This last stage is akin to a hangover that may linger for one to two days. It can be difficult to concentrate or comprehend things, and many people feel fatigued and somewhat depressed — although some even experience a sort of euphoria when the pain is over.

Migraine coming on

 

What Can Worsen a Migraine?

Not everyone experiences a migraine the same way, and what triggers or exacerbates one person’s pain may have no effect on someone else. However, there are a few things that tend to worsen migraines.

 

 

Unhealthy Habits

It’s essential to eat and sleep properly in any event, but for people who get migraines, these habits may have tangible effects on migraine frequency, duration, and level of pain. Consuming lots of alcohol, caffeine, and even foods like sweets, artificial sweeteners, and heavily salted foods (such as cured meats) can also have a negative effect on someone’s migraines. Oversleeping or not sleeping enough, dehydration, and low glucose levels can also exacerbate migraine symptoms — as can stress.

Over-Medication for Pain

Just because a medicine is available over the counter doesn’t mean it should be taken regularly. In fact, taking things like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin for more than a couple of days in a row may result in medication overuse headaches (MOH) — sometimes referred to as “rebound headaches.” People who take opioid medications for long periods of time can also experience a heightened pain response called opioid-induced hyperalgesia.

Certain Medications

More clinical studies are needed to confirm the correlation between migraines and these medications, but for some people, migraines are triggered or made worsened by:

  • SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) Antidepressants
  • Nasal Decongestants and Steroids — for chronic allergies
  • Oral Contraceptives or Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors) — for acid reflux, such as Nexium

Someone who is on one or more of these medications and finds that their migraines have gotten more intense should speak to their doctor.

What Should You Not Do with Migraines?

It’s important for migraine sufferers to identify their particular triggers, and this list may be a good start.

  • Do not mess with your sleep schedule. Aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
  • Do not skip meals, and do not eat lots of junk food. A sudden drop in blood sugar can trigger a migraine. Regular indulgence in high sodium, MSG, artificial ingredients, heavily processed foods, and high quantities of sugar may make you more prone to migraines.
  • Do not let yourself get dehydrated. Dehydration is a common trigger for headaches and can exacerbate a migraine.
  • Do not take pain medication for more than 3 or 4 days in a row. Developing the body’s resistance and expectation of medication can bring on a headache and affect the efficacy and effectiveness of the medicine.
  • Do not try to “motor through” a migraine. Ignoring the pain will not make it go away — in fact, it may make the pain worse and the duration of the migraine longer. 

What not to do with a migraine

What Should I Do While Having a Migraine?

At the first sign of the onset of a migraine, you should:

  • Take a time-out. Stress only makes things worse, and migraines usually come with sensitivity to stimuli. Find somewhere quiet, dark, and peaceful to rest. 
  • Drink some water. Staying hydrated — and getting hydrated if you have become dehydrated — goes a long way to fending off migraines. If you think you need to replenish your electrolytes, get a sports drink, preferably a low-sugar option.
  • Apply something cold or hot to your head. Some people feel some relief with an ice pack, while others find that heat works better for them. Use whatever works in your experience, whether it’s a bag of frozen peas, a steamy shower, or a heating pad for your head, neck, and shoulders.
  • Take your pain medicine as recommended or prescribed by your doctor. This should be done at the first instance, not when your migraine has progressed — and it will — to the point of no return. The earlier you work to stave off the migraine, the higher likelihood of success and the more effective the treatment will be. 

 

A comprehensive migraine treatment regimen may be highly personalized. The more you are aware of your triggers and what remedies work for you, the better off you are. Find out more about headache pain or make an appointment with us at Carolinas Pain Center. Get your migraine pain under control.

When to Worry About a Headache: Dangerous Headaches

  • when to worry about a headache

Do you know when to worry about a headache?

Headaches are not usually a cause for concern. The average headache comes with a manageable level of pain and is typically triggered by something like work stress, poor posture, flashing lights, strong smells, and loud sounds. Unfortunately, headaches can also be a symptom of a more serious medical condition like a tumor, stroke, aneurysm, or meningitis.

So, how can you distinguish dangerous headaches from harmless ones? If you don’t know when to worry about a headache, we encourage you to read through our detailed guide below. This information should help you decide whether or not to seek medical assistance for your head pain. 

When Is a Headache Dangerous?

To determine whether or not a headache is dangerous, it’s essential to understand the different types of headaches. Headache pain can be dull, sharp, throbbing, brief, or long-lasting. The pain can occur anywhere in the face or head, depending on the type of headache you’re experiencing. If you’re not familiar, the most common types of headaches include:

  • Cluster
  • Tension
  • Sinus
  • Neck
  • Migraine
  • TMJ

You can distinguish these headaches by where they tend to cause pain. Cluster headaches, for example, cause pain around the eyes, whereas tension headaches usually occur in the forehead area. Cluster headaches and tension headaches are good examples of head pain that doesn’t usually require urgent care. 

Any headache can technically be dangerous, provided it’s a symptom of a serious medical condition like a tumor, stroke, or aneurysm. The best example of this would be what’s called a thunderclap headache. This headache strikes seemingly out of nowhere and causes severe pain. They’re typically a sign of bleeding in and around the brain, so sufferers should seek medical attention immediately.

when to worry about a headache

 

 

Warning Signs of Dangerous Headaches: When to Worry About a Headache

Head pain can be dangerous without striking suddenly and severely like a thunderclap headache. Sometimes a dangerous headache will create a dull and tolerable ache rather than an electric-shock type of pain. That’s why pain severity should be just one of many metrics used to determine whether or not your headache requires medical attention. 

 

 

If you identify with any of the points listed below, you should seek medical help as soon as possible. These are a few of the key warning signs of dangerous headaches. 

  • Your headache has persisted for longer than 72 hours without a period of at least 4 hours pain-free.
  • Over-the-counter pain medications and at-home remedies are continuously ineffective.
  • The pain is the worst you’ve ever experienced from a headache. 
  • Your headache returns to the same spot over and over again.
  • You also have symptoms like vision loss, uncontrollable vomiting, fever, and slurred speech.

Headaches can be harmless, but you should take them very seriously if you begin to experience any of the issues described above. Getting yourself help from a medical professional in a timely manner could save your life. 

If you have any other questions about how headaches can be dangerous, how to manage head pain, or anything else, we encourage you to read through our informative FAQ below. 

FAQs Regarding When to Worry About a Headache

How long is too long for a headache?

Headaches usually go away within 4 hours, but it’s not uncommon for the head pain to persist for longer. If your headache persists for longer than 72 hours, however, you should seek immediate medical attention. This is one of a few signs that your head pain may be the result of a serious medical issue. 

Which type of headache is considered a medical emergency?

Your headache may be a medical emergency if it lasts longer than 72 hours, is the worst headache you’ve ever experienced, or comes with symptoms like uncontrollable vomiting or vision loss. Thunderclap headaches should also be treated as medical emergencies, along with headaches that are accompanied by a fever, slurred speech, or numbness. 

Is it OK to go to sleep with a headache?

Sleeping with a headache is not dangerous in itself. That said, you should take steps to ease your head pain before going to bed, as an untreated headache may worsen overnight. You also shouldn’t use sleep as a replacement for seeking medical attention if your symptoms are severe and resistant to at-home treatment.

It’s also worth noting that not getting enough sleep and getting too much sleep can trigger migraines. If you’re someone that suffers from regular headaches or migraines, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule of 7 or 8 hours a night might help you keep them at bay. 

What do I do if my headache won’t go away?

If your headache persists for longer than 72 hours, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. The same is true for headaches that come and go but continuously occur in the same spot. 

What does it mean if your headache won’t go away?

Headaches that don’t go away may indicate a more serious medical condition, such as a tumor, aneurysm, meningitis, and more. You may also suffer from chronic migraines, which have a variety of causes. If there isn’t an underlying condition to treat, you may need to see a pain specialist that can assist with headache pain management. 

When should I go to the hospital for a headache?

You should seek medical attention immediately if you experience extreme pain, pain of any severity that persists for longer than 72 hours, or side effects like fever, dizziness, vomiting, and slurred speech. 

What happens to the brain when you have a headache?

When you have a headache, the muscles or blood vessels around your head and neck may tighten or swell. These changes can put pressure on or stimulate the surrounding nerves, which then send pain signals to the brain. 

There’s also a theory concerning migraines that involves brain cells triggering chemicals like serotonin, which can narrow your blood cells. Your blood vessels may also contract and cause throbbing pain when your estrogen levels rise and fall. As you can see, there are still a lot of unknowns surrounding headaches and how they occur. 

see a doctor to know when to worry about a headache

How to Get Rid of Headaches Fast

Thankfully, not all headaches require a trip to the emergency room. You can treat most minor headaches from the comfort of your own home. Some of the most common remedies for easing head pain symptoms include:

  • Applying a cold pack or heating pad
  • Drinking plenty of water 
  • Easing any pressure on your scalp or head
  • Relaxing and destressing
  • Dimming the lights in your home
  • Taking over-the-counter pain medication

 

If these remedies aren’t effective or you’d like a more permanent solution for chronic headaches, the pain specialists at Carolinas Pain Center can help you. We can provide insight on when to worry about a headache and offer a wide range of treatments to eliminate your head pain or to help you manage it better. This includes trigger point injections, massage therapy, acupuncture, botox, biofeedback, prolotherapy, and more. 

We may also prescribe preventative or abortive medications, such as anti-depressants, anti-seizures, triptans, and anti-inflammatories. The treatment and medication you receive will vary based on the cause and severity of your headaches, which we take into account when preparing a personal treatment plan for you.

Don’t Tolerate Painful Headaches

Why suffer through chronic headaches when you could find relief at the Carolinas Pain Center? Our dedicated team of pain specialists has the skill and equipment necessary to assess your condition and offer a diverse selection of treatments. We take an individualized and multidisciplinary approach to our care by developing a personalized treatment plan just for you. Our methods have relieved the pain and improved the quality of life of countless patients throughout North Carolina. 

If you experience regular headaches and would like us to create a treatment plan for you, we encourage you to get in touch with our team. To contact us, please call 704-500-2332 or make an appointment using our online form. 

Bursitis vs. Arthritis: What Is the Difference Between Arthritis and Bursitis?

  • arthritis vs bursitis knee pain

Arthritis vs bursitis: both common health issues that cause joint pain. The pain can be debilitating, and resulting issues like stiffness can limit motion and make it impossible to engage in certain activities.

The symptoms of arthritis vs. bursitis can overlap, but there is one thing that both conditions have in common: they affect millions of people. Fifty-eight million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis, and 8.7 million have bursitis.

What are the differences between arthritis and bursitis? Here is a closer look at these two common conditions.

The Causes and Common Types of Bursitis

The body has more than 100 bursae, which are fluid-filled sacs that provide a cushion between bones, tendons, and joints. Bursae are located throughout your body, and bursitis is when these fluid compartments become inflamed.

There are different types of bursitis, and most occur around the joints, such as the knee, elbow, hips, ankles, and shoulders. Bursa near the Achilles tendon can also become inflamed.

Older people who suffer from increased inflammation can get bursitis, as can people of any age who have certain conditions, such as diabetes, gout, or thyroid issues. Some workers or athletes who perform repetitive motions day after day may also develop bursitis.

Can you have bursitis and arthritis at the same time? It is possible; arthritis can cause bursitis in some individuals.

How do I Know if I Have Bursitis or Arthritis in my Knee?

Understanding bursitis vs. arthritis comparisons is important because bursitis is usually a temporary condition, while arthritis is chronic and leads to joint damage. There are a few ways to distinguish between the two conditions.

  • Time of day of worst pain — Bursitis pain is typically worst at night, while arthritis is most intense in the mornings.
  • Treatment — Bursitis will respond to treatments like pain relievers, ice packs, and anti-inflammatory medications, while arthritis will not respond to these measures.
  • Symptoms — With proper treatment, bursitis should disappear within a few weeks, while arthritis will continue to bother you for the long term. It is possible to have chronic bursitis, but the symptoms will still abate with treatment and won’t return until an activity or illness triggers the inflammation again.

Can bursitis be mistaken for arthritis? Some of the symptoms overlap. Both can cause stiffness and pain that worsens with activity. Overuse and traumatic injury can cause or exacerbate both conditions, which can make it difficult to tell the difference. However, a medical professional like those at Carolinas Pain Center can help you decide if you have bursitis or arthritis.

bursitis knee pain

Tendonitis is another common condition that can be mistaken for arthritis. It is an inflammation of joint tendons, which are next to the bursae. Stiffness and pain are symptoms of both conditions, and both are temporary. A physician can help you figure out whether you have bursitis or tendonitis. In both cases, rest and at-home treatments can yield results.

Bursitis vs Arthritis: Which is More Painful?

Acute bursitis and chronic arthritis pain can both be intense. Both can be uncomfortable enough to cause you to avoid certain activities.

The main difference is the duration of the pain. Bursitis pain lessens with treatment, while arthritis pain is chronic, so it will continue. People with arthritis manage their pain rather than try to cure it.

Is it OK to Walk with Knee Bursitis?

High-impact activities will not cause damage to your bones or joint if you have bursitis. However, these activities can cause pain. In fact, if you have knee bursitis, you may notice pain and stiffness from simply walking. In addition to causing discomfort, walking or exercising can lengthen the amount of time it takes to recover from bursitis. 

Most physicians will tell you to rest as much as possible and limit movement as you recover from bursitis. However, you typically do need to totally immobilize your joints, so you can walk at work or around your home.

Is Bursitis Pain Constant?

Bursitis pain flares up with movement, though you may feel some symptoms, such as swelling or warmth in the bursa, constantly without treatment. These symptoms may be most evident if your bursitis is caused by an infection.

Bursitis pain will often lessen when you remain immobile. However, some types of bursitis, such as in the hip or shoulder, can hurt if you put pressure on the affected area when sitting or lying down.

You should keep in mind that one of the most common differences between bursitis and arthritis in knee, shoulder, and hip joints is that the pain from bursitis is more temporary and will negate with treatment.

What Causes Bursitis to Flare Up?

It is possible to have acute or chronic bursitis. Flare-ups can occur when you perform high-impact activities or make repetitive motions. People with chronic bursitis often have other conditions that cause inflammation in the body. For example, gout, diabetes, and arthritis can lead to chronic bursitis. Even in these cases, the symptoms should disappear with rest and proper treatment.

arthritis vs bursitis knee pain

Make an Appointment with Carolinas Pain Center to get Joint Pain Relief

A medical professional can further explain the difference between bursitis and arthritis in the knee and other joints. It is important to find a healthcare team experienced in treating both these conditions.

At Carolinas Pain Center, we understand the debilitating nature of arthritis pain and chronic conditions like bursitis. We can diagnose the issue and provide joint and knee pain treatment options to help you regain the level of comfort and range of joint motion necessary to do the activities that you love and handle daily tasks without pain.

Whether you are suffering from bursitis or arthritis, or another type of joint condition, you do not have to live with life-limiting pain. The first step in overcoming these joint conditions is to make an appointment with Carolinas Pain Center. We can offer you the treatment options to give you the best possible outcome and help you manage your pain and focus on living an active life.

Exercise for Pain Management: The Benefits of a Warm-Up

There are many benefits of warming up before a workout. Did you know that you can use warm-ups and exercise for pain management

Medical experts and even lay people have known for a long time that exercise can help you feel better, have more energy, and live longer. Exercise also controls weight, combats health conditions and diseases, improves mood, promotes quality sleep, increases confidence, and much more. And because regular physical activity has been shown to effectively reduce pain, particularly chronic pain in adults, it is a common pain treatment.

There are many different exercises that aid in managing pain. These include cardiovascular or aerobic exercises such as walking, cycling, jogging, running, and swimming. Using strength/resistance exercises involving elastic bands, free weights, and body-weight resistance can relieve pain, too, as can stretching and warm-up exercises. 

Warming up is really important, as a matter of fact. There are many benefits of warm-up, regardless of the type of exercise you plan to do.

How Do Warm Ups Benefit and Help with Pain Management?

Exercising can relieve and prevent pain in a number of ways. Cardiovascular exercise, for example, is an excellent way to burn fat and lose weight, provided you maintain a healthy diet and consume fewer calories than you burn. The weight loss that results from the cardio can significantly reduce pressure on joints — especially lower body joints — relieving swelling, irritation, and pain, lowering the risk of injury, and slowing down degeneration. In one study, researchers found that losing just 10 pounds of fat could decrease knee osteoarthritis progression by 50 percent.

Resistance exercise can improve pain and chronic pain symptoms by adding muscles that support bone and cartilage. More muscle often translates to better pain management due to less bone-on-bone contact and inflammation. There may also be less stiffness, and added strength and endurance make physical injuries from falls and accidents (common in older adults) a lot less likely.

Usually, strength training and cardio exercise alone will not eliminate chronic pain from joint diseases like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. However, exercise can serve as an effective complementary treatment.

What are the Benefits of Warm Up Exercises?

Warming up before aerobic and resistance exercises is beneficial because it prepares you for the strenuous activities ahead — not only physically but also psychologically. Rather than shocking the body, it gets your muscles ready at a gradual pace for exercises you are going to perform, increasing blood flow and oxygen to muscle cells. This makes it possible for you to perform at a higher level and minimize injuries while reaping the other benefits of warm-up.

Exercises for warming up raise body temperature, elevate heart rate, and loosen up muscles. With a higher body temperature, electrical signals are able to travel more rapidly along nerve fibers, increasing muscular contraction speed and force and making muscle tissue more pliable. Organs and systems in your body can adapt safely to a gradual increase in heart rate, whereas the opposite is true if you start exercising without warming up appropriately.

Does warming up prevent injury? It sure helps. Does warming up improve performance? For most individuals, yes, it does. Moreover, warm-up exercises improve neural function and coordination, and joints are protected as articular cartilage thickens with the natural accumulation of synovial fluid, a thick liquid located between the joints.

The benefits of warm-up exercises include:

  • Improved movement and flexibility and pain management from less muscle tension
  • Lower risk of physical injuries with muscles relaxed
  • Better range of motion, enabling more complete movement of the joints
  • Higher energy levels from hormone production
  • Enhanced exercise performance due to increased flow of blood and oxygen

What Are Examples of Warm Up Exercises?

Just as there are a lot of beneficial exercises that can improve your overall health and reduce pain, there are many warm-up routines that can help you get better results from physical training. In fact, a warm-up, ideally, will simply be a lighter version of the exercise you plan to do, where you perform it but at a slower pace and lower intensity. According to Harvard Health, warm-ups should last between 5 and 10 minutes, working all major muscle groups.

For a warm-up to successfully warm you up, it is necessary to engage the entire body, incorporating compound and low-impact movements. The best way to go about warming up for a cardio or strength training exercise that can assist with pain management is to begin slowly and then steadily increase intensity. Exert to the point of perspiration but not exhaustion. After all, you want to be able to get to and complete your planned exercise workout safely.

Walking, jogging, side lunges, planks, jumping jacks, squats, and push-ups are all examples of exercises that can deliver the benefits of warm-up sessions. Pre-workout and post-workout stretching is great as well, particularly when combined with exercise. The physical activity, though, should be suited to your age, health, and fitness level.

What Happens If You Don’t Warm Up Before Exercising?

Individuals who don’t warm up before exercise forgo a plethora of potential health benefits, with one being pain relief. For people living with chronic pain, relief can be life-changing. You increase your risk of musculoskeletal injuries that could cause or exacerbate pain when you skip warm-up exercise. In addition, you place yourself at risk for cardiovascular problems, as exercising strenuously without preparing your body strains the heart and the lungs.

Benefits of Warming Up for Pain Management

There are plenty of health benefits associated with adding warm-up exercises and stretches to an exercise routine. One just needs to go about it the right way. A medical professional can help you determine which exercises and warm-ups are most beneficial for you. If you happen to be a chronic pain sufferer, a pain specialist doctor can work with you to formulate a healthcare management plan for pain that will improve your quality of life.

At Carolinas Pain Center, we have a team of highly trained pain specialists who are well-versed in pain management and pain treatment. Over the years, we have treated thousands of patients with diverse and complex pain conditions.

Struggling with chronic pain? We can help. Set an appointment here and a friendly coordinator will contact you.

Healthy Habits To Manage Joint Pain

Joint pain is relatively common. Joints provide a cushion between your bones and allow you to move, bend, and perform other necessary motions. You can get stiffness or pain from an injury, an illness, or overuse. Chronic joint pain (discomfort that continues for more than three months) can come from arthritis or other stiffness-causing conditions.

Pain can affect any joint in your body, but it is most common in specific areas.

  • Shoulder pain can come from arthritis, inflammation, or an injury, such as a dislocated shoulder.
  • Knee pain can be due to an injury or overuse, though some chronic conditions, such as tendonitis, bursitis, and gout, can also create discomfort.
  • Neck pain can be caused by degenerative conditions, herniated spinal discs, or osteoporosis. Arthritis in the neck can be particularly painful and debilitating.
  • Hand and wrist pain is typically a result of arthritis, though nerve disorders can also cause issues.

Regardless of the location of your acute or chronic discomfort, you can adopt healthy habits to manage joint pain. These lifestyle changes can also help protect you from developing certain chronic joint conditions and strengthen your tendons to help you avoid injury and relieve pain.

Diet changes

Food, beverages, and supplements can affect your health in general and your ability to manage joint pain in particular. For example, a diet rich in whole foods can limit inflammation and help you lose weight, which will reduce pressure on your joints.

  • Eat more fish. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation caused by arthritis or acute joint injuries. Salmon, sardines, and mackerel are particularly good choices for this beneficial type of fat.
  • Add more servings of colorful vegetables and leafy greens. These two types of food are rich in antioxidants, which can speed healing after an injury or illness.
  • Replace sugary foods with fruits and berries. Colorful berries, such as strawberries and blueberries, have a particularly dense concentration of antioxidants. Meanwhile, citrus fruits, like oranges, tangerines, and grapefruits, have a lot of vitamin C, which is necessary for maintaining healthy joints and fighting infections and viruses that can cause temporary stiffness, weakness, and joint pain.
  • Drink more water. Water is necessary for proper immune function and digestion. It can also help ensure that your joints are properly lubricated. At the same time, you should limit sugary beverages, which can cause weight gain and lead to inflammation that can exacerbate arthritis.

 

Other foods, such as whole grains, nuts, and seeds, can also help reduce inflammation and provide low-fat energy that can aid weight loss. By reducing the weight on your joints, these diet changes can help you relieve joint pain.

Fitness and lifestyle changes

Exercise and stretching can help improve joint function and reduce pain, but you also need to follow a proper recovery schedule after working out. Here are some tips.

  • Consider yoga. Gentle yoga poses can improve flexibility. They can also improve strength, balance, and posture, which can relieve pressure on your joints, reducing inflammation.
  • Move regularly. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to stiffer joints and more pain. Any movement can be helpful. Walking or riding a bicycle every day can be beneficial, as can working in a garden or yard, cleaning around the house, or even dancing.
  • Get enough sleep. Your body needs regular sleep to recharge, and proper sleep patterns can reduce inflammation. Studies have shown that arthritis sufferers who do not sleep well experience more pain than those who get a good night’s rest.
  • Save time for recovery. Movement is important, but you should know your limits. Gradually increasing your level of exercise is more beneficial for long-term stiffness relief and pain reduction than hard workouts that leave you sore for the next week. If you begin slowly, you will be able to continue the daily movement, which will reduce stiffness and help flexibility.

 

Get help for your joint pain

Carolinas Pain Center can diagnose and offer support to help you manage conditions like arthritis and recover from acute joint pain. Through examinations and diagnostic tests using ultrasounds and fluoroscopy imaging, our physicians can find the source of your pain and offer a treatment plan. We can also recommend healthy habits for joint pain to help you recover quickly or limit chronic discomfort.

You don’t have to continue suffering from joint pain. Contact Carolinas Pain Center today to schedule an appointment.

Why Do You Feel Joint Pain When the Weather Changes?

  • joint pain

When it’s getting close to that time of year — when rain or snow begins to fall and the temperature drops — you start to dread the aches and pains that always seem to come with the cold. And so, you ask: Why do my bones ache when it rains? Why does bad weather affect joints?

If you’re someone who suffers from arthritis or joint pain, or if you sustained injuries through the years from playing sports, you’re right to be concerned. Certain types of pain seem to come back when the weather changes, even after the tissue has healed — like that ankle sprain or knee injury you had some time ago.

So, if weather-related or seasonal pain afflicts you, this post is for you.

How weather affects joint pain

Weather affects joint pain in a variety of different ways. Joints are affected by barometric or air pressure. However, humidity and temperature also play a role. This makes it difficult for scientists to define what exactly causes some people to experience more pain when it’s cold, wet, or humid.

Over the years, scientists have conducted various research on the connection between joint pain and the weather, but no one has been able to definitively establish a link. 

Even so, there are a few theories about the connection. One possibility is that patients suffering from joint pain, particularly arthritis, are more sensitive to variations in barometric pressure. How? It’s possible that when the cartilage that cushions the bones inside a joint has worn away, the nerves in the exposed bones detect changes in pressure.

Another thing you might have noticed is that when the temperature drops, your ligaments and tendons tighten. People with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis will feel instant discomfort with such temperature changes.

Then there’s also the resulting change in blood pressure, which can make the pain worse. Too much blood going to an arthritic section of your body might cause sudden pain as you adjust to temperature fluctuations, whereas inadequate blood flow can result in a dull ache that lasts longer.

The problem isn’t just with the bones and ligaments.

When the temperature changes, a previously injured muscle may ache. Soft tissue (muscle) expands and contracts with the weather, just like blood vessels. Muscles naturally expand and contract daily. When you raise your foot, your calf contracts, and when you sit down, your thighs expand. The expansion and contraction produced by changes in weather, on the other hand, might irritate the nerves. Under normal conditions, this is fine, but areas of previous injury may be sensitive.

Ways to ease weather-related joint pain

You can treat joint discomfort due to weather changes in a variety of ways at home.

  • Keep yourself warm when it gets colder. You can take warm showers or baths, dress in layers throughout the day, use an electric blanket at night, or turn up the heat in your home.
  • Take a paraffin bath. For this, you’ll need to use a little paraffin wax melting machine. Dip your hands and feet in the wax, then wait for it to set on your skin. The heat absorbed by your body may help to relieve aching joints. Another option is to use a heating pad, especially for sensitive or sore spots.
  • Take pain medication. Ask your doctor whether you can take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory meds (NSAIDs).
  • Stay active and maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts stress on the body, including your joints. If you’re not exercising, start with yoga or swimming, as these are gentle on the joints. With regular exercise, you can develop muscle and bone strength. If you plan to exercise outside, warm up with some simple stretches first.

Get help at Carolinas Pain Center

Although the link between joint pain and weather changes is not yet fully understood, it appears that changes in temperature, humidity, and air pressure could worsen conditions like arthritis and joint pain. Fortunately, there are home remedies you can try to alleviate the aches and pains you’re feeling. 

However, if your pain persists or none of the suggested treatments work, it’s advisable to set up an appointment with a pain specialist at Carolinas Pain Center.

Get in touch today!

Signs You May Be Suffering from Nerve Pain

  • nerve pain

Nerve pain can be extremely uncomfortable and frustrating. It can materialize as stabbing pain, dull aches, numbness or tingling, weakness, or uncontrolled bodily functions. 

Nerve pain, also known as neuropathy, can be difficult to diagnose because the discomfort can appear in one place or you could experience nerve pain throughout the body. Also, the symptoms can be easy to confuse with general soreness, tiredness, or another common illness. At the same time, nerve pain can become chronic (lasting for more than three months) and cause enough discomfort that you cannot perform common daily tasks.

Common types of nerve pain and the symptoms

You won’t know for sure if you have neuropathy until a doctor tests for it. They can find disease or nerve damage with touch-based examinations or electrical stimulation. If you have diabetes or abuse alcohol, they may preemptively test for neuropathy.

The first step, however, is to identify the symptoms so that you can decide if you need to make an appointment for such tests.

Peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy usually starts with an unpleasant tingling or numbness in your hands and feet. The sensation can spread out to your arms and legs. Patients with this type of nerve condition can also be highly sensitive to touch, and they may drop things that they are holding for no apparent reason. In extreme cases, people can even fall down or stumble when they are standing or walking normally.

Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy and the related proximal neuropathy are caused by diabetes. Symptoms can vary and may include extreme pain in the lower body, hips, and thighs, sores that won’t heal, and excessive numbness or tingling in extremities. Diabetes can also cause nerve damage leading to digestive problems or blurred vision.

Autonomic neuropathy

The autonomic nervous system controls blood pressure, digestion, and the reproductive system. Damage to this system can lead to fluctuating blood pressure, digestive or bowel problems, nausea, excessive sweating, and sexual dysfunction in both men and women.

Mononeuropathy

Mononeuropathy, also known as focal neuropathy, is when nerve damage causes pain or other symptoms to one nerve. The most common locations for focal neuropathy are the arms, legs, face, or lower body. The symptoms can be similar to peripheral neuropathy, but they are focused on one specific area. Sometimes mononeuropathy can affect the face, causing temporary paralysis of one cheek or vision problems.

Treatment for nerve pain

If you think you have nerve pain throughout the body or in one place, whether caused by injury or a disease, you can consult a neuropathy specialist at Carolinas Pain Center.

We have the expertise to find the root cause of your nerve pain and provide effective treatments to offer relief, help you manage your condition, or cure underlying ailments that are causing the pain. Set an appointment with us today to take the first step in dealing with your nerve pain.

Ways to Treat Chronic Back Pain Without Surgery

  • chronic back pain

Back pain is extremely common, with a majority of Americans experiencing either acute or chronic back pain after the age of 30. Chronic back pain, which is discomfort that lasts for 12 weeks or more, can be especially debilitating. People may avoid exercising or other activities that can worsen existing soreness. The pain can harm your quality of life, limit career options, and even cause depression.

If the ache is severe enough, you may think surgery is the only option. A physician can help you decide if this is really the case. However, they may also tell you that you can treat chronic back pain without having an invasive procedure.

Here is a closer look at back pain and how to treat it without surgery.

What Causes Chronic Back Pain?

Back pain could come from a variety of health problems or injuries.

  • Pain from bone or spine development. Issues like scoliosis (a severely curved spine) or spina bifida (malformed vertebrae) can cause ongoing back pain, especially in the lower back.
  • Pain from injuries. Injuries can include muscle or tendon strains or sprains. Overuse of specific muscles could also lead to spasms, cramps, or joint pain.
  • Pain from trauma. Severe trauma could cause misalignment in the spine or compressed discs. These acute symptoms could lead to chronic pain if not properly managed.
  • Arthritis in the back. Arthritis causes inflammation in the back, making you feel stiff and causing pain when you move. Arthritis is usually an age-related condition, though some people can get osteoarthritis at a younger age.
  • Nerve issues. The spine has many nerves, and if one becomes compressed, it could cause pain. Sciatica, a compressed nerve problem, is a common source of lower back pain.
  • Illnesses. Infections or viruses can cause temporary stiffness or pain in your back. Some infections can move into your vertebrae, causing chronic pain that won’t go away until you treat the infection.

 

Unless you have a severe injury, you may be able to try non-surgical treatments to eliminate chronic back pain.

Non-Invasive Chronic Back Pain Treatments

Here are the most common examples of non-surgical treatments you can try.

Physical Therapy

If your back pain is related to posture, an injury, or repetitive motion strains, physical therapy may be the best choice. PT involves stretches, strength exercises, and posture correction. You work with a therapist and may use equipment, braces, or other tools to assist in your therapy. A PT specialist may also show you exercises that you can perform at home to prevent future injuries.

Diet

Your diet can affect your back health in several ways. First, eating anti-inflammatory foods can help relieve arthritis in back joints. Dishes including colorful vegetables, leafy greens, berries, nuts, and whole grains can offer these benefits. Fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, have beneficial omega-3 acids that can counteract inflammation.

If you are overweight, you may be putting extra strain on your spine. A diet that helps you shed extra pounds can also bring some relief, especially if you suffer from lower back pain.

Acupuncture and Acupressure

Acupuncture uses small needles, placed just under your skin, to stimulate pressure points throughout your body. The goal is to stimulate the body’s natural responses to pain. Acupressure focuses on the same points, but it relies on hand pressure instead of needles for stimulation.

Heat or Topical Treatments

You can use heat for back pain. A heating pad can be especially useful for a muscle strain in your back. It loosens tight or stiff muscles and boosts circulation, which can speed up healing and recovery.

Topical lotions and gels can also help reduce acute or chronic back pain. Some of these treatments provide a circulation-boosting heating sensation, while others contain gentle numbing agents that offer short-term pain relief. Some topical medications have anti-inflammatory ingredients that can help relieve pain from arthritis in the back.

Injections

Injections may also provide relief from chronic back pain. There are several types of shots that you can get. Muscle relaxants or local anesthetics can loosen knotted muscles.

This may help correct posture issues related to overtightening. A doctor can also give you a steroid injection to reduce inflammation caused by an injury, illness, or arthritis.

Back Manipulation

A chiropractor or osteopathic doctor can apply pressure and manipulate your back to improve alignment. This can help with posture, relieve pain, and relax muscles. You may need a series of these non-invasive treatments to see full results.

Some specialists may use devices to aid in your chiropractic treatment. For example, they could put you into a traction device, which can gently stretch your spine, muscles, and ligaments with the goal of improving alignment.

Massage therapists also manipulate muscles, but they are not qualified to perform the same structural manipulations as licensed chiropractors and osteopaths.

Get Help for Your Chronic Back Pain

Carolinas Pain Center offers treatments for chronic pain. If you are suffering from issues such as back arthritis or a muscle strain, please reach out. Our medical experts can offer diagnoses, treatment options, and pain management solutions. We can offer choices that can bring you relief and help you perform your daily activities without discomfort.

If you are ready to address chronic back pain, make an appointment with Carolinas Pain Center today. 

Guide to Sciatica Pain and How to Manage It

  • sciatica pain

As the thickest nerve in your body, your sciatic nerve plays a crucial role in helping your lower limbs move and feel. It has several roots in your lower back and bottom of your spine that flow through a series of musculoskeletal structures. When one of those structures pinches or places pressure on the nerve, you may notice an uncomfortable back pain that also runs down your leg. You may hear medical professionals refer to this as sciatica. 

While the condition is common, sciatica isn’t something you have to live with. With a series of multidisciplinary interventions and self-help techniques, you can combat sciatic nerve pain. Alongside making an appointment to address your pain, there are self-help methods you can use.

Common sciatica pain causes

As one of your sciatic nerve’s primary functions is to feed sensations back to your central nervous system (CNS), it’s sensitive to anything that rubs it or places pressure on it. As such, when you suffer from a slipped disc or a musculoskeletal structure rubbing against it, your brain perceives that event as being painful.

Slipped discs are usually the commonest cause of sciatica. A slipped disc usually occurs after lots of repeat movements that don’t protect your back — for example, lifting heavy objects with the wrong manual handling technique.

You can also experience sciatica when your spine narrows or if a spinal bone pushes out of place. Lower back injuries are another common cause. In a lot of cases, it’s unusual for one single event to result in sciatica. By the time the pain arises, you’ve probably spent months or years engaging in poor posturing or harmful repeat movements. 

How long does sciatica pain normally last?

An acute case of sciatica may last between one and six weeks. The most painful sensations are likely to last for one to two weeks, with some residual pain following. However, you may be able to reduce your symptoms and the amount of time your condition lasts with appropriate pain management. 

Tips for managing sciatica pain

There’s a lot you can do to help yourself when it comes to sciatic nerve pain. However, it’s also advisable to seek assistance from medical professionals. In many cases, a multidisciplinary approach achieves the dual benefits of reducing your pain and stopping it from happening again.

Sciatic pain self-help tips

There are certain stretches you can perform to treat your sciatic nerve pain. One is the piriformis stretch. Your piriformis is a muscle that runs from your lower spine through to your thigh bone. When it presses on your sciatic nerve, it causes sciatica. As such, stretching it at home may reduce some of your symptoms.

To stretch your piriformis muscle, lie flat on your back on the floor. Take your leg from the affected side and place the ankle just above the opposite knee. Place your hands behind the knee your ankle is resting on and pull your leg up off the floor and toward you. Hold the stretch for five seconds, then repeat. 

Managing sciatic pain at work

You can gain a lot of relief from sciatica by changing the way you spend your time at work. If you’re in a role that involves sitting at a desk a lot, ensure your chair provides the right type of lumbar support. You should also get up and walk around at least every hour to provide your lower back muscles with some natural movement. If you engage in any type of lifting and carrying, make sure your employer offers you some manual handling training, and follow the techniques they suggest. 

Professional sciatic pain management

Alongside trying self-help techniques, it’s worth seeking advice from a professional. A range of approaches can be used to reduce your pain and stop it from occurring again. This may include physiotherapy and medications. A professional can also help identify the physical cause of your pain, which may assist you in making appropriate lifestyle changes.

Advice for preventing sciatica pain

Moving forward, there are some areas of your life you can address to lessen sciatica pain. Whether you work at an office, from home, or in a labor-intensive job, assess your posture to see if it’s compromising your lower back and spine. People who smoke are more likely to experience sciatica, so quitting is well worth your while. You should always try some exercise that’s within your comfort zone, and if you’re overweight, then now’s a good time to lose some.

Sciatic pain is undeniably uncomfortable. However, with a range of self-help techniques and professional interventions, you can lessen yours and keep it at bay. To get more help for your sciatica pain, reach out to our team at Carolinas Pain.