Lower Extremities

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!

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.

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.

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.

Exercises to Manage Your Back Pain

  • back pain exercise

Do you suffer from back pain? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world experience back pain on a regular basis.

While there are many different causes of back pain, one of the best ways to manage it is through exercise.

In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best exercises for relieving back pain. We’ll also provide tips on how to stay safe while exercising and some other options you can consider if you’re still experiencing pain.

The Importance of Exercise for Preventing and Treating Back Pain

If you’ve found this article, you’re probably looking for a solution to back pain that you’ve had for a while. But regular exercise is one of the best ways to prevent back pain from happening in the first place.

Exercise helps to prevent back pain in several ways:

  • It strengthens your core and the muscles that support your spine.
  • It helps you maintain a healthy weight, avoiding excess pressure on your spine.
  • It improves your posture.
  • It increases blood flow and flexibility in your muscles and joints.
  • It can help to reduce stress, which can contribute to or exacerbate back pain.

All of these things together can help you to avoid some of the most common causes of back pain, including muscle strain, poor posture, and obesity.

If you’re already experiencing back pain, exercise can still help. While it may seem counterintuitive to move when your back is hurting, exercise is often one of the best things you can do for back pain relief.

When you’re in pain, your natural inclination may be to rest and avoid movement. But this can actually make your pain worse. Exercise helps to loosen tight muscles, increase blood flow, and reduce inflammation.

All of these things together can help to speed up your recovery and get you back to your normal activities as soon as possible.

Of course, it’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine, especially if you’re already in pain.

Lower Back Strengthening Exercises

Lower back pain is one of the most common types of back pain. Weak core muscles and poor posture when sitting at a desk or driving can put your lower spine under pressure and cause pain.

There are several exercises you can do to strengthen the muscles in your lower back and core. This will help to take the pressure off of your spine and reduce the risk of strain or injury.

Superman Pose

Lie on your stomach with your arms and legs extended. Raise your arms and legs a few inches off the ground and hold for three to five seconds.

Pelvic Tilts

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Flatten your back against the ground and hold for five seconds.

Bridge Pose

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Raise your hips off the ground until your thighs are in line with your torso. Hold for three to five seconds.

Squats

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands at your sides. Lower your hips and buttocks toward the ground as if you were going to sit in a chair. Stop when your thighs are parallel to the ground and hold for three to five seconds.

Stretches for Back Pain Relief

In addition to strengthening exercises, there are also several stretches you can do to relieve back pain. These stretches can help to loosen tight muscles and improve your range of motion.

Shoulder Shrugs

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. Slowly raise your shoulders as high as you can before lowering them back down.

Neck Rolls

Sit up straight in a chair or stand with your shoulders relaxed. Slowly lower your chin to your chest and then roll your head until your ear is over your right shoulder. Pause for a couple of seconds before rolling back down and repeating in the opposite direction.

Overhead Arm Reach

Sit upright in a chair with your feet on the floor. Slowly reach your right arm above your head and reach to the left until you feel the stretch in your shoulder. Hold for a few seconds, lower, and repeat on your other side.

Cat-Cow Pose

Start on your hands and knees with your back in a neutral position. As you inhale, arch your back and look up to the ceiling. As you exhale, round your spine and tuck your chin towards your chest. Repeat this sequence a few times.

Knee to Chest Stretch

Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Place your hands around your right knee and pull it towards your chest. Hold for a few seconds before releasing and repeating on the other side.

Walking & Aerobic Exercise for Back Pain

In addition to specific back pain exercises and stretches, it’s also important to stay active in general. Walking is one of the best exercises for back pain relief. It’s low-impact and accessible to anyone, whatever your fitness level.

Walking is excellent for strengthening your back and leg muscles, improving your posture, and reducing stress.

Start with short walks around the block. You can gradually increase the distance and intensity of your walks as you start to feel better. Just be sure to listen to your body and take breaks when you need them.

Swimming is another great option for aerobic exercise because it’s low-impact and easy on the joints. Start with a few laps around the pool and build up from there.

Exercises to Avoid with Back Pain

While there are many exercises that can help relieve back pain, there are also several exercises that should be avoided. These exercises can put additional strain on the spine and make your pain worse.

  • Sit-ups and traditional crunches: These exercises can strain your back and neck.
  • Standing toe touches: This exercise can overextend the lower back, especially if you’re using a “bouncing” motion to touch your toes.
  • Leg lifts: Lifting both your legs straight up in the air can easily strain your lower back if your muscles are not strong enough to support the motion.
  • High-impact aerobics: Exercise like running and jumping can jar the spine and make the pain worse.

Tips for Staying Safe While Exercising

Exercise is a great way to relieve back pain, but it can also lead to further injury if you’re not careful. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe while you’re working out:

  • Warm-up before you start your workout or do stretches. This will help loosen your muscles and prepare them for activity. You can warm up with 5 minutes of gentle cardio exercise like a brisk walk.
  • Listen to your body. Don’t do anything that’s painful or makes your pain worse. If an exercise is too difficult, try an easier version or skip it altogether.
  • Exercise regularly to maintain muscle strength and flexibility. This will help reduce the risk of further injury and keep your back healthy in the long term.
  • Use proper form when exercising to avoid injuries. Make sure you’re using the right technique for each exercise. If you’re not sure, ask a certified trainer or your doctor for help.

If your pain isn’t improving or is severely affecting your life, consider seeing a pain specialist. These doctors can help to find the root cause of your back pain and work with you to develop a treatment plan.

The pain specialists at Carolinas Pain Center are experts in diagnosing and treating all types of back pain. We offer a wide range of treatments, from medication to physical therapy, alternative therapies, and surgery. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. We can help you find relief so you can get back to living your life.

Common Causes of Knee Pain

  • knee pain

The knee is one of the most complex joints in your body. It’s made up of four bones, three joints, and relies on 12 different muscles to function. Unfortunately, the knee is also a common source of pain, typically among adults. The pain could result from aging, being overweight, or general wear and tear. When it comes to the latter, athletes and people with jobs that require lots of standing are especially vulnerable.

The five most common causes of knee pain include sprained or strained ligaments, cartilage tears, arthritis, tendon tears, and fractures. Whether your pain is the result of aging, an injury, or your athleticism, it must be addressed. That’s why this article will discuss various knee problems, their causes, how to prevent knee problems, and when to seek medical treatment. This information is especially relevant to those experiencing knee pain and those at risk, such as athletes and older adults.

 

Common Knee Problems

As stated above, the most common knee problems are related to an injury of some sort. This injury could be as minor as a sprain or as severe as a torn ACL or a fracture. Regardless, if you don’t receive treatment for your knee injury, your symptoms may gradually worsen, and the damage could become more challenging to treat.

Outside of ACL injuries and fractures, your knee problem could be the result of a torn meniscus, knee bursitis, patellar tendinitis, or a symptom of one of 100 or more different types of arthritis. 

The type of pain you’re experiencing can indicate the cause. For example, if you’re suffering from pain on the inner side of the knee, you’ve likely suffered a sports injury or fall of some sort. On the other hand, if your knee has just suddenly started hurting, general wear and tear from physical activity or an active job is the most probable cause.

You should note that knee pain in ladies versus men is typically the same. The only notable difference between men and women regarding knee issues is that women are more vulnerable to ACL injuries. This is because women’s knees are more likely to tilt inward, putting more stress on the ACL. That said, all athletes should take the time to learn about ACL injuries and how to identify them. 

 

Diagnosing Knee Problems

While you can get a general idea of what’s causing your pain via a knee pain symptom checker, a medical examination is required to diagnose a knee injury properly. A medical professional may use an X-ray, MRI, CT scan, or arthroscopy to determine the exact cause of your symptoms. They can then use this information to suggest an appropriate knee pain treatment suited to your needs.

 

When To Seek Medical Treatment for Knee Pain

knee pain doctor

Several symptoms indicate that you should seek professional medical treatment for your knee pain. For example, please get in touch with your doctor if you’re unable to fully extend or flex your knee, can’t bear weight on your knee, or feel as though your knee is going to give out. 

You should also see a professional if you experience marked knee swelling, see an obvious deformity in the area, have a fever in addition to knee pain, or have severe knee pain in connection with an injury. The duration of your knee pain is also relevant. For example, athletes should speak to a medical professional for knee pain lasting over 48 hours. Other adults should seek out professional advice if symptoms persist for three weeks.  

 

Treating Knee Pain

There is a lot of misinformation out there about how to treat knee pain, whether you’re looking for professional medical treatments or at-home remedies. By answering these frequently asked questions about treating knee pain, we will address some misinformation while offering practical tips along the way.

How can I get rid of knee pain?

Suppose you’re experiencing knee pain from a minor injury or an arthritis flare-up. In that case, you may be able to manage symptoms by resting your knee, applying ice to swollen areas, wearing a compression bandage, or keeping your knee elevated.

What should I eat for knee pain?

If you’re already experiencing knee problems, changing your diet won’t offer a cure or any immediate relief. However, eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, nutrients, and fiber may reduce pain and increase mobility in your joints over time. In addition, we recommend increasing your intake of foods like cold-water fish, colorful fruits and veggies, nuts and seeds, and whole grains.

Which medicine is best for knee pain?

With some over-the-counter medications, such as Advil and Aleve, you can ease knee pain. You could also try applying a cream with a numbing agent, like lidocaine or capsaicin. 

Can drinking water help knee pain?

Drinking water will not cure knee pain or joint pain in general. That said, it can improve the health of your joints, so long as you’re drinking lots of water while pursuing other knee pain treatment options. 

Only a healthcare provider is qualified to suggest a treatment plan for your knee pain if medical intervention is necessary. There are many different ways of treating knee pain, including physical therapy, steroid injections, genicular nerve blocks, Traumeel/Zeel injections, prolotherapy, and more. Whether or not you need non-operative or surgical treatment will depend on the type and severity of your knee condition.

Preventing Knee Pain

knee pain prevention

 

There are several ways of preventing knee pain. They include maintaining a healthy weight and exercising to build your muscles to support your knees. In addition, if you play sports, you should ensure that you’re in shape and prepared to meet the physical demands of that sport. Finally, to avoid accidentally injuring yourself, you should know the proper techniques and movement patterns associated with that sport.

 

 

 

 

Address Your Knee Pain at Carolinas Pain Center

Has your knee pain reached the point that you need to contact a healthcare provider? If so, look no further than Carolinas Pain Center. Knee pain is one of the many conditions we diagnose and treat through individualized services. Our team can offer a wide range of treatments to safely and effectively address your knee pain with our multidisciplinary approach.

If you’d like to book an appointment or have any questions for our team, please feel free to call 704-500-2332, email info@carolinaspaincenter.com, or complete our contact form. You can also learn more about your treatment options from other helpful resources on our website.

Is Walking Good for Knee Pain?

  • knee pain

If you’re suffering from debilitating knee pain, moving — much less walking — could be the furthest thing on your mind. However, depending on the cause of your knee pain, a bit of exercise like walking could do you a world of good.

When the cause of your knee pain is an injury, like a sprained, dislocated, or fractured knee, applying RICE (rest, ice, compress, elevate) during the first 48 hours and getting adequate rest are crucial for recovery. But for those with chronic knee pain (as in the case of arthritis), walking may help alleviate the aches that bother you every day.

So, if you’re looking to integrate some light exercise like walking into your daily routine, you’re on the right track. In this post, we’ll talk about the effects of knee pain on daily life, the benefits of walking for knee pain, and tips to go about it in a safe and effective manner.

 

How Knee Pain Affects You

When chronic knee pain takes over your life, it can keep you from enjoying simple, everyday activities. Since knee pain limits your range of motion, standing up, kneeling, and simply getting around your home can be quite challenging. This is why gradually integrating a bit of movement in the affected area can work wonders — and one way to do this is by walking.

Granted, the beginning could make you feel a little bit stiff or sore — especially after a period of minimal movement or near-total inactivity — but walking can actually help with your knee pain. However, before embarking on any type of exercise or fitness routine, you need to ensure your physician has approved your decision to start walking.

 

Benefits of Walking for Knee Pain

So, is walking good for knee pain?

Our short answer is: Yes, walking can help ease chronic knee pain.

Walking is a simple yet effective low-impact activity for knee pain sufferers, including those diagnosed with knee arthritis. As a gentle form of exercise, walking does not put undue stress on the joints. Moreover, it can help increase the range of motion in the affected area and prevent it from becoming overly stiff.

knee pain

 

Other benefits of engaging in regular knee walking exercises include the following:

  • It helps lubricate and rebuild joints.
  • It improves blood circulation in the legs.
  • It strengthens the thigh and calf muscles.
  • It leads to healthy weight loss, which, in turn, reduces stress on the knees.
  • It helps improve balance and coordination.

 

 

How do I stop knee pain when walking?

Even if you’re excited to start walking again, one big concern here would be how to reduce knee pain while walking. Therefore, taking baby steps is key. So, take it easy in the beginning.

What exercise is good for knee pain?

Aside from walking, other low-impact exercises you should try include stretching, swimming, and water aerobics. These are all effective for relieving knee pain and work great to strengthen your leg muscles gently. As you gain leg strength, you can also start using an exercise bike or elliptical trainer to complement your other activities.

 

Tips for Walking to Relieve Knee Pain

Walking with knee pain — especially in the beginning — can be quite challenging and physically taxing. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from starting, as walking can be the solution you need to overcome chronic knee pain.

Before going “all-out” with your walking, work on minimizing knee pain first by doing the following:

  • Practice walking barefoot at home.
  • Maintain a good posture.
  • Wear flexible, comfortable, lightweight, but supportive footwear that easily bends in the forefoot area while practicing.
  • Warm-up first by gently massaging your knees and doing some simple stretching exercises.
  • Limit the duration of your walks in the beginning and do so on even or level terrain.
  • If you need to, use a cane or walking poles to reduce the stress of walking on your knees.
  • Gradually integrate lower body strengthening exercises as you build up strength and start walking more.

As you gain more confidence and strength in your legs and experience less knee pain, you can lengthen your walking time and start covering more challenging terrain.

Does knee pain go away?

Yes, knee pain can go away, but it depends on what’s causing it and what steps you’re taking to alleviate your condition. With regular exercise, you’ll be losing weight and developing stronger leg muscles — so walking can help provide relief from knee pain.

Pre-Walk

Pre-walk preparation is crucial to enjoy and benefit from your exercise. Make sure you wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Take everything you need to enjoy your walk, and this should include drinking water and light snacks.

You could also warm up your knees with a light massage or by using a hot pack. You could also do some light stretches to prepare your legs for the walk ahead.

How Much to Walk

walking for knee pain

 

When you’re just starting out with walking, do so at least three times a week. Depending on your condition or level of knee pain, you can start by walking three sets of 10-minute walks (with breaks in between) within a day. Then, gradually build this up to a single 30-minute walk per day.

You can increase the intensity, speed, and duration of your walk as you progress further. You can also start walking on more challenging terrain as the condition of your knees improves.

 

 

Is too much walking bad for the knees?

As they say, anything in excess is dangerous — and this applies to walking with knee pain, too. This is especially true if you’ve only just begun your walking routine. So, don’t sabotage your efforts by pushing yourself too hard prematurely. It’s best to comply with your doctor’s or therapist’s recommendations to get the best results.

Post-Walk

After your walk, cool down by walking at a slower, more relaxed pace for 5 to 10 minutes. You can also do some post-walking leg stretches to reduce post-exercise soreness. If you have knee arthritis, you can prevent inflammation by cooling your knees with ice packs for 20 minutes.

 

Overcome Knee Pain by Walking

Walking for knee pain is an effective way of strengthening your knees and legs and improving your quality of life. Safely begin walking by following the tips shared here.

If you suffer from chronic pain, you can access helpful resources on our website or get in touch with us directly at Carolinas Pain Center.

Tips for Dealing with Chronic Pain

  • chronic pain

Pain occurs when receptor nerve cells send messages to your brain that your body is hurting. The cause of pain is often obvious, such as a visible bruise or cut. This type of discomfort is called acute pain. Individuals can also suffer from chronic pain, which is ongoing discomfort that may not have a visible source. You may not know how to control pain of this variety. 

You can suffer from chronic pain due to disease, fatigue, internal injuries from an accident, or psychological issues.

Chronic pain is a significant problem because it can affect your mental and emotional well-being and harm your career and relationships. You may find it hard to be happy and enjoy life with chronic pain.

Furthermore, this pain can be debilitating, but it may not qualify as a disability according to insurance companies or employers.

Here is what you need to know about handling chronic pain and what your rights are if you suffer from debilitating discomfort.

What Is Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is different from acute pain because of its duration. Pain becomes chronic when it continues beyond the expected recovery period.

Chronic pain can be constant, or it can come and go repeatedly. It is often difficult to treat, and physicians may focus on offering temporary symptom relief.

Migraines are one of the most common forms of chronic pain. These chronic headaches come and go, and physicians often have difficulty isolating their cause.

Conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia can also cause debilitating pain. Occasionally, the chronic discomfort is due to an underlying disease, such as cancer or diabetes.

Finally, muscle or tissue damage from accidents, burns, or other types of trauma can cause chronic pain.

Is Chronic Pain a Disability?

chronic pain disability

 

Chronic pain is a disability if it keeps you from doing the activities necessary for daily living, like walking, driving, and doing basic housework.

Unfortunately, chronic pain itself does not qualify you for disability help, such as Social Security benefits. You may be eligible based on the underlying cause of the pain. However, you have to provide documentation of treatments, diagnoses, prescriptions, and the persistence and intensity of the pain.

In most circumstances, you also need to show that the pain has kept you from working or performing daily tasks. The pain needs to last for a year or more before insurers and the Social Security Administration consider it a disability.

 

Pain Coping Strategies

Chronic pain can be stressful and lead to psychological issues and low quality of life. However, you can use proven pain coping strategies, along with treatment, to improve your functionality. 

Here are some ideas for how to control pain: 

chronic pain

  1. Get physically active.
  2. Attend counseling if you feel the pain is affecting your mental health.
  3. Work with a psychologist to learn how to deal with pain so that it does not harm your mental health.
  4. Try alternative treatments, such as acupuncture or massage, for untreatable conditions like arthritis or migraines.
  5. Find a support group for people with similar problems.
  6. Be mindful at home and work of activities that trigger your pain.
  7. Take pain relievers prescribed by your doctor.
  8. Get adequate rest each night and maintain a healthy diet.

 

 

You can also ask your doctor about possible diet changes or other lifestyle choices that can help in coping with chronic pain.

How to Get Help for Your Chronic Pain

The key to treating and coping with chronic pain is to find a physician who is willing to work on a personalized plan that fits your specific situation and needs.

Carolinas Pain Center can tailor chronic pain coping strategies and a treatment program to fit your individual needs. We offer an interdisciplinary approach that relies on medication — modern and traditional — so that you can deal with the pain and have the best chance of getting back to a normal life. Contact Carolinas Pain Center to find out more about our chronic pain services.