Understanding differences between bone and joint pain
Bone and joint pain are common reasons people visit orthopedic specialists. Any bone or joint can be affected by pain, but some are more prone to pain and dysfunction than others. Some causes of bone and joint pain are temporary and can be successfully treated at home, but some are serious and should be seen by a specialist right away.
Pain in your bones may manifest itself in many different ways. Most commonly this pain takes on characteristics of deep, aching, or burning pain. While there are a vast number of conditions that can cause bone pain, some of the more common causes are:
- Bone cancer
- Metastatic cancer (cancer that started in one location and moved to another, such as the bones)
- Mineral deficiency
- Injuries can also cause bone pain. Breaks and deep bruises are common bone injuries
Pain in the joints is often an aching pain, but may also manifest as shooting during specific activities or actions. Pain in the joints may be temporary, or may just be a sign of a larger issue that deserves attention. Some common causes of joint pain are:
Again, injury is often likely to cause joint pain. This is due to swelling and the stiffness that occurs as a result of the injury or the healing process. Poor posture, poor form during exercise, and muscle/joint overuse can also lead to pain in and around the joints.
- Learn more about common chronic orthopedic conditions.
- Learn more about common orthopedic injuries.
Minimizing risk of bone and joint pain
While not all causes of bone and joint pain are preventable, there are some things you can do to minimize your risk.
- Keep moving and get enough exercise.
- When you exercise, make sure you are doing it properly. Poor form can lead to injury.
- If you’re overweight, try to get to and maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet with Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, and limit processed foods with transfats and added sugar that can cause or exacerbate inflammation.
- Talk to your doctor about taking supplements. Many people, especially those who live in areas without a lot of sun, have a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D, along with calcium, is important to maintaining healthy bones. You may benefit from these and other supplements. But don’t start taking supplements without first consulting with your doctor as some may interfere with medications or treatments.
- Work on building your muscles through strength training. Strong muscles help support your bones and joints, making you less prone to injury.
Diagnosing and treating bone and joint pain
Joint pain is rarely an emergency. In many cases, you can get joint pain relief by managing it at home. Ice and/or heat combined with over-the-counter pain relievers can help, as can minimizing the use of the affected joint.
If you have swelling, redness, tenderness, or warmth around the affected joint, you should make an appointment to see your doctor. If you are injured and cannot move your joint, the pain is intense, there is sudden swelling, or your joint is deformed, you should see a doctor right away. If you cannot get an appointment, go to your nearest emergency department.
Bone pain can be extremely serious and should not be ignored. If you are experiencing bone pain, you should make an appointment to see a doctor. Some of the tests that can help pinpoint the cause of bone pain are:
- Blood tests (CBC and others)
- CT or MRI scan
- Tests to check hormone levels
- Studies to check the function of your adrenal glands
If you are experiencing bone or joint pain and are looking for a diagnosis or treatment options. The orthopedic specialists at Beaumont can help.
Where to go for bone and joint pain treatment
At Beaumont, we have orthopedic doctors and surgeons who treat all types of bone and joint pain, working together with specialists throughout the health system.
At Beaumont, our orthopedic surgeons are breaking new ground and pioneering treatments that improve the lives of patients dealing with joint pain and other orthopedic condition. We have specialists in hand & wrist, hip & knee, spine, back, neck and more. Whether you’re seeking help with an existing condition, you would like a diagnosis, or you are looking for help with recovery and rehabilitation, Beaumont joint pain doctors can help. Beaumont has orthopedic specialists who offer the treatments and services you need.
Call us at 800-633-7377 to make an appointment, or request an appointment online.