As we all know bone is a very hard structure giving shape to the body. Like muscles, bones too possess blood vessels, pain receptors and arteries supplying the requisite nutrients. Fracture or sprain of the cartilage surrounding the bone or diseases such as osteoarthritis can result in bone pain. Apart from severe unbearable pain, the patients find it hard to move the affected bone.
Location of the Excruciating Pain
Bone pain is mostly localized i.e. it restricts only to the affected area. In cases such as osteomalacia the pain spreads to other areas too.
- Injury or disease affecting the vertebral bones through which the spinal cord passes can cause pain in the back as well as other areas. However, the affected area depends on the vertebral bones affected and the peripheral nerve roots involved.
- Pain in joints can also radiate along the length of the bone that makes up the joint. For example pain in elbow joint can result in pain in arms and even in the wrist. Injury or infection of the knee joint causes pain in thighs and leg.
Causes for Bone Pain
In majority of the cases, osteodynia is mostly due to an injury to either the bone or the surrounding tissues.
Other causes for bone pain include:
- Inflammation of the bones due to infection.
- Weakening of bones due to poor intake of calcium or with age.
- Extensive growth and compression of the bones.
- Destruction of the bones.
- Development of tumor in the bones.
- Softening of the bones due to osteomalacia.
- Reduction in bone density as in osteoporosis.
- Conditions such as rickets in children.
- Auto-immune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus.
- Drugs such as calcitrol, cytosar-U can also cause bone pain.
Bone Pain Symptoms
Deep and sharp intensive pain felt in the bones is a sign for osteodynia. The pain generally gets worse at night. However, the extent of pain depends on the cause. In case of fractures sever pain is felt only if the injured bone is moved. There will be mild or no pain if the affected part is allowed to rest.
Other symptoms observed include
- Sever bone pain with fever is an indication for bone infection.
- Bone pain with excessive sweating at nights is also an indication for infection. It can also be due to cancer.
- Retarded growth accompanied by bone pain in children is a sign for rickets.
- Bone pain along with deformities is a sign for diseases such as osteomalacia and osteoporosis. These conditions should be taken care immediately to prevent adverse affects.
Diagnostic Tests for Identifying Bone Pain
Like other diseases bone pain can also be diagnosed by performing blood tests to identify the concentration of various minerals and to assess the functioning of kidneys and liver.
- Total blood picture to know the RBC count and ESR to diagnose, infection, leukemia, inflammation and anemia.
- Renal function and liver function tests to estimate the concentration of alkaline phosphatase, phosphorus and calcium. Cancer of the bone shows elevated calcium, uric acid and protein in blood.
- To identify the presence of ANA and ENA antibodies, rheumatoid factor and HLA-B27 to diagnose arthritis.
- Blood culture is performed if fever accompanies bone pain.
Treatment for Bone Pain
Treatment is done depending on the cause of pain and the age of the patient. In case of younger patients, pain can be relieved with medicines in few days. It may take very long time and even a surgery in case of aged people. Chemotherapy is used to treat cancers. Generally, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, hormone therapy and laxatives are used to relieve bone pain.
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