What Causes Bone Pain?


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Pain within the bones  is relatively uncommon, especially compared to muscle and joint pain. Bone pain can be caused by conditions that can be serious, so it should always be checked out by a medical professional.

In some cases, the cause of bone pain may be obvious. Bone fractures caused by traumatic injury are usually painful. There are several different types of bone fractures, and treatment of fractures depends on the location and severity of the fracture. Osteoporosis, a condition which is characterized by loss of bone strength and mineral density, makes an individual very susceptible to bone fractures.  

Stress fractures are small hairline cracks in bones, usually in the shins or bones of the feet, that are caused by physical activity and overuse. Stress fractures can cause bone pain and inflammation around the area. They may be accompanied by other overuse injuries to muscles, tendons or ligaments.

Bone pain can be caused by a tumor that grows on a bone. Tumors that cause bone pain may be benign or malignant (cancerous); just because a bone tumor causes pain does not necessarily mean that it is cancer. Bone cancer that originates in the bone tissue is primary bone cancer. If a person has cancer elsewhere in their body, it can spread to the bones in some cases; this is called metastatic bone cancer. Leukemia, which is cancer of the white blood cells, is also known to cause bone pain.

Infections of the bones, called osteomyelitis, can cause bone pain. Bone infections are caused by bacterial agents in most cases. Bones can become infected if tissue near the bone is infected and the infection spreads, or if a person has surgery in the area. Bone infections can also occur if an infection becomes systemic and travels to the bone through the bloodstream. Osteomyelitis is treated with antibiotics and, in some cases, surgery to remove infected tissue.

Osteonecrosis is bone tissue death caused by decreased blood flow, or ischemia, to the bone. Osteonecrosis can lead to joint deterioration or bone collapse, if the tissue death is severe. This condition is common in individuals with sickle cell anemia. It can also be a complication of radiation therapy for cancer treatment. The pain of this condition may gradually increase over time; however, if the bone collapses, severe acute pain usually results.

Non-Surgical Orthopaedics, P.C. specializes in bone and joint pain and offers non-surgical treatment options. Call 770-421-1420 for more information or for an appointment today.

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