Bone pain or aching in the bones does not occur as often as pain in the joints or sore, aching muscles. Sometimes it can be easy to determine the reason for pain in the bones, such as a broken bone that causes severe pain. Other times, the reason for bone pain is not so obvious, such as in the case of bone cancer.
Bone pain causes
Several conditions can cause bone pain, in addition to fractures and cancer that has either started in the bone (primary malignancy) or spread to the bones from another location (metastatic cancer). The bone pain causes include:
- Primary bone cancer: This type of cancer originates in the bone rather than spreading to the bone from somewhere else in the body. Primary bone cancer does not occur nearly as often as metastatic bone cancer. Like metastatic cancer of the bone, this type of cancer results in bone pain due to destruction or disruption of the normal structure of the bone.
- Leukemia: This is a cancer that affects bone marrow. Bone marrow plays a vital role in producing new blood cells and is found in most bones of the body. As a result, bone pain is common in people with leukemia.
- Traumatic injuries: Bone pain is often caused by accidental injuries, such as falls or motor vehicle accidents. Impact or force can fracture (break) any of the body’s bones, resulting in severe pain.
- Osteoporosis: This condition results in the loss of bone strength or density due to mineral deficiencies. It is most common in women after menopause. It typically does not result in bone pain until the late stages of the disease.
- Infection: Osteomyelitis is an infection in the bone. Infections can spread to the bone from a wound or due to surgery, or they can originate in the bone. Osteomyelitis can cause severe bone pain due to the death of bone cells.
- Diseases that disrupt blood flow: Some diseases interrupt the steady flow of blood that supplies the bone tissue and cells with nutrients. Without adequate nutrients, blood cells cannot survive. The bones then weaken and become painful. One of the conditions that disrupt the supply of blood to bone tissue is Sickle cell disease.
Bone pain can have many causes. Some of these are easy to detect, and other reasons for bone pain are less obvious. If you have bone pain, it is essential to be seen by your healthcare provider for an evaluation. Your physician can help you determine what is causing it. The sooner the underlying condition is diagnosed, the sooner appropriate treatment can be recommended and initiated.
One frequent cause of bone pain is cancer that has spread from where it originated in the body to the bone. This type of cancer is known as metastatic cancer. Bone cancer that spreads or metastasizes to the bone from another location in the body is not a new type of cancer. It is made up of the cancer cells from the original location.
Cancer cells from other parts of the body usually spread to the bone through the bloodstream. They can also travel through the lymphatic system, but bone metastasis usually takes place through the blood system. In addition, cancer cells can break off from the primary site and become trapped in a tiny capillary in the bone tissue. Bone cancer can also occur when a tumor nearby erodes into a bone, but this does not happen as often as metastasis through the circulatory system.
The most common types of cancer that spread to the bone are:
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Lung cancer
- Cancer of the thyroid
- Renal cancer (cancer of the kidney)
Normally, bone tissue is constantly replenished by healthy blood cells. New bone cells are destroyed naturally, and new tissue is formed in a balanced way. When cancer cells invade healthy bone tissue, this balance is disrupted. Due to the imbalance, nerve cells within the bone are stimulated, and bone pain results.
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