top of page
  • Writer's pictureusapharmllc

What Is The Difference Between Joint Pain And Bone Pain?

What is Joint Pain?

Joint pain is a discomfort, aches, and soreness in the body joints such as the shoulder, knees, hips, jaw, hands, feet, elbows, back and ankles. Joint pain is usually caused by an injury which affects the bursae, ligament and the tendons surrounding the joint. Joint pain is sometimes referred to as arthralgia.

What is Bone Pain?

Bone pain is a form of discomfort that occurs in the bone tissue. Some pains usually occur as a result of several physical conditions and diseases. Some bone pain can cause severe pain and also impact the quality life of a patient. Bone pains are usually dull pain and cannot be easily localized by the people who suffer from it. Bone pain is sometimes referred to as bone tenderness.

What is the easiest way to distinguish between joint pain and bone pain?

Even though bone pain and joint pains occur in the musculoskeletal system, they are two different conditions. Bone pain usually originates inside the bone while joint pain occurs at the connections between two bones.

1. What Causes Joint Pain?

Joint pain is commonly caused by arthritis but it can also be caused by several other conditions and factors. Both forms of arthritis, the rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritiscan cause joint pain. Joint pain which is caused by rheumatoid arthritis is usually characterized by inflammation, pain, and fluid buildup in the joints. Joints pain which is caused byarthritis results to cartilage breakdown.

Other causes of joint pain include:

  • Infectious diseases such as hepatitis, influenza, and mumps

  • Tendinitis. This is the inflammation of the bone

  • Gout

  • Lupus

  • Bursitis. This is the inflammation of the cushioning pads around the joints

  • Injury

  • Chondromalacia of the patella. This is the breakdown of the kneecap’s injury

  • Overuse of the joints

  • Osteoporosis

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Rickets

  • Cancer

  • Sarcoidosis​

2. What Causes Bone Pain?

Bone pain is also caused by a number of conditions. It is commonly caused by decreased* bone density or injuries to your bones.

Other bone pain causes include:

  • Bone fractures

  • Metastatic malignancy. This is cancer that has spread from its point of origin

  • Interruption of blood supply. This can occur in cases of sickle cell anaemia

  • Leukemia. This is cancer of the blood

  • Cancer of the bone

  • Deficiency in hormones. This can be caused by menopause

  • Overuse of bone and repetitive movement injury

  • Infection

  • Osteoporosis. This is as a result of mineral loss

  • Paget’s disease

  • arthritis

  • Myeloma

Bone pain is usually experienced by people who are middle aged or older. This is because as you grow older your body undergoes a lot of changes. Bone formation usually decreases* and the rate of bone replacement usually goes down. Your muscle size and bone density decreases* which is usually caused by less activities done. In this state you become prone to bone fractures and overuse injuries.

Joint pain is also common to people who are old. This is common because of the overused joints.

3. Signs and Symptoms of Joint Pain and Bone Pain

Joint pain usually cause discomfort in the joints which also leads to soreness while bone pain causes discomfort in the bone tissues.

4. Treatment for Joint and Bone Pain

Joint pain can be treated according to their severity. For joint pain which are moderate to severe, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, naproxen sodium (Aleve) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) can help in providing relief. Cox-2-inhibitors (Celebrex) can also be used in relieving pain. If you experience mild joint pain without swelling, you can use acetaminophen (Tylenol). You should ensure you avoid alcohol when taking these drugs. Combination of alcohol and high doses of these drugs can result to liver damage. In case of severe joint pain NSAIDs and Cox-2- medicines are not effective. In these cases your doctors will prescribe opioid medication. Opioid drugs usually cause drowsiness and constipation. Constipation caused by opioid drugs can be relieved by taking laxatives. Other drugs that can helpful in relieving pain include:

  • Antidepressants and antieleptic drugs. These drugs interfere with pain signals leading to a relief.

  • Muscle relaxants. These drugs are used to treat* muscle spasms. They can also be used with NSAIDs to increase* their effectiveness.

Capsaicin, a substance that is found in chili peppers can also be used to relieve joint pain which is caused by arthritis and several other conditions

Joint pain can also be managed by staying physically active and also engaging in moderate exercises. You should also ensure you keep your body weight within a healthy range this ensures less stress on joints.

Joints pain that is not caused by arthritis can be relieved by taking non-prescription anti-inflammatory drugs, taking a warm bath, stretching frequently and getting adequate rest. Bone pain can also be treated using anesthetics. Use of anesthetics is a direct approach which uses analgesics to relieve pain. Radiotherapy can also be used in treating bone pain. Radiotherapy should be administered in low doses. Antibiotics can be used in case you have infection while in cases of hormone imbalance, hormones can be used to relieve the pain.

Patients who experience bone pain because of other conditions such as cancer can undergo complementary therapies such as acupuncture, relaxation techniques, and massage to relieve the pain.

Exercises can also be helpful in reducing* bone pain. Example of these exercises includes stretching, swimming, walking, high strength training and bicycling.

Bottom Line

Bone and joint pains can be reduced* if you avoid sedentary lifestyle. You should also ensure that before you start any kind of medication to consult your physician so that you can know the causes of your joint pain and the suitable treatment for you. Consulting your physician before engaging in form of exercises for your conditions is also good. Some bone and joint pains need low impact exercises.

Credit to

bottom of page