Pain in bones can result from a variety of health conditions. The pain in bones can be acute and chronic. If chronic, it can affect the quality of patient's life. The pain usually originates from the damaged bone. They are innervated by sensory nerves and this is why any damage to the bone tissue results in rather intensive pain.
Causes and Patophysiology of Painful Bones
Some of the medical conditions that can lead to pain in bones include primary and secondary bone cancers, Paget's disease and osteoarthritis. Apart from these conditions pain in bones can be also caused by sickle cell anemia and acute leukemia.
It is important to set the appropriate diagnosis and to find the real cause of bone pain as soon as possible as only in that case the proper and timely treatment can be conducted.
Bone pain may originate from periosteum. Even if bone marrow is affected pain can occur. This can be explained by the presence of nociceptors which are actually sensory receptors for pain. Once the bone is damaged these receptors transmit the specific sensations into the brain and the brain interprets the signals as pain.
The most intensive bone pain is present in case of bone cancer. Cancer cells most commonly destroy bone and this results in severe pain. Since the pain caused by bone cancer is intensive, it has been thoroughly studied by majority of scientists. It has been found that the very damage of bone tissue is the leading cause of pain in case of bone cancer. If primary malignant tumor is not located in bones it can in later stages spread into any bone of the body. This way the metastases destroy the bone tissue and lead to excruciating pain. Additionally, pain can be enhanced by a fracture since in case of cancer spread into the bones they become more fragile and susceptible to fractures.
Treatment of Painful Bones
Basically treatment depends on the very cause of bone pain. Namely, in case of bone cancer the pain can be defeated by direct application of anesthetics into the bone. Additionally pain in bone cancer can be relieved with radiotherapy if low doses are applied. If pain originates from a bone fracture the fracture may heal on its own or requires surgical repair. Pain in osteoarthritis is most commonly treated with specific medications. In case that bone pain is caused by other medical condition it can go away if the primary disease is brought under control.