Joint and bone pain can significantly impact your daily life, making even the simplest tasks a challenge. Whether you're experiencing occasional discomfort or chronic pain, understanding the underlying causes can help you find relief and improve your quality of life.
Because accurate imaging is key to an accurate diagnosis, our team here at Excel Diagnostics & Nuclear Oncology Center in Houston, Texas, offers a variety of diagnostic imaging tests 一
X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear medicine SPECT/CT scans, and computed tomography (CT) scans 一 to help you get the answers you need.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at some common factors that contribute to joint and bone pain and discuss potential treatment options.
Arthritis is one of the most common culprits behind joint pain. The two main types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, but there are over 100 different types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the joints wears down over time, leading to friction and inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune condition where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, causing pain and swelling.
Injuries and overuse
Joint and bone pain can also stem from injuries or overuse. Sports injuries, accidents, or repetitive strain can damage the joints and bones, leading to pain and discomfort. Conditions like tendinitis and stress fractures are common examples.
If you engage in physical activities that put stress on your joints, it's crucial to practice proper technique, warm up adequately, and listen to your body's signals to avoid overuse injuries.
Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weak and brittle bones, making them more prone to fractures. It commonly affects older individuals, particularly women after menopause, due to hormonal changes that affect bone density.
Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies, sedentary lifestyle, and certain medications can contribute to the development of osteoporosis. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and appropriate supplementation can help prevent or manage this condition.
If you have celiac disease, you may benefit from the dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) bone density scan. Because celiac disease can increase your risk of osteoporosis, the scan can provide insights into the health of your bones, so you can take action before you start to experience fractures related to osteoporosis.
Inflammation and autoimmune disorders
Certain inflammatory and autoimmune disorders can cause joint and bone pain. Conditions such as lupus, gout, and fibromyalgia can lead to chronic pain and inflammation in the joints. These disorders are often complex and require medical evaluation and treatment to manage symptoms effectively.
Infections, such as septic arthritis or osteomyelitis (bone infection), can cause severe joint and bone pain. Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections can affect the joints or bones, leading to inflammation and discomfort. Prompt medical attention is crucial to diagnose and treat these infections, as they can cause long-term damage if left untreated.
Other contributing factors
Several other factors can contribute to joint and bone pain. These include obesity, which adds extra stress to the joints, and conditions like bursitis (inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs around the joints) and tendinitis (inflammation of the tendons). Additionally, bone cancer can also cause bone pain.
Treatment and management
The appropriate treatment for joint and bone pain depends on the underlying cause. Common treatment approaches may include:
- Physical therapy
- Lifestyle modifications
- Assistive devices
- Surgical intervention
Joint and bone pain can significantly impact your daily life, but understanding the underlying causes can help you seek appropriate treatment and manage your symptoms effectively. Whether it's arthritis, injuries, or underlying medical conditions, getting started with diagnostic imaging is your first step toward embarking on a treatment plan.
To learn more or to schedule an imaging test, give us a call at 713-781-6200 or use our online contact form.