Muscle or Bone? The Truth About Your Pain - Cannabotech CBD Oils & Products Articles

Muscle or Bone? The Truth About Your Pain

Babafemi Adebajo - Writer for Cannabotech
By Babafemi Adebajo
Joel Taylor - writer and editor for Cannabotech
Edited by Joel Taylor

Published April 10, 2023.

Woman in the middle of running rubbing her shoulder due to muscle or bone pain

Bone and muscle pain present similarly, making it difficult to differentiate the source and decide on the best treatment. However, there are many key differences that can help you identify your pain, choose adequate remedies, and even know when to consult a doctor.

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Muscle Pain

Muscle pain is a sharp pain localized to a muscle or cluster of muscles within the body, and may also be aching and tender in the affected area. The most commonly affected areas include the neck, lower back, and shoulders.

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What Does Muscle Pain Feel Like?

For muscle pain, the symptoms depend on the cause of the pain and the severity of the injury (if any). Generally, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Aching and soreness in the muscle which is worse with movement but better with rest
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Reduced range of motion which leads to muscle weakness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Classic inflammation signs (swelling, warmth, and redness) around the affected area

Causes of Muscles Pain

  • Overuse Repetitive use of a muscle can lead to overexertion and pain.
  • Injury Trauma to the muscle can cause muscle tears and lead to pain.
  • Tension and stress Emotional and psychological stress increases muscle tension and causes muscle pain.
  • Infections and diseases Infections such as influenza, Lyme disease, and viral infections) and autoimmune disorders (e.g. lupus, polymyalgia rheumatica, and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Fibromyalgia This is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain and tenderness in the muscles and soft tissues.
  • Side effects of certain medications
  • Deficiencies Mostly dependent on vitamin D, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Dehydration
  • Metabolic disorders This includes hypothyroidism and hypokalemia.
  • Neurological conditions This includes multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.

How to Treat Muscle Pain at Home

Sometimes, muscle pain can be severe enough that you can't even get out of the house. The good thing is that you can easily treat mild to moderate muscle pain at home with the following tips:

  • Rest
  • Ice and Heat therapy
  • Gentle stretches
  • Massage (with or without topical analgesic)
  • Staying hydrated

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When Should You Be Worried About Muscle Pain?

Most of the time, muscle pain will resolve with home remedies and should not be a cause of concern. However, if it becomes severe and persistent, or is accompanied by fever, swelling, and a history of infection (autoimmune disorder or metabolic condition), you should seek immediate medical attention.

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Bone Pain

Bone pain is a dull, aching pain that may occur in any bone in the body. The pain is often deep-seated and constant and may worsen with movement.

What Does Bone Pain Feel Like?

Though the pain is constant, there are several accompanying symptoms. These are;

  • Dull, aching sensation
  • Deep-seated pain
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Warmth
  • Limited range of motion
  • Fever
  • Weight loss (where cancer is the underlying cause)

Causes of Bone Pain

  • Bone infections Osteomyelitis is the most common bone infection that causes pain.
  • Cancer
  • Degenerative arthritis
  • Fracture due to trauma
  • Metabolic bone disorders This includes osteomalacia, rickets, and Paget's disease.
  • Medications Bisphosphonates anticonvulsants and chemotherapy drugs can cause or exacerbate bone pain.
  • Medical conditions This includes fibromyalgia, sickle cell anaemia, and lupus.
  • Osteoporosis
  • Repetitive stress
  • Vitamin deficiencies Mostly dependent on vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium.

How to Treat Bone Pain at Home

As severe as bone pain can get, mild to moderate symptoms can still be treated at home. The treatment approach will depend on the cause, but will generally follow these procedures:

  • Rest the affected area
  • Ice and heat therapy Ice works best within the first 24-72 hours after acute pain onset. However, heat is preferable after the 72-hour mark except where there is suspicion of cancer.
  • Use of over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Gentle stretching and exercises to improve ROM
  • A balanced and anti-inflammatory diet that supports healthy bones and relieves bone pain
  • Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises and meditation to relieve stress and pain

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When Should You Be Worried About Bone Pain?

Bone pain may be a pointer to a severe underlying condition. While home treatment may be effective for mild bone pain, you should see a doctor if the pain is persistent, unresponsive to home remedies, and accompanied by fever or inflammation in the affected area.

You should also see a doctor if the pain wakes you up at night, comes with a numbing sensation, loss of strength, and a history of recent trauma to the bone.

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Don't Misdiagnose Yourself

Whether it is muscle or bone pain, you can beat the discomfort by incorporating home remedies into pain management. However, if there is no improvement, seek medical attention promptly as you may have misdiagnosed yourself and are currently pursuing the wrong remedies. Only a registered medical practitioner can assist you properly.