Bone Pain or Joint Pain? - CARiNG Pharmacy

Bone Pain or Joint Pain?


Many people use the terms ‘bone pain’ and ‘joint pain’ interchangeably. They are not the same. Most people are unable to differentiate between the two. So, what is the difference between them?

What Is Bone Pain 

Bone pain is any discomfort that you feel in the bone. This pain is usually dull and achy as if the pain is coming deep inside your body.1 It might hurt when you try to move the area involved. The pain usually radiates but there is usually one spot that feels much more painful. [1] 

Bone pain is easy to identify if a person just had a trauma such as a fall or a car accident. [1] This pain is usually sharp and intense as it may be due to bone fracture.

What is Joint Pain

Joint pain is the discomfort in hands, feet, hips, knees, or spine. The pain may also be accompanied by burning sensation or stiffness. [2]  The stiffness is usually worse in the morning and will loosen up with activity or movement.[2]

What Are the Causes of Bone Pain & Joint Pain

If a pain is due to the bone, more often than not, you would have experienced a trauma. However, that is not the only reason for bone pain. Other possible causes include osteoporosis (porous bones which increase the risk of fracture), benign bone tumors or certain types of cancers. [1]

Generally, joint pain is much more common than bone pain. Joint pain can be caused by osteoarthritis (a condition due to the wear and tear of the joint’s protective layer), rheumatoid arthritis (joint pain due to your immune system attacks your own body tissue) or even gout.

How to Reduce the Risk of Getting Bone & Joint Problems?

You can do a lot to reduce the risk of suffering joint pain. Managing your weight is important to avoid your knees from bearing too much weight. [3] This is a cause of osteoarthritis.
Staying active will also strengthen the muscles around the joint which reduces the risk of osteoarthritis. However, you need to be careful about the type of exercise you do. Running, cycling or swimming are good to strengthen the muscles around the joints without damaging them. [3] Running, jumping or tennis are all ill-suited for people with osteoarthritis especially when the pain involves the knee. [3]

Osteoporosis can lead to bone fractures. Minerals such as calcium, magnesium or vitamins such as Vitamin D and Vitamin K are crucial for good bone health. Tobacco and alcohol use can also lead to increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures. [4]

Bottom Line
Speak to your healthcare provider to know more about your pain. Determining whether the pain is due to the bone or the joint is not enough. A proper diagnosis from a doctor is required to identify the problem and treat the pain based on the diagnosis.

Want to know more about joint pain or bone pain? Speak with your CARiNG Pharmacist today!


1. Bone pain: What it is, causes & treatment [Internet]. Cleveland Clinic. [cited 2023Apr9]. Available from:

2. Joint pain: Symptoms, causes, and treatment [Internet]. Cleveland Clinic. [cited 2023Apr9]. Available from:

3. Osteoarthritis: Symptoms, causes and treatment [Internet]. Cleveland Clinic. [cited 2023Apr9]. Available from:

4. Osteoporosis [Internet]. National Institute on Aging. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; [cited 2023Apr9]. Available from: