Bone Pain vs Muscle Pain in CKD

Bone Pain Muscle Pain

Bone pain vs muscle pain


Pain as a sensation, wherever it might arise from, is solely felt because nerves present in that region relay it to our brain and back. This is a “protective reflex”, that tries to “inform” us about a potential health problem brewing within. It is the kind of pain (trust us, there are multiple types!) & what aggravates it, that can give us an idea of its site of origin.

With that concept in place, let’s delve into the nitty-gritty of bone pain v/s muscle pain in CKD.


Bone pain in CKD is because of gradual Bone Loss as a result of deranged kidney function.
Muscle pain in CKD is the result of continued muscle weakening & wasting due to worsening kidney function, mineral imbalances (also during dialysis), spontaneous micro-bleeds and in some cases as an added side-effect of some types of blood pressure meds.
Pain due to any bone condition has a very "insinuating, digging-from within" character to it.
Such pain is characteristically "chewing" in nature.
Apart from the Bone Shaft (the elongated body of bones in our limbs), our Joints that bear the majority of our body weight, especially the knees & the lower back happen to face the maximum brunt of such bone loss.
It is very commonly felt in the Shins (front of our legs below the knees), given these muscles bear a huge share of body weight.
Knee and Lower-back pain in CKD tend to intensify temporarily, every time we attempt to sit down, stand up from a sitting position, try to use the staircase or even go for a jog - all positions that use the joints named.
Muscle pain especially worsens when you specifically use those muscles. For instance, it wouldn't be uncommon if you go for a short, brisk walk & end-up with a really crampy shin. Spooky? No. Just weak muscle fibres that get tired & torn with medium-intensity activities.
In most cases, it is likely to continue despite "resting" that body part, albeit at a low intensity.Resting periodically & frequently between stretches of muscular work (be it at the workplace or at your gym) can certainly help contain the intensity of this "chewing" pain.



For a CKD patient though, the “bones will continue with their whining” even at rest. So, a pain-free time is almost always a luxury during the advanced stages unless adequately treated.

So what’s the point of even making an effort to differentiate between pain from bones & that from muscle, if the Pain stays anyway? Surely, pain-killers help?

That would be a resounding NO on two counts:

  • There are separate classes of medicines for treating Bone Pain & Muscle Pain in CKD
  • These meds aren’t your conventional painkillers such as Aspirin / Ibuprofen / Diclofenac / Aceclofenac and the like which are in fact dangerous for your already unwell kidneys in CKD

So, learning to sense if your pain arises from your Bones or Muscles can help avoid any confusion between medication for one kind of pain from the other.  You get to evade a “my medicine-did-not-help” scenario.


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