ZocdocAnswersDo I have a bone marrow disease?

Question

Do I have a bone marrow disease?

Can you get a disease in your bone marrow? I don't know how else to explain the fact that all of my joints and bones seem to hurt and my body is always aching. I think it has to be something in all my bones and all I can think of is the bone marrow being a problem.

Answer

It sounds like you are truly not feeling yourself lately. Constant joint pain and bone aches is very unpleasant, and you should definitely start with your primary care physician to discuss these symptoms, as well as anything else you have noticed. Your doctor will also want to do a thorough exam of your joints to look for evidence of what might be behind your symptoms. You are correct that bone marrow is inside most of your bones, but it is unlikely that a problem with your bone marrow is actually the cause of your symptoms. Bone marrow disorders include a range of hematologic malignancies, including leukemia, myeloma, or lymphoma, and while these are serious disease with many side effects, bone pain is not typically one of them. From the symptoms you describe, it sounds more likely that you may have some sort of rheumatologic disease, ie something in the spectrum or rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or other autoimmune diseases. Your doctor will want to ask you a lot of question about other changes you may have noticed, including weight loss, muscle pain or weakness, and your family history. Examining your joints can give some clues about whether or not you have an arthritis-type illness, and some basic labs can also help give some additional information. It is impossible to stay conclusively that you don't have a bone marrow problem without a more detailed history/physical, but it sounds like something is clearly not right with your health and you should see your doctor right away to get to the bottom of this. Please see your doctor soon.

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