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I sometimes think I am just driving myself crazy with all the questions I have about everything that I now notice about my body. I don't even have a diagnosis yet! In any event, I have had considerable joint pain for an extended period of time now. I have an elbow that has been extremely painful for almost three months now. I don't have health insurance but was just able to get into my local community health clinic. The RNP there sent me for an x-ray. I just got those results today and was told they are normal. My pain was just so severe last night that even after 2 pain medication's it took me until after 4:30 this morning to fall asleep. Do x-rays show all joint issues? I am wondering if I could have some issue that an x-ray does not always pick up. :jump-for-joy:

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Hi Debo,


I'm sorry you are in pain and without insurance, too.


As I understand it (and keep in mind I don't even have a current First Aid Certificate), an x-ray will only tell if there are obvious things, like a fractured or broken bone. If you have no reason to suspect a broken bone, an x-ray is probably rather useless.


My husband had a severe injury when he jumped over a fence and landed on his shoulder, on concrete, years ago. He couldn't even raise his arm, but the x-ray was just dandy and they sent him on his way telling him he was just fine. Well, he still couldn't lift his arm a month later, so he had an MRI that showed that 3 tendons were severed from his shoulder. Then when he had surgery, they found that all of them were, but one had showed up as fine on the MRI. Go figure.


The moral of that story is, plenty of stuff doesn't show up on tests. An okay x-ray most likely means that your elbow is probably not fractured or broken and also that you don't have calcinosis of the elbow.


Did you know it can be a clue, whether joint pain is on one side of the body (unilateral), or on both sides (bilateral)? Some diseases cause matching symptoms on both sides of the body (generally speaking, systemic scleroderma is bilateral; but localized scleroderma like morphea or linear are unilateral. Rheumatoid arthritis is bilateral. And so on and so forth.)


So you might have some fun surfing for "unilateral joint pain". Meanwhile, you can take a gander at the Wrong Diagnosis Symptom Checker for elbow pain.

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