Re: Prednisone did something bad to my joints, not sure what is going on.
A one week course of prednisone shouldn't cause you trouble. I think it's the long term use where people start having issues with it, but everyone is different so who knows.
As for the bone scan - it is the best diagnostic tool around. Well actually there are 2 types of bone scans. There is a DXA bone scan to test for osteoporosis and a radioactive bone scan to test for abnormalities in the bone.
Here is some info for you regarding the differences between the DXA bone scan and the radioactive bone scan. The DXA scan will ONLY indicate if osteoporosis is a possibility. The scan is compared to the density of an average person your age to make the diagnosis.
What is DXA? - DXA bone density studies of the spine and hip are considered the "gold standard" for diagnosing osteoporosis and following changes in bone density over time. DXA stands for dual x-ray absorptiometry. Low dose x-ray of two different energies are used to distinguish between bone and soft tissue, giving a very accurate measurement of bone density at these sites. A DXA Scan involves less than one tenth the dosage of radiation that you would get from a chest X-ray.
Is a DXA bone density scan the same as a bone scan? - No. The two studies are often confused because they sound alike, but they are different techniques used for different purposes. A bone scan is a nuclear medicine study used to look for cancer, stress fractures, and other bone or joint problems. It does not measure bone density and is not used to diagnose osteoporosis.
A bone scan will show new areas of bone growth or breakdown. It can be done to evaluate damage to the bones, to detect cancer that has spread (metastasized) to the bones, and to monitor conditions that can affect the bones (including infection and trauma). A bone scan can often detect a problem days to months earlier than a regular X-ray test.
For a bone scan, a radioactive tracer (radioactive technetium diphosphonate) is injected into a vein in the arm. The tracer then travels through the bloodstream and into the bones. Areas that absorb little or no amount of tracer appear as dark or “cold” spots, which may indicate a lack of blood supply to the bone (bone infarction) or the presence of certain types of cancer. Areas of rapid bone growth or repair absorb increased amounts of the tracer and show up as bright or "hot" spots in the pictures. Hot spots may indicate the presence of a tumor, a fracture, or an infection.
A bone scan is required to:
1.Help diagnose the cause or location of unexplained bone pain (such as ongoing low back pain). In complex structures such as the foot or spine, a bone scan may be done initially to help determine the location of an abnormal bone.
2. Detect damage to the bones caused by infection or other conditions (such as Paget's disease).
3. Help diagnose broken bones not clearly evident on X-ray (such as a hip fracture or a stress fracture).
4. Determine whether a cancer from another area (such as the breast, lung, kidney, thyroid gland, or prostate gland) has spread (metastasized) to the bone.
Two types of abnormal bone scans include:
1.The tracer may accumulate in certain areas of the bone, indicating one or more hot spots. Hot spots may be caused by a fracture that is healing, bone cancer, a bone infection (osteomyelitis), arthritis, or a disease of abnormal bone metabolism (such as Paget's disease).
2.Certain areas of the bone may lack the presence of radioactive tracer, indicating one or more cold spots. Cold spots may be caused by a certain type of cancer (such as multiple myeloma) or lack of blood supply to the bone (bone infarction).
So, if you think that something other than osteoporosis is happening - the DXA scan will not help you. The "true" bone scan is what will be needed to determine if something weird is happening with your bones.
Hope this helps some.
Post back and let us know what happens.