By Neepa Sevak
When a bone breaks it is called a fracture. Breaking a bone can be a big deal but it happens to lots of kids and adults. My seven year old son was introduced to an orthopedic surgeon when he was taken to the emergency room with his first broken bone, a spiral fracture in his tibia bone (lower leg). This event prompted me to write about fractures and how Homeopathic medicines can help a little child or even an adult heal faster with the minimum pain.
To understand why bones break, it helps to know what bones do and what they are made of. There are 206 bones in the body that form the human skeleton, which supports and protects the softer parts of the body. Bones are living tissue. They grow rapidly during one's early years, and renew themselves when they are broken. Bones are made up of bone cells, proteins, and minerals, like calcium. Your diet has a big effect on the strength and health of your bones. Because of their unique structure, bones can bear large amounts of weight.
Causes of Fracture
- From a sudden high impact injury - often a fall or an accident.
- Any bone disease will make the bone weak and fragile increasing the tendency for fractures.
- Osteoporosis - that is loss of bone mass due to old age, not enough physical activity and hormonal imbalance can make the bones too soft to survive injury.
- A rare disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta is a birth defect in which the tissue forming the bone does not develop properly, resulting in abnormally weak bones making them vulnerable to fractures.
- Tumors in bone, both benign and malignant (cancerous), can replace healthy tissue and weaken bones, making them more vulnerable to fracture.
- Cancer treatments like Chemotherapy can cause bones to weaken leading to bone fractures.
- Nutritional deficiencies, such as rickets, in which the body does not absorb enough vitamin D, can weaken bones. Those who are underweight also risk loosing bone mass and strength, as low body weight causes the body to stop producing estrogen. Young women who suffer from severe weight loss or anorexia may develop osteoporosis as early as their 20's, and bones may remain thin and weak even after recovery.
- Runners or tennis players may experience stress fractures, in which fatigued muscles transfer stress to the bone, gradually causing a tiny crack to form.
Types of Fractures
A break can be anything from a hairline fracture (a thin break in the bone) to the bone being broken into two or more pieces. The break can be directly across the width, lengthwise, obliquely or spirally.
The two main types of fractures are:
Closed or simple fracture: where the bone is broken but skin is intact.
Open or compound fracture is when the bone protrudes through the skin, creating a risk of infection to both the skin and the bone.
These two fractures are further classified into the following different types:
A complete fracture is when the bone has broken into two pieces.
A greenstick fracture is an incomplete fracture when the bone cracks one side only, not all the way through.
A single fracture is when the bone is broken in one place.
A comminuted fracture is when the bone is broken into more than two pieces or crushed.
A spiral fracture when the break spirals around the bone, common in twisting injury.
A transverse fracture where the break is in a straight line across the bone.
A bending fracture which only happens in kids, is when the bone bends but doesn't break, producing deformity.
A displaced fracture is when the bone has moved out of alignment.
When bones are fractured, they expose internal organs to injury as well; injured vertebrae can harm the delicate spinal cord; a broken rib can damage chest organs such as the heart or lungs.
Symptoms of Fractures
- A fractured limb will be swollen, bruised, tender, and immobile.
- Pain could be from a deep ache to a very sharp pain, and is made worse by movement.
- Obvious deformity in the injured area.
- The fractured person may feel faint or nauseous.
- Blood loss sometimes may also lead to shock.
The following treatments are used for various types of fractures.
- Elevation of the injured part to reduce bleeding and swelling
- Splint/cast – to immobilize the injured area to encourage bone alignment and healing
- Medication (for pain control)
- Traction – is the application of a force to stretch the muscles and tendons around the broken bone to allow the bone ends to align and heal. Traction consists of pulleys, strings, weights, and a metal frame attached over or on the bed
- Surgery - to put certain types of broken bones back into place. Internal fixation (metal rods or pins located inside the bone) or external fixation devices (metal rods or pins located outside of the body) are used to hold the bone fragments in place to allow alignment and healing
Homeopathic Approach to Fractures
Homeopathy provides many significant medicines in treating people who suffer from accidents and injuries. When these medicines are used in combination with conventional procedures, the risk of long-term damage from an injury can be significantly decreased and the healing process can be noticeably improved. Homeopathic medicines will help build and maintain a healthy, resilient skeleton that can support and speed up healing over the fractured site by enhancing circulation, can also be used as an antiseptic to avoid infections in case of open fractures. Patients treated homeopathically experience less pain, have fewer side effects, and recover faster. The goal of this Homeopathic approach is to enliven the body's natural healing and self-repair ability to not only help recover your fracture, but also create the highest state of health and well-being. Homeopathic remedies are also non–habit forming and have no addictive characteristics.
- Adequate amounts of calcium are needed to develop and maintain healthy bones.
- Bones also get stronger and denser with regular but not excessive exercise esp. weight bearing exercises such as running, walking or sports, which can be modified according to your age.
- Children are recommended to take 800 mg of calcium daily, adolescents should take in 1300 mg of calcium daily. Women are recommended to take 1000 mg daily; and men and women above the age of 50 are recommended to take in 1200 mg of calcium daily.
Hence, homeopathic treatment along with conventional procedures should be considered for healthy and fast healing of bones, and restoring normal muscle strength, joint motion and flexibility.