It happens to many of us–a broken bone. It can be in your finger or it can be in your leg, but no matter where it is it usually hurts, and if you don’t take the time to let it heal properly, you could be dealing with the repercussions for the rest of your life.
Thankfully, medical technology will do a lot for you when it comes to a broken bone. Not only will you be able to known just how badly a bone is broken (if it is out of place or broken in multiple pieces), you will be able to monitor the healing process through diagnostic imaging.
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Bones notoriously take a long time to heal, and it’s not surprising when you look at the facts. Not only are bones those things that give us form and function, bones provide us with protection and a healthy supply of stem cells to replace our old cells when they reach their functioning limit.
There are 206 bones in the adult human body, and when they are healthy, bones are as strong as granite (ounce for ounce) in supporting weight. Think about it; your bones support you when you’re 100 pounds, but also support you when you’re 300.
But, like all parts of the human body, bones are not infallible. Sometimes a direct hit to a bone or an injury to a bone that was unhealthy can cause a break, and that break generally grinds any physical activity you were involved with to a screeching halt.
Minor bone fractures can take as little as 6 weeks to heal, while larger breaks can take 3 or 4 months. Some bones, depending on where they are located or how many breaks are present also require months of physical therapy after the healing process to ensure full use and range of motion returns.
So how do I help a my broken bone heal faster?
There is no magic potion to make a bone heal in half the time, but there are ways you can give your bone the best chances of healing in the shortest time possible. According to the Center for Better Bones, these are some steps that can help a broken bone heal:
- Make sure you’re eating the right amount of calories: It may not seem like it, but your body is using a lot of energy to repair that broken bone. Just because you are suddenly sidelined with an injury doesn’t mean you should cut way down on your diet. A severely broken bone could demand up to 6,000 calories a day for healing!
- Check your protein intake: You might not associate protein with bone health, but when it comes to helping a broken bone heal, this is one area you need to pay attention to. Bones are made up of “living” protein, and depriving your body of protein during the healing process will result in a soft bone callus rather than the rigid ones necessary for bone strength.
- Take calcium and lysine: Calcium is essential to bone health, but if you don’t have the right amino acids, it isn’t going to be as productive as it could be. Lysine is important when it comes to calcium absorption, so make sure you include that in your dietary routine.
- Increase antioxidants: Now is the time to start eating those foods rich in antioxidants. While it’s important to include antioxidants for cellular health, these compounds are also important in reducing inflammation at the site of the break. Inflammation can continue for weeks after the initial injury, and until inflammation starts to go away, the healing process will not fully engage.
- Make sure to get enough minerals in general: While calcium is a must, experts indicate most people are deficient in essential minerals even when they aren’t trying to heal a broken bone. Make sure you get enough calcium, zinc, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, and silicon.
- Check your vitamins: Like minerals, certain vitamins can help that broken bone heal faster. Make sure to get enough vitamin K, C, B6 and D.
- Consider your natural aids: Though not approved by Western medicine, there are some herbal remedies to help speed bone healing. People interested in adding alternative therapies should look into the use of arnica, wild comfrey, horsetailgrass, and burdock leaf poultice. Be sure to consult with an herbalist and your physician before using one of these suggestions.
- Exercise: Granted, there are some things you can and can’t do with a broken bone, but if you are able to be mobile without risk of displacing the bone, you should do so. Being active promotes blood flow and thus speeds healing.
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