It has been estimated that at least six million people in the U.S. break a bone in the body each year, and painful breaks can happen to anyone of any age. Recovering from a broken bone can take a lot of time and patience, but there are things you can do to speed the recovery process and get back to your normal activities. Here is some information about healing broken bones and how to help yourself naturally heal after a break.
Symptoms of a Broken Bone
Pain is the most obvious sign of a broken bone, but there are also other symptoms to watch for when you have suffered an injury. Depending on which body part is affected, common symptoms include bruising, swelling, inability to put weight on the bone, and loss of motion. With severe breaks that include open fractures, the bone may also protrude out from the skin. You might hear a snap, pop, or grinding noise when a bone is broken. It is also very possible to feel dizzy or faint from the pain and shock of breaking a bone.
How Long Does a Bone Take to Heal?
On average, it takes at least six to 12 weeks for a broken bone to heal. However, the bones of children tend to heal more quickly than those of adults, especially older adults. Severe breaks of bones will usually take several months to heal, and residual pain and weakness could linger for years to come. This time of healing often means not being able to play your favorite sports, exercise as you normally do, or simply get around the house in a convenient way.
How to Help a Broken Bone Heal
Many people are quick to reach for a bottle of aspirin or ibuprofen when they’re in pain from a broken bone, but these types of over-the-counter medication can actually slow down the healing process. Doctors often recommend Tylenol instead for pain relief, as well as natural supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin C. Certain minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, zinc, silicon, and copper also contribute to bone health and should be incorporate into a healing diet
It’s also often recommended to increase your protein intake during the healing process so that your body can rebuild strong bones. Your caloric needs may change while you are recovering, so it may be necessary to consume more calories at this time.
While you may not be able to do your normal exercise routine while recovering from a broken bone, exercise is still beneficial because it boosts blood flow to the injured area. Ask your doctor or physical therapist for recommendations of exercises that are safe for you to do during the recovery phase. Just make sure not to overdo it as your broken bone heals so you don’t set yourself back with a subsequent injury that could have been avoided. Finally, avoid smoking cigarettes while you are healing because the many chemicals they contain slow down the healing process too.