In medical parlance a broken bone is referred to as a fracture regardless of its severity. Fractures are divided into simple (the skin is not broken) and compound fractures (the skin and surrounding tissues are damaged). A fracture is considered to be complicated if a blood vessel or nerve has been damaged. Further subdivisions describe the break, such as: complete (where the bone is separated), incomplete (there is just a crack) and multiple (several fragments are visible on X-ray). The term ‘greenstick’ fracture is now used less frequently but refers to a crack in the bone.
If there has been displacement there is usually deformity visible but this is not always the case. Diagnosis of a fracture is difficult without an X-ray but one must suspect a fracture and seek medical attention in any injury that has:
Discolouration from bruising
An inability to bear weight.
Immediate first aid
If a break is suspected, organize medical attention.
Whilst awaiting medical expertise, immobilize the suspected broken bone by splintering to a piece of wood or similar material or, in the case of the lower limb, the other leg. Fingers and toes can be used similarly.
Homeopathically the following routines should be administered: Aconite 6 or 12, four pills every lOmin, or Aconite 30 every half-hour for Ihr; then Arnica 30 alternating with Symphytum 30 until the pain has diminished.
Calcium and magnesium supplements should be taken at a maximum dose as recommended on packaging.
Increase your protein intake. The calcium in bones is attached to a protein network and both are required for rapid bone healing.
After medical treatment
Medical treatment will include assessment, pain relief and immobilization. If there is much swelling in the area, a plaster of Paris ‘back slab’ will be used. This is only a partial circumference plaster that prevents the swelling from being compressed. After keeping the damaged area raised above the heart (to help decrease the swelling) for 24-72 hours, a full plaster of Paris or fibre-glass plaster will immobilize the bone for, on average, six weeks. More aggressive fractures may require much longer in plaster.
Whilst in plaster the muscles will lose approximately 15-20 per cent of their mass, which is usually rebuilt within a few weeks following the correct exercises.
Follow your orthopaedic consultant’s advice. It never pays to shorten the expected healing time, especially if a break is around a joint because this will lead to an increased risk of arthritis.
The homeopathic remedy Symphytum 30 should be taken three times a day for at least half the length of time you are expecting to be in plaster and if, following further X-rays, the healing is slow, also use the remedy Calcarea phosphorica 30, twice a day for the remainder of time in the plaster.
The herbal remedy comfrey can be taken as tea but not more than one mugful every two days because it may have a toxic effect on the liver if taken in large quantity.
Attend a physiotherapist. The techniques of muscle exercise and ultrasound and electromagnetic therapy can speed up repair.
Ensure that you exercise the joints and muscles that are not restricted by the plaster.
Any injured part will be compensated by its opposite side. This generally leads to an imbalance in the structure and a visit to an osteopath, Polarity therapist, Shiatsu practitioner or Alexander technician is advised as soon as the injury has been secured.
Acupuncture can be very beneficial in speeding up long-term injuries. Electro-acupuncture is most beneficial.