Of all the hours I spend mindlessly grazing on the ever green grass called the interwebs, a lot of my time definitely goes to watching YouTube Videos – Epic Fails to be exact!
OMG, you wouldn’t believe the number of people who end up with broken arms and legs; it’s always funnier when it’s an irresponsible, teen punk skater dude. So whether you literally broke a leg doing your job or fractured your arm doing something you regret, this segment’s for everyone who’s been in a cast – but not in a movie.
Broken bones vary from simple greenstick fracture in children that needs minimal care to injuries involving multiple fractures, broken ligaments and tendons and bone displacements requiring surgical intervention.
While essential oils cannot repair a broken bone on their own, they can surely assist in making the healing process faster and reducing the discomfort.
What Is A Bone Fracture?
Fracture is the medical term doctors use to describe a broken bone – and yes, it’s just as ugly and painful as it sounds.
In this case, there could either be a partial, complete, or even shatter-like break in the bone continuity. Fractures are usually as a result of stress, disease, injury, or high force impact.
Fortunately, broken bones are easy to treat; in fact, they’re so common that the average person will have about two in their lifetime. I’m sure there are some of you interested in more facts and statistics about bone fractures!
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Bone Fractures?
The symptoms of bone fractures vary somewhat depending on the affected area. Similarly, the severity of the break will drastically enhance the symptoms.
Let’s just say that if your arm snaps and folds over in half, you won’t need me to tell you it’s broken. However, here’s the basic layout of how fractures feel.
- Sharp pain
- Swelling and bruising
- Skin discoloration around area
- Area bent at an unusual angle
- Unable to move or put weight on fractured area
- Grating sensation within the skin
- Peeking pieces of bone from skin plus bleeding
Types Of Broken Bones
Fractures come in all shape, sizes, and locations; here are a few of the different types of fractures.
Hairline Fracture – This is hands down the most common type of fracture, especially infamous for its overuse in medical movies. It simply refers to a partial bone fracture that is quite hard to see with regular X-ray.
Crush Fracture – This type of fracture is usually found in the spongy bone in your spine as a result of impact or diseases like osteoporosis.
Longitudinal Fracture – As the name suggests, this type of fracture describes a break along the length of the bone.
Impacted Fracture – This type usually happens when one fragment of broken bone goes into another.
Fracture Dislocation – In this case, your joint becomes dislocated since one of the joint has a break.
Stress Fracture – This type of fracture happens as a result of repeated strain and stress; it’s actually quite common among athletes.
Transverse Fracture – Refers to a straight break right across the bone.
Spiral Fracture – This refers to a bone fracture where at least one part has been twisted to breaking point.
What Are the Causes Of Bone Fractures?
Bones are quite strong with a design that allows them to absorb pressure upon impact. However, they can only absorb so much before breaking. Impacts and accidents are just some of the causes of broken bones. Other common causes include:
Trauma – This encompasses all the usual twists, falls, fights, sports injuries, car accidents, epic bmx fails, among others.
Overuse Injuries – These are stress fractures that occur due to repetitive motions that put pressure on one particular bone. These are very common in athletes.
Medical Conditions – Some medical conditions can actually weaken the bone structure. These include bone cancer, osteopenia, osteoporosis, osteogenesis, among others.
Facts About Broken Bones
The two images below show some interesting facts about broken bones, read on…
How To Treat Broken Bones
Here are some options to treat broken bones:
A: First Aid
Naturally, the first thing to do when either you or a friend gets broken bones is to administer first aid. Once that’s done, then we can get into the medical treatment, and use essential oils to heal your battered bones and bruised skin.
The first thing you need to do is stop any bleeding if present. This is done by applying pressure on the wound with a clean cloth.
Next, you need to immobilize the injured area. Whether it’s a broken neck, back, or hand, help the person to remain as still as possible. You can immobilize the area with a sling or splint.
One that’s done, apply an ice pack or cold compress to the area and then treat the person for shock. Of course, if you’re the patient, you’ll just have to talk yourself out of the shock.
Finally, you should have already called the paramedics or if able, take yourself to the nearest hospital for treatment.
Bone healing is a completely natural process, so all fracture treatments aim to ensure the best possible healing, recovery, and function of the injured part.
To do this, the most common treatment forms revolve around restoring the broken bones to the natural position and maintaining it as the bones heal. The bone is aligned (painful unless under anaesthesia) and then immobilized using a fiberglass or plaster cast until it heals.
Surgical procedures for resetting broken bones are only recommended if the other types of conservative treatments are either likely to fail or reduce functionality of the affected area. Some cases like hip fractures could cause long term immobilization if not operated on.
Without surgery, some fractures could cause pressure sores, pulmonary embolism, infections, among other health issues. Occasionally, bone grafting techniques could be used to treat fractures while other instances will require metal reinforcements such as titanium alloy.
Low intensity pulsed ultrasound has been known to speed up healing and recovery process significantly. Likewise, vitamin D supplements seem to marginally reduce the risk of getting some types of fractures.
Are Essential Oils Useful In Bone Healing?
The short answer is a BIG yes! Let’s see why…
People start building bone mass when they are young, hitting their highest bone density at around 30 years old. At this point, our bones will have reached their maximum strength and density.
However, by the time we reach 40, we start to lose bone mass – needless to say that this becomes an important factor in determining our future quality of life and overall health. Loss in bone density brings about weaker bones and is known to be the underlying cause for several life threatening and degenerative medical conditions.
Use of essential oils can help maintain this bone density, allowing an individual to live a healthy life. Using them in the formative years of an individual’s life can help build stronger bones that are less susceptible to damage.
Apart from this, if you already have a fracture or a bone disease, essential oils can speed up the healing process and reduce the discomfort involved in the treatment.
How Do Essential Oils Help With Bone Healing?
Whether we’re talking about a fractured leg or a broken toe, the healing and recovery process for bones is always the same. It’s a very complicated process that takes quite some, but the body starts healing fractures the same way. So, how do you help your bones heal faster? With essential oils of course!
But let me just say this straight off the bat; obviously, essential oils alone won’t heal broken bones all by themselves. You’ll need to go to a doctor, have the bone properly set and casted or put in some sort of immobilization device.
Once the fracture has been properly tended to in a hospital, that’s the time to introduce essential oils as a complementary, supplement therapy. So, how do essential oils help with bone healing?
Well, some essential oils are rich in healing properties that target the quick healing and recovery of lost bone mass. See, for bones to heal, they need two main things. Great blood circulation to the area, as well as elevated temperatures which are known to speed up healing. With the right essential oils, you get both these benefits and a whole lot more.
Essential oils will also speed up the healing process by helping repair damaged tissue around the fracture. Likewise, you can also use essential oils to relieve pain and promote relaxation as your bones heal.
Last but not least, research shows that essential oils which are rich in monoterpenes, thymol, and camphor actually inhibit any further loss of calcium from your bones. So people with bone-loss related diseases like osteoporosis will greatly benefit from Mother Nature’s healing tonic.
How To Use Essential Oils For Broken Bones
Before we get into the best essential oils for the job, let’s take a quick look at how you can use essential oils to heal broken bones. Remember, broken bones take quite a long time to heal, that’s why it’s best to use your oils in different ways to achieve wholesome results.
One of the easiest and most popular ways to use essential oils is aromatherapy. This simply refers to using the aromatic properties of essential oils to get the benefits. Aromatherapy works great because it allows the oils to sneak into your body through your nose and spread their healing goodness all around.
Similarly, some types of fractures will really benefit from direct or topical application. By applying a diluted blend of essential oils to the affected area, you bless that area with all the healing properties of the blend. The oils get absorbed into the skin and reach the bone to deliver analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and other healing components to the fracture.
Best 6 Essential Oils You Can Use For Healing Stress Fractures & Broken Bones
Widely renowned for its potent analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, Helichrysum has also become famous for its ability to help speed up bone repair. That’s because this oil contains medicinal properties that allow it to improve blood circulation, decrease muscle aches, accelerate healing, strengthen the nervous system and regenerate damaged nerves around the broken bone.
This ability to rebuild cells, ligaments and tissues is incredibly helpful in the recovery process, especially for some types of breaks like crush fractures
This might as well be the most crucial yet overlooked oil when it comes to healing broken bones. Sage has been used to heal skin injuries for decades now because of its potent anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties.
This allows it to bring down inflammation and swelling while soothing local pain. But what makes Sage perfect for healing broken bones is the fact that it is ripe with monoterpenes such as camphor, thujone, and cineole. They allow Sage to prevent the loss of calcium from your bones.
Everyone knows peppermint possesses some serious antispasmodic, analgesic and anesthetic properties. These combined with its cooling properties create one of the most effective pain relievers of all time.
Likewise, peppermint essential oil contains anti-inflammatory properties that bring down swelling and the ability to reduce muscle spasms. This makes peppermint the ideal natural treatment for broken bones and fractures.
Lavender may just be the best oil for aromatherapy due to its unique array of properties. Lavender works quite differently from all the other essential oils on this list because it helps soothe most symptoms associated with physical injuries.
These include migraines, nausea, headaches, among others. Lavender also helps bring down anxiety and relieve nervous tension to help you sleep through the night.
Most people may not be aware of this, but Rosemary actually contains mostly monoterpenes. This allows it to prevent any calcium loss and ensure your bones set and heal properly.
Rosemary also contains antibacterial and antifungal properties which help prevent infections and antioxidant capabilities which speed up the recovery process.
This essential oil, being an anti-spasmodic is excellent for the circulatory system. You can use it to promote blood flow to the affected area, which in turn will help support and heal the broken bone.
5 Essential Oils Recipes For Broken Bones
Recipe 1: Easy Blend for Stress Fractures
- 8 drops Sage
- 6 drops Thyme
- 4 drops Rosemary
- 1 ounce Fractionated Coconut oil
Here’s an easy to brew blend that works well for a wide range of fractures. To make use of the blend, start by mixing all the essential oils in a small bottle and topping it off with coconut oil.
Apply a small amount on the affected area and massage the surrounding skin with gentle, circular motions. The blend should seep into the skin and reach the bone. Repeat 3 times a day until your injury gets better.
Recipe 2: Healing Broken Bone Recipe
- 7 drops Rosemary
- 5 drops Helichrysum
- 4 drops Eucalyptus
- 2 drops Cypress
- 3 drops Fir
- 1 ounce Sweet Almond Oil
Like I said earlier, essential oils are necessary to complement any type of bone treatment. While your bones will heal naturally, using essential oils help speed up the process and restore lost function to the area.
For this one, I chose essential oils that are rich in monoterpenes to prevent any further bone loss and encourage bone regeneration. Making the recipe is easy because all you have to do is to blend the above oils in a dark glass bottle and apply to the affected bone area twice a day.
Recipe 3: Infused Blend for Bruised Bones
- 6 drops Peppermint
- 7 drops Rosemary
- 4 drops Sage
- 3 drops Lavender
- 1 ounce CBD Hemp Oil
Sometimes, the bones get bruised instead of breaking. It’s these bruises that turn to hairline fractures if just a bit more pressure is exerted. Whether freshly bruised or recovering from fracture, bruised bones can be very painful.
So why not try out this here blend. Start by combining your essential oils in a non-reactive bowl and adding in CBD hemp oil to dilute. Give the ingredients a good stir and apply to the bruised area with slow, gentle and circular motions. Repeat twice a day until the bruising subsides.
Recipe 4: Effective Blend for all Types of Bone Fracture
- 7 drops Cinnamon
- 6 drops Clove
- 5 drops Marjoram
- 4 drops Orange
- 8 drops Cypress
- 2 ounces Olive Oil
Blend all the above oils in a dark glass container. Apply on the impacted areas twice a day. For better results, you can wrap the affected area with a warm towel after the blend is applied.
Recipe 5: Peppermint and Eucalyptus Blend
Due to their analgesic and cooling properties, using a blend of peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils makes it easy for the patient to bear the pain and temporarily override the discomfort following a broken bone.
For this blend, you will need:
- 1 ounce carrier oil (Sweet Almond, Olive etc.)
- 8 drops of Eucalyptus
- 12 drops of Peppermint
Mix in the above oils in a dark glass container. Use 5-10 drops of the blend and gently massage over the impacted areas to ease the pain. Adding the carrier oil is necessary to dilute the essential oils so that the blend doesn’t irritate the skin.
Tips For Massaging Broken Bone Injuries
Of course, topical application of essential oils always goes hand in hand with a little massage. Massaging the affected area helps to get the blood flowing and speed up the recovery process. It also helps relieve the tension of being in a cast for weeks or months.
The truth is, bone fractures come with extensive recovery periods which will interfere with your athletic activities or even day to day life. But with proper treatment and the right massaging techniques, you can recover faster and restore your normal range of function and motion.
Therefore, understanding how and why massage therapy is crucial to healing fractures will really help move things along.
The first tip in recovering from bone injuries is to reduce stiffness in the area and increase the range of motion for surrounding joints. Massage therapy helps increase movement while relaxing the muscles, restoring the integrity of nearby tissues and managing any pain experienced during the process.
Other tips include being gentle and making sure you don’t exert too much pressure on the bone while massaging. Instead, work the soft flesh around the bone with EOs.
Similarly, make sure you don’t get your cast wet or oily while massaging, Keep it clean at all times so you don’t have to go through the pain of recasting again.
How To Prevent Bone Fractures
Breaking a bone becomes more likely and severe as we age. To avoid reduced function and unnecessarily long healing times, it’s important to find ways to prevent fractures in the first place.
a) Avoid Falls
Most cases of broken bones occur as a result of falling over or losing your footing. If you can learn to improve your balance and strengthen your muscles, you can avoid some potentially bone breaking falls.
- Practice balance exercises every day
- Strengthen your muscles
- Get your vision checked regularly
b) Check your Meds
Some medications also come with side effects like dizziness or sleepiness. These include heart medications, water pills, tranquilizers, muscle relaxers, and blood pressure pills.
Likewise, alcoholic beverages also increase your risk of falling. Be extra careful when using these medications because they could encourage loss of balance.
c) Keep your Bones Strong
We all lose a certain bone mass or density overtime. This is why the risk of broken bones increases with age. To prevent fractures from overly fragile bones, make sure you:
- Exercise a few times a week
- Get a bone mineral density test
- Supplement your diet with Vitamin D and Calcium
Outdoor Safety Tips
- Be wary of your surroundings, especially slippery, wet floors
- Use a shoulder bag to leave your hands free to protect you in case of falls
- Wear sturdy boots with plenty of rubber traction
- Use a cane or walker for added stability, especially in wet areas
Indoors Safety Tips
- Be wary of level differences when entering a room
- Keep your house and rooms free of clutter
- Wear low heeled support shoes even in the house
- Avoid walking around in socks or stockings
- Make sure all your carpets and rugs have skid-proof backing
- Keep cords and electrical wires tucked away
- Install grab bars in showers, toilets, tubs, and anywhere else in the house
- Always have a flashlight nearby
- Use bright bulbs in your home
Foods That Help Heal Broken Bones
While there are foods that can heal bones, there are others that you should avoid.
Foods to include in your diet while you are recovering from a fractured bone:
- Lean Protein – Whether it’s a multiple fracture or a cut, the body cannot rebuild any lost tissue without an upped intake of protein. If possible, try to consume about 5 ounces of organic, lean protein such as grass fed beef or wild caught fish daily.
- Calcium – As the main mineral found in bones, it’s only natural that increasing your intake of calcium rich foods will help accelerate the healing process. So try as much as possible to eat the following foods ripe with calcium; cheese, milk, yogurt, almond, chia seeds, sardine and canned salmon, beans, lentils, amasai, kefir, kale, bok choy and other green leafy vegetables.
- Vitamin C – Here’s a vitamin that anyone with a fractured bone needs to always have stocked. Vitamin C is necessary for making collagen – a crucial component found in skin and tissues. Fortunately, plenty of fruits and vegetables are ripe with Vitamin C including citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, mango, papaya, broccoli, tomatoes, among others.
- Zinc – For the bones to rebuild, your body needs zinc. Zinc supplementation helps in callus formation, improves bone protein production and therefore stimulates fracture healing. Try to increase your intake of red meat, seafood, nuts, seeds, eggs and whole grains.
- Vitamin K – Vitamin K is essential for the clotting of blood as is the case with open fractures. It also helps to bind calcium to the bone to form bone protein, therefore helps with healing of bones. Foods rich in vitamin K include spinach, broccoli, cheese, kefir, kale, brussels sprouts, among others.
- Vitamin D – This vitamin helps the blood absorb calcium and build up minerals in your bones, so make it a part of your diet. The best source of this vitamin is believe it or not, sunlight. So to get a good dose of Vitamin D, it’s a good idea to spend a bit of time outdoors everyday.
Foods That Weaken Bones
Try to avoid these as much as possible to make the bone healing process faster:
- Sodium Chloride – Did you know that sodium chloride actually makes you lose calcium from your urine and therefore weakens the bones? To protect yourself, limit the amount of salt you use to less than half a teaspoon a day.
- Alcohol – In addition to causing a myriad of other health issues, alcohol has been known to promote bone protein loss and increase inflammation. This is the opposite of what you want if you have fractured or broken bones. Also imagine the scenario of being unsteady on your feet after consuming alcohol and falling and breaking another bone!
- Caffeine – Did you know that beverages containing caffeine have compounds that bind to calcium? This prevents calcium form being absorbed to the bone and results in slowing down the healing process.
- Cola and Sweetened Beverages – It’s no secret that cola contains phosphorous which can actually strip calcium from your bones. Combine that with the excessive sugar which promotes bone loss and it’s easy to see why some beverages are not great for healing of bones.
The Final Word
Healthy bones and joints offer flexibility, mobility and steadiness. However, continuous activity can push these bones to their limits, leading to loss of cartilage and decreased mobility. Using essential oils can help heal broken bones fast as well as keeping the bones and joints flexible and healthy.
That said, we now conclude another informative segment on healthy living. Hopefully now, you know all about broken bones as well as how to prevent and treat fractures. But while the bones are incredibly strong and will always heal over time, the recovery process takes longer and longer as we age. So make sure you take great care of your bones and they’ll take great care of you too!