Thursday, March 29, 2018

What You Can Eat And Do To Speed Bone Repair

Whether you fall off your bike or are injured in an Uber accident, a bone fracture or other injury not only means lots of pain in the short-term but potential issues in the long-term if you don’t properly attend to them. This starts with making sure that you get proper medical care and see a doctor shortly after your accident, but this isn’t how the situation ends. You also need to make sure that you combine following a doctor’s instructions along with other important factors.

Two of the most important things to think about are making sure you get the proper nutrients and create the proper physical stage for your body to do its work in terms of healing. This may help speed up your recovery process, not necessarily directly, but by making sure the parts of your body that actually control your healing have all the fuel they need.

A Bone-Friendly Diet

The process of repair after bone fractures isn’t necessarily that different than repairing muscle or tissue. Your body needs fuel to power the processes that lead to healing, as well as the materials to actually create what is being repaired, bone in this case.

You probably already know one example of this: the classic calcium. But there are several different other factors that you need to keep in mind when it comes to eating right for bones. For example, calcium isn’t limited to dairy foods, and if you are thinking about overall health, there may be even more foods you want to consider. Examples include:
  • Sea vegetables (seaweed, etc)
  • Leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach)
  • Salmon
In addition, if you have certain dairy sensitivities, you may want to look at unsweetened, cultured dairy products, like kefir and yogurt.

There are several other vitamin components. Some of these include nutrients that help calcium reach its maximum potential, like magnesium. Others play roles of their own. Good examples include vitamin K, lean protein, zinc, and vitamin C.         

In addition, there are some foods you may want to avoid, like alcohol, excessive salt, or caffeine.

These have their own issues, but eating too many of these foods mean it’s likely you’re not getting the nutrients your bones need.

A Bone-Friendly Lifestyle

Now, when your bone first breaks and is set by a doctor, you already know about having a cast over the next few months. However, these don’t actually help your bones heal, merely keeping it stable so your body can do its job. This means that you want to make sure that you perform proper cast maintenance to make sure that this good environment stays as a good environment. Avoid contact with water or moisture. What you might also want to do is invest in a cast protector. There are other things that can interfere with the healing process as well. These can include:
  • Movement of the bone fragments or doing weight-bearing exercise too soon after recovery.
  • Smoking. This interferes with recovery in general by constricting the blood vessels and decreases circulation
  • Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, hormone-related problems or vascular disease
  • Certain medications, such as corticosteroids and other immunosuppressants.
Some of these are within your control, some are not. Keep an open dialogue with your doctor and be prepared to be patient during recovery.

In time, we may be able to add experimental treatments and medicine to your list of possible bone support options as well. When it comes to aging, this attends to a major issue. Of the roughly 5.6 million fractures in the United States each year, between five and ten percent (up to 560,000) will heal slowly or incompletely. Aging is a major factor here, not only because the fractures take longer to heal, but also because falls are a major cause of fractures among the elderly.

“The skeleton loses the ability to repair itself as we age,” said Regis J. O’Keefe, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Orthopedics at the University of Rochester Medical Center. In one study that he worked on, studies showed that an experimental drug designed to treat levels of COX-2 in mice helped bones regenerate faster, even in older mice.

When it comes to treating your bones right, it’s important to remember that things go way beyond just drinking your milk. Your body has tremendous recovery capacity, but you need to do your part to help it along.

This is a guest blog entry.

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