Bones, along with muscles, joints, and ligaments, are part of our musculo-skeletal system. This group of organs has important functions in our body, which includes maintaining posture, performing movement, and even providing protection to our vital organs.
Although a typical bone is made up of tough and dense organic material, in some cases it may also be susceptible to damage. There are a lot of types of disorders that may occur in the musculoskeletal system. Some of the most common conditions include sprains, fractures, dislocation, and even inflammation.
This article focuses more on the treatment and care of fractures, or broken bones. The reason for this scope is that fractures have become one of the most frequent reasons for seeking medical consult these days. In addition, leaving a broken bone untreated may result to further complications.
Fractures can take several weeks to several months to heal completely. Some injuries can be easily managed without surgical intervention but severe cases will always need the intervention of an orthopedic surgeon.
A very simple first aid guideline to take note of is Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate, most commonly called RICE treatment. This immediate treatment does not intend to replace the care given by a physician. Instead, it aims to assist the course of the treatment as an initial measure to ensure good prognosis.
“Rest” is the first thing to do with a fractured bone. You have to immobilize the injured area to prevent further damage. This also means to take a break from your regular activities. Next is “Ice”. Placing ice over the injured area has also been proven to be beneficial in the treatment of fractures. This is because bones might not be the only tissue that have been damaged in a fracture and it should be made sure that damage of other tissues, such as arteries and veins, are addressed as well. Apply the cold compress on the area regularly but do not forget to wrap the ice pack in a dry towel as this can prevent moisture to build up on the cast. “Compression” of the affected area is also performed routinely. Similar to ice, applying pressure on the fractured area will help blood vessels to constrict and thus reduce fluid from leaking. Pressure and low temperature prevents swelling from progressing. “Elevating” the affected area has also shown to be beneficial. In doing this, the fluid that accumulated is drawn back to the body away from the limb. This also reduces the typical swelling in a broken bone injury.
As a supplement to the RICE treatment, the next optional step will be to relieve you from the pain. Oral over the counter medication such as Ibuprofen (Advil) and Celecoxib (Celebrex) may be given to lessen the pain and reduce the inflammation as well. With proper care, most fractures can heal completely and patients can then resume with their normal activities.