When complete bone fractures occur, the broken bone becomes unstable because there is nothing that will hold the other ends of the bones. The tendency now is for the endpoints of the bones to move back and forth which can create painful sensation known as the micromotion. When the bone undergoes treatment and begins to heal, it will undergo different stages of healing. The first stage would be osteoclasts. This is the process wherein the bones will release cells that can break down very small bone fragments that were the result of the fracture. This will be followed by the formation of the callus around the fractured area which then calcifies. As soon as the callus formed, the fractured bones can no longer move thus pain can subside. When the callus is fully calcified, osteoblasts follow. This is the process in which the cartilage will be replaced by true bone and this will eventually reform the fracture and then return the structure of the bone to its true form.
Causes of Bone Healing Pain
Bone healing pain is always part of the healing process of bone fractures. This is the way on how the body can cope up with the injury. The injured part will send signal to the brain and the brain will send pain signals to the injured part so that we can address treatment to the injury. However, there are certain fractures that are hard-to-heal and need extra care and medical treatment before pain will subside. Examples of these fractures are the pelvic fractures and spine fractures. Doctors cannot easily immobilize these bones because they are located in between large mass of muscles which therefore make them harder to treat.
Generally, pelvic fractures can take months to heal so the patient may suffer pain for eight months to a year. After this period, callus formation will appear and the pain can subside. Another painful experience with fractures are from multiple fractures suffered by persons who have bone condition know as osteoporosis. Because of the underlying bones degeneration these people have, bone healing would be much longer and as the bones are not in their healing stage, pain may continue to haunt the patient from time to time.
Coping with the Pain – How To Reduce It
Sadly, some fractures that are hard-to-heal contribute to the high mortality of people who are suffering from osteoporosis while some may die of complications. However, some of them can bear the pain and can learn to cope up with it until the bone is completely out of danger and begin to show signs of healing. Some of the latest discoveries in dealing with bone healing pain include the use of teriparitide. This is a form of drug that was approved by the FDA in 2002 and its function is to hasten the healing of bone thus can also promote pain relief to the bone.
With regards to the use of other usual methods of pain reliever such as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), some doctors do not recommend them at all because it was found out that they can contribute to kidney and liver impairment, risk of having congestive heart failure and gastrointestinal problems to some people. Examples of NSAIDs are the aspirin, ibuprofen, and COX-2 inhibitors. The use of COX-2 may also impair the healing of ligaments. There are also significant findings that there is a relation between the use of NSAIDs and nonunion of bone fractures. Recently, it was found out that people who use NSAIDs have about 2 month’s longer healing time than people who do not use any drug at all for their pain reliever.
Alternative Treatment in Alleviating Bone Pain
We are now faced with the reality that there aren’t a lot of pain relievers out there that can be used as pain reliever alternatives. Acetaminophen does not belong with the NSAID and it is an effective pain killer. However, some doctors will not recommend it because of the past complications that have been recorded with its use. The most prominent ones were its contribution to the liver and kidney impairment of the patients as well as it can produce bleeding of the stomach or ulcers. Since using pain relievers for bone healing pain can cause further complications, then it is better to switch to alternative form of pain reliever.
So far, when it comes to alternative use for acetaminophen, bromelain has been seen as the best alternative and you can find this on pineapple so this is almost free of side effects. Anyone can eat pineapple but there are also drugs that are concentrated with bromelain component. However, better consult your doctor about it. Some patients are taking 500 mg of bromelain three times a day to manage their pain while their bones are under their healing process.
How Your Doctor Can Help You
If you are suffering from pain with your fracture, better discuss this with your physician. He may recommend you other alternatives in managing the pain in your fracture. You can also discuss diet, things to avoid and some form of exercises which can help you alleviate the tension in your healing bone and hasten the healing process of the fracture.