Updated: Sep 27, 2019
Chinese medicine has been used for thousands of years for a vast number of conditions, but did you know that it can be used to speed up the healing of fractured bones? Now, when you initially break a bone, of course you will need to go to the emergency room for an x-ray and a cast (or surgery). But after the cast is on, it can be a frustrating, painful, annoying and debilitating road ahead. In addition, certain types of fractures are impossible to cast (like the collarbone) so patients have to start the long process of waiting to heal while being very limited in movement so as not to exacerbate the pain or injury. What can be done in the meantime? Acupuncture and Chinese medicine!
I have helped several patients over the years with broken toes, fractured tailbones, and other broken bones to speed up their recovery time and significantly reduce their pain and swelling with a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Research has shown acupuncture to be very effective for bone fractures by restoring mobility, reducing pain and inflammation, reducing swelling, improving function of the injured area, and increasing range of motion (Saunders, 2018). Acupuncture does this by improving blood flow, stimulating the midbrain to release enkephalins (our body’s natural pain killers which are stronger than morphine) and subsequently decreasing inflammation and swelling to the injured area. Acupuncture can be used very early in the healing process, as needles are not placed where the injury has occurred, rather in areas that will directly send blood flow and nutrients to the injured area to stimulate a faster healing response.
In addition, several Chinese herbs are used for their bone-healing properties. Chinese herbal formulas comprised of a combination of herbs are used to speed healing, strengthen the bones, stimulate the re-uptake of minerals to the bones, and alleviate pain. For example, Yin Yang Huo (Epimedium) and Gu Sui Bu (Drynaria) have proven in clinical trials to “stimulate bone regeneration and inhibit bone resorption, accelerating the fracture healing” (Zhang et al., 2017). Chinese herbs can also be used to prevent subsequent fractures due to weakening of the bones, as well as improve and prevent osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Hopefully you don’t break any bones, but if you do, know that we can help you get on a fast road to recovery so you can go back to living a normal life and enjoy the things that you love to do!
Saunders, N. (2018, September 12). Acupuncture Promotes Bone Fracture Recovery. Retrieved from https://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1893-acupuncture-promotes-bone-fracture-recovery
Zhang, K., Niu, L. C., Yuan, F. J., & Liu, S. P. (2017, August 25). Research on promotory effect of traditional Chinese medicine on fracture healing in cell and molecular level. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29455515