Friday, January 20, 2012

Sticks & Stones Can Break Your Bones But There Are Far Worse Things Than Fractures

Remember that little sing song from childhood about "sticks and stones?" Well my updated version is really a teacher of sorts of a different lesson. Bone breaks are bad, no question about it. Fractures can hurt, and when they are open or the bones are fragmented they are a mess to heal properly.

1. It's all about Blood Flow.

Bone and muscle tissues have rich blood supplies. Blood is necessary to allow healing. More blood flow = higher, better, and faster ability to recover. The body is self healing. After a break, doctors can put the pieces (bones) back together (this is called a reduction) BUT the body must mend the bones back together.

2. The Body works one way: Inflammation and then Repair.

Parts of the body that have experienced trauma will swell. They become inflamed. This is not happenstance.

The body seeks to do three things:

1. Immobilize (stop further injury) the injured area: This protection of the area is through spasming (contracting) muscles (a natural splinting of sorts).

2. Bring blood flow to begin healing by removing dead/diseased tissue.

3. Bring in WBCs (white blood cells) to ward off infection and begin repair.

One of the main reasons people with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or any of the other auto immune diseases have issues with healing is because of #3. Their WBCs (particularly neutrophils) do not function properly to aid healing and recovery.

Bone Fractures Are Not The Worst Thing That Can Happen

Ligaments and cartilage support joints. They hold bones together but they have a poor blood supply. After an accident doctors seek first to discover breaks but far worse are all the problems that can occur aside from broken bones. Accompanying any break can be: 

1. Dislocations of bones (displaced bones will not heal properly if at all)
They also can cause decreased ROMs (range of motion) in the joints. Permanent impairment of nerve function is also a possibility.

2. Infections (both in the joint, and in the bone itself), this is called osteomyelitis.
These may require long term rounds of IV (intravenous) antibiotics to heal.

3. Compromise (pressure) to nerves and blood vessels (potentially Compartment Syndrome)
Anything blocking blood flow can cause permanent losses to the fingers, hands, and the extremities.

4. Ligament tears
Ligaments connect bone to bone. They are avascular structures (poor blood supply). They heal very slowly.

5. Tendon ruptures (attach muscles to bones). Chronic tendonitis can affect your ability to move.

6. Post-surgical complications from open interventions

A thorough evaluation is a must after any traumatic impact. A bone fracture may be the least of your problems.

Dr. Lawrence Newman
Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney at Law

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850


Legal and Medical DISCLAIMER

Remember the hiring of an attorney is a serious matter. Check out anyone you hire before hiring them. I do not win all my cases. No one wins all their cases. This blog is not legal or medical advice nor should it be a substitute for legal or medical advice. Consult with an attorney concerning any questions you may have. In addition, consult with a doctor for any and all of your medical or accident related issues.