Pain Management Options for Bone Fractures

Pain Management Bone FracturesPain management options for bone fractures can be diverse and varied in nature. While it is commonplace to reference a broken bone or bone break regarding a fracture of a bone, a “break” is not a technical orthopedic term. A bone fracture is defined by a condition in which there is a break in the continuity of a bone. Fractures can be the result of stress, traumatic injury, or a significant impact to the body. Moreover, bone fractures could also result from certain medical conditions that weaken the bones of the human body, such as bone cancer or osteoporosis. Pain management options for bone fractures can involve long and short-term treatment measures, which may or may not include surgical intervention. It often depends upon the location and severity of the fracture(s) involved in each case.

Treatment of bone fractures are typically categorized as either surgical (invasive) or non-surgical (conservative). Some non-surgical treatments for fractures include pain management, stabilization, and immobilization. Another common treatment classification involves open vs. closed injuries, in which open treatment injuries consist of any treatment in which the fracture site has been surgically opened, regardless of whether or not the fracture itself is open or closed.

Pain management options for bone fractures include medication, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen with codeine, and Vicodin, immobilization (which entails proper alignment and containment of the injured area while the fracture heals), and stabilization, which secures the injured area in a protective device such as cast, splint, or brace until edema from the fracture subsides, connective tissues form, and calcification of the fractured bone(s) occur.

Pain Management Bone Fractures

In most cases, following successful alignment, immobilization, and healing of the fractured bone(s), the patient will usually undergo a period of rehabilitation and strengthening of the injured area(s). This course of treatment could include pain management measures, along with medical rehab, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and/or a combination of methods.

Along with medication, other pain management measures that can be utilized to promote healing include hot or cold compresses, massage, and TENS units. Applying heat or cold to the injured area(s) could be greatly beneficial for patients. Some patients may find either hot or cold compresses more therapeutic while others may find alternating between hot and cold desirable. It is all about what feels best for the injured individual.

Pain Management Bone FracturesMassage, especially deep tissue massage and myofascial release, can also be very beneficial for injured patients. This treatment option allows the muscles to relax and provides relief for the body as a whole. However, it should be noted that massage administered by a qualified therapist is a must, a doctor’s approval is advised, and make sure the therapist is aware of any medical issues or concerns (e.g. fracture, osteoporosis, etc.).

TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. A TENS unit provides stimulation for injured and affected areas. The design of the unit includes a small battery which is connected by wires to a pair of electrodes. The electrodes are placed on the skin near the pain source. A mild electrical current travels through the skin and along the nerve fibers. It may reduce pain by stimulating the damaged nerve and muscle tissues within the affected areas, as well as changes the way the brain perceives pain. A typical TENS session lasts about 15-20 minutes.

While pain management options for bone fractures can be diverse and varied in nature, it is very much an individualized process. Whatever therapy meets the injured patient’s needs best should be considered and followed. A bone fracture is defined by a condition in which there is a break in the continuity of a bone. Fractures can be the result of stress, traumatic injury, or a significant impact to the body. Moreover, bone fractures could also result from certain medical conditions that weaken the bones of the human body, such as bone cancer or osteoporosis. Pain management options for bone fractures can involve long and short-term treatment measures, which may or may not include surgical intervention. It often depends upon the location and severity of the fracture(s) involved in each case.

Written and Edited By Leigh Haugh

Sources:
U.S. News and World Report–Pain in the Neck: Passing Crick or Chronic Agony?
Seattle Times–Will Pain Reliever Slow Bone Healing?
WebMD–Fractures: PT and Pain Management

5 Responses to "Pain Management Options for Bone Fractures"

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