1) Get plenty of sleep. This means going to bed early every night for a couple of months, and getting used to it. Your body makes growth hormone last thing in the morning before you wake up, and if you wake up before it happens, you missed it. You need to sleep so long that you wake up rested without an alarm, which again, requires going to bed early. There are lots of other tricks for improving sleep, but this handout is about bones.
2) Encourage good circulation to the fracture site. There are many ways to do this. One is to exercise, moving any parts of the body you are allowed to move. Another is everyone’s favorite: get regular massages. And last but not least, use contrast hydrotherapy. This involves heating up the area by immersing it in hot water, then shocking it with a cold application three times in a row. The cold application can be immersion in ice water, or just a cold sopping rag, and it has to last for about 30 seconds each time. In between the cold applications you can warm up again for up to 1 minute. Always finish cold, because the cold induces a reflex dilation of the local blood vessels, bringing in new supplies and taking away waste products. Contrast hydrotherapy even works if you do it to the OTHER limb when one limb is in a cast. Both limbs experience the reflex even if you only do the treatment to one limb.
3) Eat right. Eating right for bone healing involves eating lots of fresh veggies, nuts and seeds, and avoiding excess meat, cheese, coffee, alcohol, and canned beverages. The veggies are full of potassium that helps alkalinize your blood and encourages bone growth. Organic leafy greens are especially rich in vitamin K which is great for bone building. All the things you are supposed to limit have a tendency to inhibit bone healing—especially canned soda, it’s the worst. Nuts and seeds are full of trace minerals that you need to build bone. The best ones are almonds, walnuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds.
4) Take a good multivitamin. You get what you pay for in this department. What you want is a high quality vitamin supplement with the full range of trace minerals plus calcium, magnesium and potassium. You want to take it with every single meal for at least a month. Your body can only absorb a little calcium at a time, so it does no good to take a whole bunch once a day. If you are male or postmenopausal, make sure your multi doesn’t have iron in it.
5) Consume healthy fats. Calcium metabolism depends on having vitamins A, D, E and K available. Vitamin D you can make from getting skin in the sun, or you take a supplement (2000-4000IU/day in winter). You get a little bit of vitamins D and A* from fish oil, and 6-12 grams/day of fish oil increases calcium absorption. Get your vitamin K from leafy greens and organic butter. *Too much vitamin A can cause birth defects so if you are a fertile female who could get pregnant don’t take over 5,000IU/day.
6) Get a checkup. Get your thyroid checked. Having good glandular function makes all the difference in healing up bones. If your thyroid isn’t working right, get treated. While you’re at it, see if your sex hormone levels are right. Having enough estrogen and testosterone is very important for bone health. Get your bone density checked, especially if you are a postmenopausal woman, or a man with celiac disease or gut issues, or if the bone broke too easily. If you have low bone density, you will need to get aggressive about bone building for your whole body, and that may require treating your gut, hormones, or other body systems.
7) Limit your use of analgesics. Anything that lowers inflammation also reduces your body’s ability to clean up injuries and build new tissue. So use what you need but tolerate the pain when you can, and let your body do its work without systemic interference.