Pressure sores, also known as ulcers or bedsores, can happen quickly. They can form when you sit on a relatively hard surface, such as a chair, wheelchair or bed, for a prolonged period placing pressure on the skin and soft tissue. This pressure reduces blood supply which can cause the skin tissue to become damaged or even die. When this happens, a pressure ulcer can form. It is very important to watch for warning signs and act quickly to prevent them occurring or becoming worse.
When sitting for long periods pressure sores can develop on your coccyx (tailbone), buttocks, heels, elbows and even shoulder blades.
Pressure ulcers can be very painful and troublesome, affecting your overall health and well being. In fact they can make life downright miserable. They can be difficult to treat and take many months to heal.
Pressure ulcers often start with just a little redness in the skin. However, they can be deceiving and can hide more serious damage under the skin. Pressure ulcers can become infected and even cause blood poisoning or bone infections. In extreme cases, they have been known to spread deep under the skin into muscle and bone which can be destroyed.
You have a risk of developing a pressure ulcer if:
So how do you prevent pressure sores?
There are several things you can do to minimize your risk.
Choice of cushion is very important. Cushions are very different in their design, and many do not do the job required. Medical cushioning technology has not changed much over the years and has predominantly consisted of foams of different types and, of course, air. Even those from many leading medical brands are still using old outdated technology and simply do not work well. And price is no indicator of effectiveness.
The problem is in the physics.
Traditional cushions made from foam, air, water and springs all work under a principle of physics called the "spring constant law" which simply means that when you sit on a cushion it acts like a spring. That is, it compresses and "pushes back" at you at an equal and opposite pressure. This is exactly what we don't want and will actually increase our risk of pressure sores.
Several years ago a new type of cushioning technology was invented in the USA. It is called "column buckling" and works under a completely different principle of physics. The cushion is formed into air-spaced columns of a semi-solid co-polymer "gel" which share column walls. When a person sits on the cushion the weight is taken on the gel walls which buckle. The buckling column then distributes the weight to the next column wall, and so on. This means that the weight is actually distributed sideways, out and away from the person and not back up against the skin. This has the effect that pressure against the body is reduced or eliminated. Blood vessels are not squeezed or constricted and blood flow to tissue and muscle are normalized. The result is a greatly reduced risk of developing pressure sores.
This "column buckling" technology was originally developed for use in critical care hospital and medical mattresses, specifically for serious pressure and comfort situations such as for burns and coma patients, and, of course, for bed sores. Clinical studies have proven that column buckling cushioning is highly effective against forming pressure sores and actually aids in the healing process even after sores have developed. The studies showed accelerated healing even in Stage 4 Decubitus ulcers, which are bed sores to the bone.
The video explains how column buckling works. Miracle Cushion specializes in column buckling gel seat cushions. The Equagel range are medical grade gel seat cushions specifically designed for people who have pressure sores, or who are at risk of developing pressures sores. These cushions are highly effective in prevention, pain relief and even may aid healing.