Pressure care cushions to relieve pain and discomfort
Pressure care cushions are a great way to alleviate the pain and discomfort that comes from long periods of sitting. These cushions are designed to reduce the incidence of skin breakdown or pressure sores (often called pressure ulcers).
If you are in a wheelchair, or are unable to change position regularly, it’s likely that your blood flow to particular areas may be reduced. When this happens, the skin and underlying muscles can become weak and result in an irritated and painful area. Fortunately, pressure care cushions are specifically made to assist with this problem. They are often made from materials such as gel, foam or fluid, which helps to distribute pressure evenly and reduce discomfort.
What are pressure sores?
Pressure sores occur when our body’s regular supply of oxygen and other nutrients get restricted in a certain part of the body. This usually happens when we sit in a fixed position for a long time. When we can’t move around freely, the constant pressure of sitting still reduces blood flow to that area and creates a pressure sore. Pressure sores can be painful, and need to be carefully managed.
The main symptoms of pressure sores are; changes in skin colour or texture, an area that feels cooler or warmer to touch than other areas, swelling, and in some cases, an open wound that can become pus-filled.
What are bed sores?
Bed sores are pressure sores that tend to develop on skin that covers bony areas of the body, such as the hips, buttocks, tailbone, ankles and heels. They typically occur in people who are unable to change positions and spend most of their time in a bed or chair.
Like all pressure sores, bed sores can develop quickly. While most heal with wound care treatment, some never heal completely. Having a pressure care cushion is a great way to help prevent pressure sores and bed sores.
How do pressure cushions work?
Pressure cushions work to reduce the effects of pressure sores by evenly distributing the body’s weight across a larger surface area. This allows for better blood flow and postural stability.
Most pressure cushions are made from durable materials that are specifically designed to redistribute pressure away from problem sites. They work by reducing how much your body ‘sinks’ into a seat (known as immersion). Once the immersion is reduced, they then ‘offload’ your body’s weight evenly across the cushion surface.
How do pressure cushions help with blood flow?
Pressure cushions help restore blood flow by taking pressure off specific points in your body. For example, if you are doing a lot of sitting, it’s likely that your hips and tailbone are placing downward pressure on the skin and muscles that surround them. In redistributing your body weight more evenly, pressure cushions allow for improved blood flow to those areas.
Do pressure cushions come in different shapes and sizes?
Pressure cushions are available in many of shapes and sizes. They are also made from many different materials. Things such as your height, weight, mobility limitations and any other existing health conditions should all be taken into account when choosing a pressure cushion.
Which pressure care cushion is right for me?
Every person is a little different, so in order to choose the best pressure cushion for your needs, it’s a good idea to talk to an expert. Talk to your physiotherapist or primary care physician in the first instance, and then have a chat with a friendly team member at Mobility Aids Australia.
Ultimately, choosing the right pressure care cushion for you will come down to having a good understanding of your needs, and whether or not you already have pressure sores.
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