Friday, August 21, 2015

Reducing Avoidable Pressure Injuries

Pressure Injury from Wheelchair - Academy Massage Therapy - Massage Therapist Winnipeg

Pressure injuries are areas of damage to the skin and underlying tissue caused by constant pressure or friction. 

Other terms by which this condition is known are pressure sores, bed sores and decubitus ("lying down") ulcers. Pressure injuries can develop when your skin and soft tissue press against a hard surface for a prolonged period of time. Under this external pressure, the blood supply is cut off, limiting oxygen supply and decreasing nutrients to the cells. Lack of blood supply can cause the skin tissue in this area to become damaged. This may result in the formation of an ulcer. The most common positions for pressure injuries are the back of the head, shoulders and shoulder blades, spine, tailbone (sacrum), elbow, heel, buttocks, and hipbones.

A pressure injury can develop in as short as 30 minutes if there is high pressure in a small area. Increased pressure over short periods of time and slight pressure for longer periods has been shown to cause equal damage.

Pressure injuries affect people who have decreased mobility and are most common among the elderly since their skin generally is thinner and more delicate; however, these injuries can affect anyone at any age who may be confined to a bed or wheelchair. Another factor contributing to the intensity and duration of pressure is reduced activity; in today's lifestyle many occupations are sedentary, with long hours spent at the computer. Without frequent standing or repositioning, continued and prolonged sitting can result in the same condition as anyone confined to a bed or wheelchair.

The healing of pressure injury may take weeks or longer. If not properly addressed, they can lead to serious complications, including inflammation, bone and joint infections abscess, and even cancer. The good news is that pressure injuries are also highly preventable and, therefore, a strong focus on prevention should be the primary consideration. These preventative measures include regularly changing position at least once every one to two hours so that the pressure does not remain steady on one part of the body, good hygiene and proper skin care, a healthy diet complete with the right vitamins and nutrients, and weight management as obesity and even being underweight have been shown to be risk factors. As is smoking and not drinking a sufficient amount of water each day, which is vital in keeping the skin hydrated. Other ways to prevent the onset of pressure injuries include staying active with a healthy and sensible daily exercise regimen and following such simple tips as avoiding clothing that is too tight and restrictive. It is also important that you check your skin often to determine whether there may be the beginning signs of pressure sores, which are Stage 1 and the easiest and most effective to treat.

In short, the key to avoiding pressure injury is to avoid stress to the skin, through frequent movement or repositioning, nutrition, and sensible cleanliness habits.

Our trained and qualified therapists at Academy Massage can advise you on an appropriate physical program that will help improve and increase blood flow, build up muscle tissue, stimulate the appetite, and overall strengthen the body.

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