Pressure sores can be painful and decrease the quality of life of the patients that live with them. Prevention of the sores is always the best solution but once they have appeared, they must be monitored and mediated to promote healing and deter further deterioration of the wound site. In the mean time, the pain associated with the sores must be managed, which can be a difficult process.
Different Reasons For Pain
With pressure sores, there are many different issues happening that can cause pain. This means each patient may experience pain for different reasons and in different levels. Pressure sores have four stages of progression and depending on how severe the wound is, there may be many treatments needed to heal the wound and prevent pain for the patient.
Some reasons for pain can be:
- Surface pain. This is pain associated with the wound itself and irritation at the site of the skin and tissue.
- Infection. If the wound becomes infected and inflamed, this can also cause pain.
- Nerve damage. Pressure sores can lead to nerve damage that can cause chronic pain.
Managing The Pain
With each patient, the treatment may be unique depending on the issues they are having with the pressure sore and what kind and degree of pain they are experiencing. These wounds need an individualized approach and should involve the patients input whenever possible.
- Treat the wound. Obviously, removing the cause of the wound is the first step. Patients will need to have pressure and weight removed from the area as much as possible. The wound may need debridement, or removal of the dead or infected tissue. Reducing friction at the wound site is also important.
- Changing dressings. The wounds need to be kept dry and clean to promote healing but changing the dressings can be painful for the patient. Using non-stick dressing can help and possibly administering pain medication before hand.
- Treat infection. For wounds that are healing, an antimicrobial treatment may be used such as silver sulfadiazine or slow-release iodine. More severe wounds may need topical antiseptics. Some patients may require antibiotics.
- Pain medications. Depending on the level of pain, pain relief medications may be needed. Acetaminophen all the way up to morphine can be used to manage pain while the wound heals. Nerve damage pain can respond to anticonvulsants or tricyclic antidepressants, depending on the type of pain.
Unfortunately, managing the pain of pressure sores is difficult at best. Many sores can take months, even years, to heal once they have progressed to a sever stage. Healing the wounds takes constant care and is the only true way to relieve the pain.
The above article was prepared by Chicago nursing home lawyer, Jonathan Rosenfeld. Jonathan is the founder of Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC and regularly represents families in pressure sore cases.
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