Bed sores come secondary to any injury, illness, or disease that keeps
us immobile. But don't let the word "secondary" fool you; they can be
That nearly fatal fall from a horse in 1995 left actor Christopher Reeve with a neck down spinal cord injury. Years of rehabilitation and Reeve's determination to lead a full life despite his injury came to a halt nine years later, when Reeves died -- not of the injuries suffered in the fall, but of infection caused by sores he developed sitting in his wheel chair.
Bed sores, or skin ulcers, are infections that begin as red marks on skin areas that are constantly in friction with a surface, such as bed sheets or a wheel chair. They usually occur at the base of the spine, the heels, elbows, and other bony structures of the body. The lack of circulation to the skin surface areas causes skin to peel and infections to arise. Unless conditions change radically for the patient, these sores become chronic.
It's the chronic nature of bed sores that is cause for worry. Modern wound treatment has incorporated ultrasound therapy and vacuum assisted closure therapy, but both treatment methods are painful and invasive. The LifeWave Bed Sore Treatment (BST) is a non-invasive, painless treatment, that some patients may be able to administer for themselves.
LifeWave BST, which is already in use in Europe, Canada, and Australia, relies on electrical stimulation sympathetic to the natural vibrations of healing wounds. The stimulation is delivered by means of a medical device and software that attaches to the healthy skin adjacent to the sore by means of electrodes. Aside from feeling a little vibratory buzz from the electrodes when the device is turned on, there is no other disturbance to the patient.
The LifeWave therapy is applied 3 times per day (30 minutes each time) for around 90 days or until the wound is fully healed. After 30 days, bed sores usually begin to look and act like acute wounds, which are much easier to manage because blood flow has been established and healthy cells are being created by the surrounding tissue.
Sudies indicated a high rate of reversal of Stage 2 and Stage 3 bed sores when used as an adjunct to more traditional therapies as well as when used as a replacement for those therapies. (Stage 4 sores don't typically respond at all to therapy.) Additionally, patients were more acceptable to the treatment than other forms of therapy. These studies are reported in the June 2008 issue of The Clinical Services Journal.
sources: LifeWave, The
Clinical Services Journal, Wikipedia