My ass, it's sore.
February 13, 2012 12:09 PM   Subscribe

How can I treat a minor pressure sore on the right side of my butt, right where the bone is? I sit all day and all night...I do exercise every other day and I do try to relieve direct pressure by laying on the floor and playing with the dog at night. However, at least 12 hours a day of sitting/working in front of a computer trumps all that. I have good office chairs but the one at work (which would take an act of congress to replace) has bottomed out. Guess I'm looking for a several things to do...gel cushion options if any discreet ones are out there, topical treatments, whatever anyone may have found that works.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Convert your workspace to a standing desk. This can be as simple as a couple milkcrates or wooden boxes or something that you put your monitor and keyboard on, or you can get fancier shelves, but that should definitely take the pressure off.
posted by brainmouse at 12:12 PM on February 13, 2012

Replace your office chair yourself and damn the torpedoes.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:20 PM on February 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

Reposition yourself frequently - redistribute your weight, get up often and walk around. This is kind of "duh" advice but pressure ulcers (even early ones) take awhile to heal and sitting on your butt for 12 hours a day is really going to take its toll.
posted by pintapicasso at 12:32 PM on February 13, 2012

I have this great back pad called the Back Vitalizer. I generally use it to support the small of my back but you can also sit on it. Might be helpful for you.
posted by radioamy at 12:35 PM on February 13, 2012

My wife installed a timer program on her work computer to fend off carpal tunnel after a scare and soon realized just how quick fifteen minutes can go by. So, I strongly recommend an active reminder to consciously stop for a moment and shift around at least every fifteen minutes and get up and move around perhaps once every 45, even if it is just to stand and sort some papers while still taking calls at your desk or whatever it is you need to do that keeps you in a seat 12 hours a day.
posted by meinvt at 1:03 PM on February 13, 2012

If you haven't already, please see a doctor; it is not normal for healthy, normally-mobile people to develop pressure ulcers from sitting at a desk. Unless you are a paraplegic or otherwise can't feel when your butt is getting sore from being in the same position for too long, this makes me think that you might have a bigger systemic tissue healing problem like diabetes.

If you are a paraplegic, there are a ton of really awesome pressure-relieving gel cushions for your chair that can help. My dad is a paraplegic; message me and I'll be happy to pass along the specific brands he's used with success to avoid pressure ulcers.
posted by jesourie at 1:07 PM on February 13, 2012 [15 favorites]

I've got a full size sheep skin on my cheap home office chair. Sheepskins have been found to reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers. They are fairly cheap; the larger sizes can be cut in half so that you can swap them out and wash them or get two smaller ones.
posted by Mitheral at 1:11 PM on February 13, 2012

You could use an exercise ball.

However, I'm pretty sure sitting at a desk all day has caused significant nerve damage, so I have switched to a standing desk. It really helps.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:34 PM on February 13, 2012

Wallet? I regularly have to clean mine out, and the pain goes away ... but I am the sort who places receipts, tickets in my wallet with the result it gets quite fat.
posted by GeeEmm at 1:37 PM on February 13, 2012

Seconding desourie: a pressure sore is really extreme, even for someone who sits for 12 hours a day in a chair with bad ergonomics. Something else might be up in your body that you need to see a doctor about.

When I had a busted coccyx, this was immensely helpful. Sheepskin is also a great idea, as are Tempurpedic seat cushions and their ilk.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:44 PM on February 13, 2012

It's not normal for a non-bedbound person to get pressure sores. Are you certain it is not a boil or other infection? Are you diabetic? (Are you sure?) You should probably see a doctor.

For the purposes of healing, though, get a chair cushion (or foam donut) and put it in a dark pillowcase to make it nondescript. If you need to, cut a scoop out of it so your wound isn't pressing against the foam.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:46 PM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I came back to this thread because it did occur to me (and other posters too, apparently) that this is not normal. Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel: all common pain/injuries from desk work. Pressure sores, not so much. Especially only being on one side, that makes me think that somehow you are sitting way off-balance (either from having your wallet in one pocket or from some wonky spinal misalignment). I would urge you to see a doctor.
posted by radioamy at 2:26 PM on February 13, 2012

If you have a lesion on one side of your butt right where it hits your tailbone, my money would be on a pilonidal cyst, certainly not a pressure ulcer. Have you actually been diagnosed with anything? If one day you find that it's apparently infected and has rapidly become very swollen and painful, then I bet it's pilonidal for sure.

If it does turn out to be pilonidal, the most important thing about managing it is just going to be being extremely scrupulous about keeping it clean. Once you've got one, nothing about how you sit is going to make it go away. For many people, especially if they keep getting infected, surgical revision or excision is the best option.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 2:30 PM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, yeah, if this "pressure sore" is over your tailbone (I was reading it as right cheek), just go to a doctor now. Pilonoidal cysts, once they reach the point of pain, don't go away on their own, and the worse you let it get the more painful your recovery will be.

It's really hard to see the area in question unless you've got some good mirrors, but if the spot feels hard and hot, go ahead and get that looked at.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:53 PM on February 13, 2012

I am a nurse, and I want to second what people are saying about pressure ulcers being very serious and pretty rare for otherwise healthy people. In fact, even in hospitals it's possible to avoid pressure ulcers for totally immobile, unresponsive patients through good, attentive care. I don't know anything about pilonoidal cysts, but I agree with others who are telling you that it might be a good idea to go to a doctor to have this area assessed. If you do have a pressure ulcer, you should probably go see a doctor anyway. Your wound will need appropriate care. If you have an open pressure ulcer, you're at risk for infections. As someone who's seen what multi drug resistant organisms (MRSA, VREF, etc) can do to skin and underlying tissue, I want to encourage you to have someone carefully assess your skin if you have an open wound on your body.

You can stage your pressure ulcer with this: pressure ulcer scale from NPUAP. There are plenty of scales with pictures out there too, if that's more helpful. Basically, anything over Stage I (and really Stage I is bad too) is freak-out time. All pressure ulcers should be appropriately covered and monitored closely.

Also, preventing and treating pressure ulcers is related to the Braden Scale. Basically, risk factors are related to the ability to feel discomfort, the degree of moisture that is usually present on the skin, degree of movement possible, nutrition, and friction and shear. Usually, a patient who's at high risk for pressure ulcers (or who already has them) would be turned as often as possible (generally every two hours), kept dry (linens changed frequently if the patient is sweaty and/or feverish, diapers and pads changed as quickly as possible), nutrition and hydration maintained, friction and shear reduced (which is why, at a hospital, people are moved on draw-sheets rather than just dragged up in bed), and bony prominences padded.

For you, a person I'm assuming is still mobile or at least able to make significant shifts in body position, I'd recommend good padding, significant changes in position at least every two hours (possibly ever hour), getting out of the chair regularly, and staying dry. If you're noticing problems with nutrition and hydration, you should address those as well.

Seriously though, if you have a wound, go ahead and see your doctor. It's possible that what you think is a pressure ulcer isn't, and if it is, they make amazing wound dressings these days (FWIW, many hospitals use Allevyn dressings). If your job is causing you to have pressure ulcers and they won't do anything about it, I would think about a different job. Your health is so important. Please take care of your body.
posted by alittlecloser at 5:10 PM on February 13, 2012 [5 favorites]

3rding pilonidal cyst. Does it look like a shiny bruise, if you can see it? They can be lived with, if they're not painful, but they don't go away on their own.
posted by nakedmolerats at 7:25 PM on February 13, 2012

Get a massage there, have them work all around the sitting bone, may take a couple of sessions, but it's helped me a bunch with the same problem. Just needs fresh blood there and some exercise probably wouldn't hurt.
posted by carpediem at 10:00 PM on February 13, 2012

I'm just in the last lap of healing from a brutal staph infection right on my sit bone. For four days it was excruciating just to sit. Oh, alright then, I had a boil on my arse and it was horrible. A week of antibiotics, two days on the sofa and it's gone. Another vote for 'it's not a pressure sore, go see a doctor'. Hope you're feeling better soon.
posted by dmt at 1:13 PM on February 15, 2012

Some people are very thin and pressure sores can develop if you sit a lot. Recommend a wheelchair cushion. The best one is Varilite Evolution as it doesn't require any maintenance and works extremely well and will last the rest of your life. $269 from SportAid. Use this and you won't have a problem. Don't mess around with consumer over the counter stuff, the medical cushions are designed to work and the money is nothing compared to the alternative. Truck drivers use wheelchair cushions if that helps you feel better about it.
posted by stbalbach at 12:00 PM on January 21, 2013

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