Wound pain can be excruciating, and this pain can have serious knock-on effects on the way in which a wound is treated. Although the gold standard treatment of venous leg ulcers (VLU) is the application of a full compression system, some patients can’t tolerate this treatment because of the pain caused by their wound.
But how big a problem is this in day-to-day practice? A survey conducted during the Wounds UK conference in November 2019, in Harrogate, suggests that persistent wound pain is a persistent problem. Among symposium attendees, over a third agreed that they were often unable to apply compression to their patients specifically because of wound pain, with a further half of attendees agreeing that this was occasionally the case. This suggests that many VLU patients today, struggle to tolerate the gold standard of care making their wounds less likely to heal, leading to a vicious circle of pain and non-healing. Managing a patient’s wound pain using current systems can be complicated and time-consuming, often involving referrals either to the patient’s GP or to a dedicated pain team. This may also mean a delay in patients getting the pain relief that they need. Patients often end up being prescribed pain-relieving drugs that do not always solve the problem. Worryingly, around 1 in 20 healthcare professionals on the front-line reported that they had no access to any pain-relieving systems, meaning that their patients may be suffering unnecessarily.
Many healthcare practitioners are increasingly adopting alternative ways of addressing pain. One such alternative is Accel-Heal, an easy to use, portable and automatic electrical stimulation device. Accel-Heal® has been shown to relieve pain as well as kick-start healing. It can even be used along-side compression therapy and does not interfere with other secondary wound dressings. Three-quarters of those surveyed said that they would consider using Accel-Heal as an option for painful non-healing ulcers. Accel-Heal might offer a real solution to today’s wound pain problem, meaning that more patients can tolerate their wound treatments, leading to better outcomes.