July 29, 2016 | 8:00 am | By Pants Up Easy
A wheelchair is something which most of us would consider to be a “necessary evil”. Of course, there’s nothing inherently evil about a wheelchair. What I really mean is that it’s not something that any of us really want. They’re not all that comfortable, and, let’s be honest,this isn’t really a preferred method of transport for most of us. But for someone who can’t get around on their feet due to a spinal cord injury, a wheelchair is a great thing to have. And there are ways to make the experience less of an uncomfortable one. Here are some helpful tips to stay comfortable in a wheelchair:
It’s just not comfortable to sit in a wheelchair all day, and it can lead to unpleasant and potentially dangerous situations like pressure sores. So the first step to stay comfortable in the wheelchair is to invest in a good cushion. There are many options available, and to a great degree, your choice will be a matter of personal taste. They come in a wide range of materials, sizes, shapes, and degrees of firmness. Choose one that feels good to you, both when you’re sitting, and when you move around.
The lumbar region is the area of your lower back at which it curves inward. Lack of support to that area really weakens your back, and makes it harder to sit up all day. Some people will simply roll up a towel to lean back on to provide some lumbar support. You can also invest in a number of products which attach to the wheelchair to give support. But don’t overlook this. Many people are surprised to find out just how much more comfortable they are in their wheelchairs with proper lumbar support.
Leaning on your arm rests is something you’re going to do a lot of, both when you sit in the chair, and when you need to support yourself when transferring in and out. The hard plastic arm rests your chair probably came with are completely serviceable, but adding cushioning will certainly help you stay comfortable in your wheelchair.
Most people don’t realize how much foot position affects your overall posture and level of comfort. Experiment with this a bit, though, and you’ll see for yourself. The optimal position to stay comfortable in a wheelchair is to have your knees at rest at a slightly higher level than your hips. Too high or too low will impact the position of your back, and I don’t need to tell you how that can affect the quality of your day.