How to Avoid Pain in a Wheelchair if you Have a Spinal Cord Injury

July 31, 2015 | 11:56 am | By Pants Up Easy

Spending your days sitting in the same chair for the duration can lead to quite a bit of pain and discomfort. If you have a spinal cord injury and live your life in a wheelchair, you may be faced with these issues. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the pain. Below you will find some tips and tricks for avoiding pain in your wheelchair.

The good news is, the wheelchairs of our modern world are much more comfortable than those in the past. A standard chair with no bells and whistles will be much more comfortable than a chair you may have had fifty years ago – however, that doesn’t mean that’s as good as it gets. There are several things you can do and products you can purchase to make your wheelchair as comfortable as possible.

One of the most important pieces of your chair is the cushion that you spend your day sitting on. After all, the constant pressure of sitting day in and day out can lead to sores, skin breakdown, and possibly ulcers. There are several different cushion options available, and personal preference will really be the deciding factor. There are cushions designed specifically with comfort in mind, and others meant to prevent any of the physical ailments mentioned above. Cushions may be made out of gel, foam, air, sheepskin, and more. Before making a purchase decision, find a store that will allow you to try out the cushion before committing. Since this is the seat you will spend the majority of your day in, you need to be absolutely sure you will be comfortable.

Another easy upgrade to your wheelchair is to add a bit of cushion to your armrests. There’s no need to spend your days resting your arms on uncomfortable hard plastic. This is especially important if you are able to transfer to and from your chair. The extra cushion you get from a cushion, cover or pad can make your day-to-day life much more pleasant.

It’s also important that your wheelchair is giving you adequate lumbar support. The lower part of your back that curves in can get incredibly sore after a full day of sitting, so ensuring that you have the correct support is essential. There are attachments that can be added to your chair that will offer excellent lumbar support and can make an incredible difference in your level of comfort. You can also take a do-it-yourself approach and place a rolled up towel behind your lower back to see if the investment in an attachment is worth it. You may also want to consider a backrest that will support and cushion your entire back, leading to much more comfort while in your wheelchair.

Aside from products that you can buy, there are a few things that you can do on your own to make your time spent in your wheelchair more comfortable. First of all, avoid wearing clothing that is too bulky and may bunch up throughout the day. Not only can this be uncomfortable, but it can interfere with your balance as well. It’s in your best interest to wear clothing that is easy to put on and take off, made of thin fabric, and has been designed specifically for wheelchair users. 

You may also want to recline your backrest just a bit to a setting that will allow you to lean back in the slightest. Being too far forward can cause a great deal of discomfort. You may not even realize that you are leaning a bit forward, and the slight adjustment may make a world of difference. Also, if you’ve been sitting all day and are becoming quite uncomfortable, the simple act of crossing your legs may alleviate quite a bit of your discomfort. This will allow the pressure on your back to shift, which may make you quite a bit more comfortable.

You don’t have to spend your days in pain simply because you have a spinal cord injury that has resulted in wheelchair use. By following the tips and tricks above, your days can become quite comfortable.

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