The Importance of Wheelchair Comfort
Did you know that there are over 20 million American adults who have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs?
Wheelchairs can help both those with temporary and permanent conditions move more freely and gain independence, despite their disability.
Read on to find out why wheelchair comfort is important and what you can do to improve the comfort of your wheelchair.
Why Is Wheelchair Comfort Important?
Even the most comfortable wheelchairs have limitations when it comes to frequent use.
Wheelchairs that aren't comfortable can cause misalignment complications. Misalignment of your bones can lead to general discomfort and much more serious conditions. Deformities can occur, an uncomfortable wheelchair user might also experience:
- difficulties breathing
- poor digestion
- and pressure sores.
Having a wheelchair that is perfectly fitted for you is one way you can experience a more comfortable chair. Ensuring that the seat width, length, and footplate are all correct in accordance to your body is vital.
Wheelchair Seat Width
A seat with a width too narrow can hurt your hips and cause pressure sores. A narrow wheelchair seat width can also be difficult to move in and out of.
However, if the seat width is too wide for your body, then you might experience slipping and slumping in your chair. This can lead to poor posture, back pain, pressure ulcers, and it can also compress your lungs and internal organs.
When choosing the right wheelchair for you, it's important to have a seat that is as wide as you are, with a little extra room for growth and the seat belt.
Wheelchair Seat Length
Seats that are too long prevent you from reaching the back of the chair and getting the necessary support for your spine. While seats that are too short leave your knees hanging off the edge without the support they need.
A comfortable wheelchair seat length should support your knees and your back. Finding the right length for your body can help promote a healthier posture.
But it's not only the seat width and length that need to be perfect, but you also need the right footplate. A footplate that is too high or too low can cause your legs to hang freely or your knees to be bunch up. A footplate that is too high or too low can cause discomfort and can put more pressure on your joints.
To ensure your wheelchair is right for your body, you need to take accurate measurements. This allows you to find a chair that is perfect for your body and one that can provide more comfort.
For those who are short-term chair users, you still need to ensure your height and weight fit accordingly with the chair you choose.
What Are Other Health Benefits of a Comfortable Wheelchair?
Comfortable wheelchairs are vital for your physical health, but they are also crucial for your mental well-being too.
Wheelchair users who feel more comfortable are able to do more activities. Those with uncomfortable chairs may feel like they tire quickly and become less interested in doing activities.
However, if you are able to go out with ease and not feel pain or discomfort, you're more likely to enjoy the things you do. Being able to go out and enjoy activities can help boost your mental health too.
Comfortable wheelchairs can also open up more opportunities for exercise.
Wheelchair users who participate in regular exercise can reduce their risk of developing serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Being more active can also help to improve your mood, help you sleep better at night, and reduce depression and anxiety.
4 Ways to Improve the Comfort of Your Wheelchair
Improving the comfort of your wheelchair comes with a wealth of benefits. But sometimes, it's not always practical to buy a new chair. So, how can you improve the comfort of your current wheelchair?
1. Add a Cushion
The first thing you can do is try adding a comfortable wheelchair cushion to your chair. There are a variety of wheelchair cushion options available, so make sure you ask about, or research, which one is right for you.
We recommend trying out a ROHO cushion. The ROHO cushion uses inflated nodules to provide a pillow-like effect under your bum and provides plenty of comfort.
2. Get Some Lumbar Support
If you're experiencing backache, then you might need to get some lumbar support. Your lumbar is located on the lower part of your back where the spine curves inwards. When this area isn't properly supported you can experience a lot of pain.
There are a variety of lumbar support options when it comes to wheelchair users. These often come as seat attachments and can be easily fitted into your chair. Alternatively, you could put a towel or a pillow at your lumbar.
3. Pimp Your Cushion Rests
Wheelchair comfort accessories don't get much better than cushioned armrests. These are ideal for those wheelchair users who need to transfer or reposition themselves a lot during the day.
Hard armrests can cause pain and discomfort, but all of that can be a thing of the past if you get some soft cushioned armrests. Similar to the lumbar support, the cushioned armrests can be attached to your chair with ease.
4. Invest in Lateral Side Support
Wheelchair users who have poor torso control and balance problems can enhance their comfort by adding lateral side support. Fitted into the side of your backrest, lateral side support can help stop you from leaning.
Lateral side supports can be fitted with ease into your chair. They are great for more arduous tasks and can encourage better balance. Discover these other ways of enhancing your wheelchair experience now.
Find Comfort in Your Wheelchair
Wheelchair comfort is vital for both your physical and mental health, which is why it's important to ensure you are comfortable in your chair. Try implementing some of our tips to improve your wheelchair experience.
If you found this blog informative, be sure to check out our other health articles.