One billion people, or 15% of the world’s total population, experience some form of disability.
In the United States, just over 6.8 million Americans use assistive devices to help them with mobility. Of these people, four out of ten report they are unable to complete most of their activities.
Whether you need a wheelchair, or complex rehab chair, we know you deserve to be comfortable and capable.
Because of this, here are some of our best tips to help you get the most comfortable wheelchair possible.
Wear Comfortable Clothing
Many times, it’s not about the wheelchair comfort, but the clothes you are wearing.
Clothes with back zippers, metal closures, buttons, and bulky sweaters can all be very uncomfortable in a complex rehab chair. In fact, buttons and zippers can even cause pressure ulcers.
Instead, choose pull-on clothing without closures unless they are Velcro. Ponchos or wraps instead of thick, winter coats are better options.
Add Extra Wheelchair Padding
One of the most important things you need to have a comfortable wheelchair is lumbar support.
If the curve in your lower back isn’t properly supported, you will be in pain by the end of the day. You can either buy a lumbar support pad, use a rolled-up towel, or buy a complex rehab chair with good lumbar seat support.
This seemingly small adjustment can make all the difference in how you feel sitting in your complex rehab chair.
Cushioned Arm Rests
Hard plastic armrests are no fun. For optimal wheelchair comfort, get some cushioned armrests if you spend a lot of time in your chair.
Your arms and hands will thank you. Especially if you use the armrest to help you move to another spot or adjust your position.
Adjust the Backrest
Sitting perfectly upright all day can cause you to lean forward, or you might have to use a lot of energy to stay balanced. This can be exhausting.
Most complex rehab chairs allow you to adjust the backrest and the tilt quite a bit. A slight decline can help your core get rest and improve your wheelchair comfort.
Go ahead and experiment to find a position that works for you. The best thing is that you can adjust it as many times as you like with the attached joystick.
Consider Lateral Side Supports
Some people need more wheelchair padding than others. If you have issues with balance or have a lack of torso control, you could benefit from lateral side supports.
Basically, lateral side supports look like small, rounded prongs that attach to the backrest. If you lean to either side, these supports help keep you centered in your chair.
You might not need these supports in all the time, but if you have various physical tasks you need to do a certain day, these can help keep you balanced without overexerting yourself.
Adjust Your Footrest
You wouldn’t think it, but your footrest plays a huge roll in how comfortable you are in your chair.
Make sure that your knees are raised a bit higher than hip-level, but be sure not to raise them too high, or your lower back and glutes will pay the price.
Most chairs have adjustable footrests. With trial and error, you can find the perfect height for your footrest so that you are comfortable in your chair all day long.
Cross Your Legs
Often, a small adjustment in your positioning can make all the difference in how you feel after a day in your wheelchair.
Sometimes, simply crossing your legs at your ankles can alleviate pressure on your back when sitting. Just be sure to switch which leg is on top every couple of hours so you don’t get any pressure sores.
Invest in Custom Seating
The most comfortable wheelchair is one that is perfectly suited to your body. If these other adjustments and wheelchair accessories don’t seem to help, you might consider custom seating.
You can make repairs to your chair for the perfect adjustment.
Many clinics, hospitals, and suppliers offer custom seating options. In order to create the right seat for you, clinicians use pressure mapping to design a seat that is perfectly contoured to your body.
Usually, the custom cushions are made out of foam although there are other options.
Choose the Right Complex Rehab Chair
There is only so much you can do to make a specific wheelchair comfortable, and you shouldn’t believe that all chairs are alike.
These days, you can find a huge selection of different chairs that are tailored to specific needs.
The specs of each rehab chair are custom-fit to cater to the specific needs of the person using it. They are adaptable enough to come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
When shopping for a complex rehab chair, make sure you measure the body of the user. This way, you ensure that the size of the chair is optimal for the size of the user.
We hope these tips help you find the perfect adjustments for your chair.
Remember, anything you can do to make your complex rehab chair more comfortable is worth the effort. In fact, one small adjustment might make all the difference in how you feel physically and emotionally at the end of the day.
When you’re completely comfortable and pain-free in your wheelchair, anything is possible.
At Freedom Mobility Center, we have the power to get you moving. Contact us today for a free in-home assessment.