Our backs play a big role in not only mobility but also on our mental health. Experiencing back pain can lead to disrupted sleep, annoyance and pain whilst using a wheelchair. Although wheelchairs are designed to be as comfortable as possible for the user, back pain may still arise. There are many things that people have to deal with and overcome and the aim of this article is to remove back pain from that list and provide you with some actionable tips on how to improve any pain experienced whilst using a wheelchair.
What is Back Pain?
Back pain can come on at any point in life and can take different forms, understanding the different types of back pain will help when it comes to seeking advice and also help you understand what the cause of the back pain is. Below are the main types of back pain.
Back Pain Caused From a Strain
One of the most common types of back pain is a strain. This can be caused through a variety of different activities such as lifting something that is too heavy, moving too quickly at a certain angle and overstretching your back.
Back Pain Related to Poor Posture
Structural problems are often noticed when people spent most of their days sitting down. As a wheelchair user nearly all of the time each day is spent in a wheelchair or sat down. Posture is one of the most important things to asses when it comes to back pain. Poor posture can affect many areas of the back, from upper to lower and a range of muscles and ligaments in between.
As with any pain, it is vitally important to seek medical advice straight away, failure to seek treatment and help at the first signs of any back pain can lead to the pain becoming worse and also causing a whole heap of other back pain related problems.
All of the manual wheelchairs that are offered by AvaCare Medical have comfort and the end-user in mind. All wheelchairs are aimed at improving the posture of the wheelchair user and to minimize the risk of any back pain, however, this may happen from time to time.
How to Prevent Wheelchair-Related Back Pain
For anyone using a wheelchair the main cause of back pain will be because of posture. The first step is to ensure that the spine is positioned correctly. One thing to watch out for is slouching, which can directly impact your lower back. There are multiple ways to improve your posture when using a wheelchair. Taking the time to assess your current posture whilst using a wheelchair can have some big benefits and we strongly recommend that you check some of the main points below.
Back support cushions are one of the most cost-effective and just plain effective ways of preventing back pain if you sit for long periods of time. Learn more about lumbar pillows here.
Arm Support for Wheelchair Users
Making sure that your arms and shoulders have support at all times is key. Depending on your arm position this can directly impact your shoulders and the strain that your back will be put under. Adjusting your armrests to the desired height will help you to achieve the ideal and optimum amount of support for the arms.
Head and Body Positioning
As with any chair, wheelchair or lounge chair your head should always be upright with stability allowing you to look side to side and also allows your spine to be aligned in a straight manner. For wheelchair users with reduced upper body or head control, head stabilizers and reclining wheelchairs (the latter of which are equipped with headrests) may be helpful.
A common part of posture that goes overlooked is your feet. Feet have a big impact on our posture and the subsequent strain that is applied to our back. Feet are there to support the weight from the upper body. If you do not have enough support for your feet then it can lead to your body having poor strength and knock your posture out of alignment.
You can browse the great range of wheelchairs that AvaCare Medical has on offer by heading to the link provided.
How to Treat Back Pain
There are a range of back pain videos online that show you multiple exercises that aim to improve the strength of a person’s back. In addition to this, they also ensure that back-related issues do not come back. Back pain exercise videos are a great way for you to educate yourself on the stretches and routines that you should adapt to improve your back support, posture and eradicate any pain that is being experienced. In addition to this, you can also seek the advice of an osteopath or chiropractor. The downside to this is the costings involved as you will likely need repeat appointments that can come up to quite a hefty bill.
We hope that you take something away from this article and are happy to answer any questions that you may have on back pain related to wheelchair users.