How to prevent back pain while using a wheel chair


Eighty percent of adults in the United States will suffer from back discomfort at some point in their lives.

In addition to the regular back pain that comes with sitting for long periods of time, using a wheelchair can make it worse. Read on for advice on coping with hip and lower back pain while using an electric wheelchair.

Wheelchair Tips for Back Pain

The health of our backs directly impacts the comfort of our entire bodies and our state of mind.

Our backs can quickly become overused if we are in pain or if they are forced to bear the weight of everything we do. The consequences for our health could be devastating. Many persons who use wheelchairs suffer from back discomfort due to the strain that constant sitting places on the spine.

When you ask “how can I get rid of discomfort in my lower back and hips?” it’s probably because you want to know how to How? By doing the following:

Find Out Where You Stand

Poor posture is a leading cause of back discomfort, especially in the lower back.

This is due to the fact that slouching increases the strain on your spine and neck. Your lower back and hips take the brunt of the strain when your head and upper back drop. Your hips and lower back may tighten up as a result of this.

When confined to a wheelchair for an extended period of time, maintaining good posture is crucial. Keep your head and neck at the same level as your spine and shoulders by sitting up straight.

One’s back can be harmed in a number of ways by prolonged periods of sitting.

       In a sitting position, slouching or slumping

       Using a mobile device in bed requires you to glance down at the device.

       Plopping down on one’s stomach in bed and using a mobile device

A constant ache in the back is a sure sign that you engage in at least one of these activities too frequently.

Methods for Increasing Your Stature

Efforts to modify your posture may seem futile at first, but with time and practise, you will see steady improvements.

When you first begin correcting your posture, you may experience soreness in muscles that were previously pain-free. It’s because you’re not accustomed to using the other muscles in your back and shoulders to carry the load.

As time goes on, the lower back pain should subside as the other muscles adapt to the extra weight.

Your posture could benefit from a few simple stretches, which you should begin immediately. First, try some shoulder-opening physical therapy.

To accomplish this, you should reach behind your back. The hands must be held together and lowered. You’ll be able to open up your chest and shoulders and get a more upright posture by doing this. Repeat multiple times daily for 30-60 seconds each time.

Another simple wheelchair stretch is the horizontal pull-out.

If you wish to perform the horizontal pull-out, you’ll need a resistance band. With elbows bent and pushed in toward the body, hold the resistance band horizontally. Keep your elbows in close to your body as you start to draw on the resistance band with your hands.

By strengthening your core, you may improve your posture and get a better look at your chest and shoulders. Repeat this routine around 10 times, and feel free to do it multiple times a day.

Wheelchairs need to have lumbar cushions installed

If your lower back isn’t properly supported, you can end up slouching.

Your lumbar spine, which is the area of your lower back, is robust and flexible. The purpose of this device is to lighten the load on your spine. However, if the lumbar spine is overworked, the entire lower back may experience pain.

When functioning properly, the lumbar spine is responsible for:

       Hold your upper body steady and supported.

       Make sure the spinal cord is protected.

       Assist with swerving maneuvers

It will be difficult to walk and retain a straight back if your lower back is constantly being compressed. This is why a lumbar cushion should accompany you to your electric wheelchair.

As for the area between your lower back and the chair’s back, that will be stuffed with a lumbar cushion. It conforms to the shape of your spine, reducing the strain placed on your lumbar region.

Anyone who sits for extended periods of time without lumbar support will have to actively work to maintain a neutral spine position. You may begin to slump after a long period of time spent trying to sit up straight without assistance.

Put a cushion on your wheelchair’s seat.

There should be padding on the seat of the wheelchair, and lumbar support should be a priority.

Wheelchair cushions consisting of gel-infused memory foam provide excellent padding. The cushion can alleviate some of the stress and strain that comes from sitting in a wheelchair all day. Chronic hip and lower back discomfort is a common complaint among those who use wheelchairs due to the lack of padding and harsh surface.

A wheelchair-bound man looks up from his phone and laughs.

In order to prevent your body weight from being distributed unevenly across the wheelchair’s metal frame, a memory foam cushion is recommended.

A gel-infused memory foam cushion is another option because it allows air to circulate while keeping your seat comfortable and cool. Because the memory foam is perforated, you won’t overheat when sitting in your wheelchair.

Another type of foam designed to mold to your body is memory foam.

It’s uncomfortable to sit on a standard seat cushion because of the heat and the moisture it will absorb from your body. You’re not getting your money’s worth because the cushion will start to stink and feel terrible after some time. Gel-infused memory foam cushions are the most comfortable choice if you want to upgrade the comfort of your seat.

The wheelchair needs arm rests

Did you realise that if your arms aren’t properly supported, you could end up with back pain from using a wheelchair?

Lacking enough arm support in a wheelchair can lead to undesirable posture changes like slouching or hunching. Maintaining upper body strength when confined to a wheelchair can be challenging. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for wheelchair users to start slouching after a day of sitting upright.

You can use your elbows and the rest of your arms to keep your weight distributed evenly when your wheelchair offers adequate arm support. Therefore, the arm support will prevent you from slumping forward and letting your arms and shoulders hang forward, and will instead pull your posture up and make your shoulders sit further back.

Toss in some Body and Mind Enhancers

If you use a wheelchair and have limited mobility in your upper body, you may require assistance in maintaining a healthy and relaxed posture.

To avoid straining your lower back, hips, and upper back while using a wheelchair, it is important to maintain an upright posture at all times. For this reason, back support and head restraints are advantageous. Having the option to lie down when your upper body tyres will restore your ability to keep your head and upper body up.

A head stabiliser is a useful addition to any recliner for those who still have difficulties keeping their heads up when seated.

A foot aid would be a welcome addition

Wheelchair users require extra support for their feet because they spend so much time sitting.

To refresh your memory, we already discussed how pain in one area of the body can have a domino effect on other areas. To be clear, even your feet are included in this concept.

Having footrests in a wheelchair is crucial for balance and stability. Letting your feet hang all day will cause your legs and feet to drag you down. This implies that your head, neck, and shoulders will begin to sag as your lower body weight presses down on them.

Make sure your wheelchair has a shelf, peddle, or some other area for your feet to rest. The result will be improved posture and a stronger body that can more easily support your load.

Strengthen Your Muscles:

 If you want to sit up straight in your wheelchair, you need to be able to support your own weight.

Slouching occurs when your upper body is not supported by strong muscles, such as those in your back, core, shoulders, and arms. How does one who uses a wheelchair build muscle? Actually, there are a plethora of options!

Etract your shoulders

You can tell that this is a shoulder-focused workout from the name alone.

This is a simple exercise that requires no special tools or weights to do. It’s a portable activity, meaning you can perform it almost anywhere. To begin, bring your arms to a 90-degree angle at your shoulders. Hold your hands with the palms facing down.

Next, create a fist like you’re gripping a bike’s handlebars. Raise your arms and clasp your hands together. The next step is to advance your hands until your arms are perpendicular to your body in front of you.

Now, bring the elbows back until they’re somewhat more apart than they were when they were bent to a right angle (90 degrees). You know you’ve drawn your elbows back far enough when you feel a slight tightness between your shoulder blades.

As many times as you like, really. If it’s too simple, try adding a resistance band.

Put your arms around your chest

A chest squeeze is an exercise that uses your hands and arms to improve your chest muscles.

If you have access to a medicine ball, hold it in front of your body with both hands. Start by clenching your abs and squeezing your hands together to squash the medicine ball. Squeezing the ball firmly causes the elbows to rise, which strengthens the chest muscles.

Instead of a medicine ball, you may use a towel, sweatshirt, or whatever else you have lying around that is around the same size and form.

Core Twist

You’ll do the twist of the abdominals while in the same position as the shoulder retractions (arms at a 90-degree angle at shoulder height).

As a result, you won’t be able to move your arms, but rather your upper body will twist. Slightly rock your upper body to and fro. Your abdominal and core muscles will get a good workout. Perform as many repetitions as you are comfortable with.

Tapping Feet

You don’t need to undertake this exercise if you’re having difficulties putting weight on your legs.

However, this is a fantastic approach to build leg strength if you are of a senior age and are confined to a wheelchair but still able to move your legs slightly. By building leg muscle, you can reduce the strain on your upper body caused by using a wheelchair.

Sit up as straight as you can. Even though this move targets your legs, you should also compress your abs to strengthen them.

Reach for the ceiling with your toes while keeping your other legs still and your back erect. Place your feet flat on the wheelchair’s footrest. You’re free to do this whenever you’d like.

The muscles in your calves and quads will begin to burn as you increase the number of repetitions.

Author bio:

headshotAshley Brown is a content creator and digital marketer with a passion for helping businesses in the gilani engineering industry succeed online. With over 5 years of experience in creating high-quality content, she specializes in creating compelling and informative blog posts, articles, and social media content!