Are you uncomfortable in your wheelchair? Before you go another day in discomfort, consider purchasing wheelchair comfort cushions to enhance your experience. That being said, there are so many different products out there that it’s hard to know what to look for and where to start looking. Thankfully, we are here to tell you everything you need to know about how to choose the right fit for both you and your wheelchair.
Why Do You Need Comfort Cushions for Your Wheelchair?
Many people assume that they don’t need additional comfort cushions in their wheelchair since they’re already sitting down, and it seems comfy enough on its own. However, the more time you actually spend in your wheelchair, the more you’ll come to realize that it might not exactly be the most comfortable thing out there. After all, even sitting on something like a couch or even a nice desk chair can become a little bit uncomfortable without the right support if you sit there long enough. The same goes for your wheelchair!
This obviously isn’t something that you should just ignore. After all, you may already be dealing with pain and discomfort in different areas of your body, so you need to take steps to ensure as much comfort and pain-free living as possible.
This can be difficult for a wheelchair. The long-term effects of sitting down for long periods of time are well-researched and aren’t very positive. Most of this research is based on people who simply sit during the day for work and are still able to move around at other times during the day. Just imagine how being bound to a wheelchair can exacerbate these already negative effects like a risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), diabetes, varicose veins, chronic pain, back injuries, and a permanent bad posture.
Understandably, some of these things sound really unideal and even scary! Deep vein thrombosis, for example, is when a blood clot forms in your leg from sitting down for too long. If not treated, the blood clot could potentially break off from its location on your leg and make it way through your bloodstream to reach vital organs like your lungs or heart with life-threatening effects.
Varicose veins, on the other hand, aren’t as serious, but they can definitely be embarrassing and annoying to deal with. These dark and prominent veins on your legs can make you feel extremely insecure about your legs and leave you wearing pants no matter how hot it is outside. Clearly, this isn’t ideal— especially if your self-confidence has already been affected by having to use a wheelchair.
Sitting in a wheelchair for long periods of time can put a ton of pressure on parts of your body like your neck, spine, hips, and legs. You may not feel the effects at first, but eventually, you can develop chronic pain if you don’t get the right support for these body parts.
Even worse, you can also develop legitimate back injuries like herniated discs or bulging discs in your back that can be extremely painful and difficult to treat. Finally, your overall posture can be affected by how you sit in your chair, and you could be permanently left with an arched back and shoulders from leaning forward on a regular basis. Obviously, you want to avoid these issues, but how can you do this when you’re forced to sit down in a wheelchair most, if not all, of the time?
How to Choose the Correct Wheelchair Comfort Cushions?
Thankfully, there are things that you can do to improve your comfort and overall experience in a wheelchair while preventing negative long-term effects all at the same time. The answer comes in the form of wheelchair comfort cushions.
There is a wide variety of different options out there that have either been made specifically for a wheelchair or can easily be adapted to be used with one. Here are some specific things to look for when trying to choose the perfect wheelchair comfort cushions:
- When it comes to material for wheelchair comfort cushions, memory foam definitely reigns supreme! This is because memory foam is firm enough to provide you with extra support in areas where you need it while also being able to form to your unique body shape without being so stiff that it’s just uncomfortable.
Memory foam is also a very breathable material, so you won’t get overly hot or sweaty from being in contact with it for long periods of time. If this is still something that you are concerned about, there are also gel-infused memory foam products out there that have special cooling effects to help you maintain an ideal temperature while in your chair.
- Also, make sure that any wheelchair comfort cushions are made with an ergonomic design and endorsed by orthopedists who understand how the body works and what kind of support it needs in order to function properly and remain pain-free.
- Finally, make sure that the wheelchair comfort cushions that you buy are made by a reputable company like Everlasting Comfort, with great customer service and five-star customer reviews from real people who also loved their products. Bonus points if the company offers a lifetime placement guarantee since you can rest assured that their products are of the highest quality and that you are making a solid investment into your comfort.
The Best Wheelchair Comfort Cushion Options Available
Now that you know what to look for, we are going to recommend some of the best wheelchair comfort cushions out there based on the guidelines that we just covered:
- A gel-infused memory foam wheelchair cushion: this product has been specifically designed for use in wheelchairs and can support your spine and hip while also preventing and diminishing existing pain in the hips and spine
- A back cushion lumbar support pillow to provide lumbar support and pain relief in the lower back that is easily caused by sitting for long periods of time
- A memory foam footrest to provide support and pain relief in the feet, ankles, and legs that can be caused by putting too much pressure on these areas even while you’re seated
How to Correctly Sit in a Wheelchair?
Although many of these support pillows will help you sit properly in your wheelchair, it’s still important to go over some of the basics so that you can really gain all of the benefits of these support devices while improving your overall health:
- Make sure that your chair is the right size and can support your entire buttocks and thighs while you are sitting directly in the middle of the chair and all the way back.
- Adjust the angle of the seatback so that it’s a little bit more than 90 degrees. You don’t want to sit directly upright, so setting it at an angle of 100-100 degrees is ideal.
- Make sure that your shoulders aren’t slumping forward at all and that you aren’t leaning over to one side.
- Provide your feet and arms with support with the footrests and armrests correctly placed. Your feet and arms should be kept at natural positions— not too close to the body but also not too far out. Make sure that your arms aren’t so high that you have to bring your shoulders up towards your head.
- Finally, make sure that your neck stays upright and aligned with the middle of the chair. If you are unable to maintain that sort of neck position on your own, then you may need additional neck or head supports so that you can save yourself from neck pain in the not so distant future.
How to Improve Overall Posture for Sitting in a Wheelchair
Even though you should take steps to improve your posture while you are actively sitting in a wheelchair, that’s often not enough. You may need to take additional steps to strengthen different areas of your body to provide you with enough strength to achieve the optimal posture position while you’re actually sitting down. Here are some things you can do:
- Do some simple stretches every day to expand flexibility and help you maintain the correct posture. These stretches can be as simple as raising your arms over your head and out to the sides. Talk to your doctor to find the best stretches for you!
- Do some simple exercises to build strength. Just because you’re in a wheelchair doesn’t mean that you can’t exercise— in fact, it can be extremely beneficial for a whole host of health reasons. Some exercises that your doctor may recommend include shoulder retractions, chest squeezes, ab twists, and toe taps.
Finding the right fit for your wheelchair cushions is extremely important to benefit your level of comfort and pain. Thankfully, Everlasting Comfort makes a variety of different products that can help provide you with the support you need to sit comfortably in your chair.