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Contrary to situations with sudden disability where improvement is expected, mobility aids have a very different meaning when you consider chronic progression of disease. It is difficult to recommend the kind of wheelchair to use for MS sufferers.
Sufferers who have illnesses that cause their disability get progressively worse as they age are not eager to utilize mobility aids. They think of it as weak and that they have gotten to a point of no return and this is the feeling with many MS sufferers.
A supportive doctor would be very helpful in determining if the patient is strong enough to carry out their daily tasks while walking. Using two sticks as walking aids should help the patient to be more mobile without zapping their strength.
Keep in mind that the patient cannot carry anything if their hands are occupied with walking sticks but a wheelchair keeps both hands free.
MS sufferers need wheelchairs that are lightweight, maneuverable and foldable. Moving the wheelchair manually is often the only way of stimulating circulation in the patient.
If an electric wheelchair is prescribed, it is important to do regular exercises, especially standing ones. The ideal model accommodates both needs. An electric scooter that is very maneuverable is another option.
The stability of the patient’s torso will determine the backrest height. The upholstery of the backrest ought to be tightened to accommodate the user’s needs. A detachable board can be used to achieve this in extreme situations.
To counteract extension a cushion could be useful on the pelvic area in the lower spine. But the cushion shouldn’t push the user forward or they will have to constantly readjust their seating position. If required the backrest ought to be slightly tilted backwards.
The armrest needs to be height adjustable and detachable. An armrest that is too high or low could result in bad posture and shoulder problems.
Loose seating causes the legs to be pressed together (adduction). This condition can be avoided by utilizing a special seat cushion or removable board. Just putting a wedge cushion on the seat isn’t enough to counteract the lower spinal area stretching spasms.
This could lead to bad posture for numerous MS sufferers. Actively flexing the hips along with unaided exercises are the only effective solution.
The wheelchair should have footrests, which can easily be removed or folded to the side when transferring the patient. Footrests minimize injuries while reducing contractions and increasing extensor spasms.
Sometimes a wide cushioned calf support can be used for contract spasticity and/or decubitus resulting from the calf strap.
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