Thursday, 12 November 2015

Wheelchair Changes

For the last several months I have been dealing with pain at the base of my spine, in my tailbone. I've also had a lot of trouble with the muscles in my lower back. I've generally written this off as a side effect of life in a wheelchair. I mentioned this in my last ALS clinic visit and the occupational therapist recommended a visit with the folks from the Seating Clinic. They specialize in issues like this.

I met with them on Tuesday at Medichair, my wheelchair supplier. There were two nice young ladies, one an occupational therapist and the other a seating specialist. The sales manager for Medichair and his new trainee were also there, observing and ready to help with parts. The ladies from the Seating Clinic took my picture, measured me, measured my wheelchair with me in it, measured my wheelchair with me not in it, discussed this situation, then said I needed a harder base to stiffen the bottom of my wheelchair cushion and a hard back for my wheelchair.

I asked why.

Apparently, as I have been losing strength in my core and back muscles, I have been increasing my natural slouch. I have always been a lazy sitter, never one for the straight-backed approach of my Dad. I can remember, even as a child, him telling me to sit up straight. The instruction failed to take hold. Now that I can no longer sit up straight of my own accord, even if I wanted to, it puts increasing pressure on my tailbone and lower back.

This would be no problem in my healthy self. I wouldn't be sitting all the time. Now that I am, there is a constant pressure on my tailbone and the failing muscles in my lower back. This means pain, unrelenting pain, in my tailbone area. So I need these changes to my wheelchair to improve my posture, to help take some of the pressure off my tailbone and transfer it to my almost completely flaccid gluteous maximus, also known as my ass.

We've put these changes in place. It doesn't seem to have made a difference in the first couple of days. My tailbone hurts as bad as ever. My lower back put me in terrible pain when I moved about this morning; it's not so bad now that I am out of bed. They say it might take a week or two for me to get used to the new positioning. I think I can hold out that long, especially if I spend more time in bed and less time in my chair. That seems like a good plan.

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