As a quadriplegic, I know first-hand how devastating a spinal cord injury (SCI) can be. In fact, it is literally life-changing! Whether this injury has led to paraplegia or tetraplegia (a.k.a. quadriplegia), the future becomes uncertain. You don't have answers, and sometimes you don't even know the questions. With paralysis, mobility becomes seriously hindered. So how do you maintain your independence and quality of life?
Yes, both paraplegia and quadriplegia (products for quadriplegics) refer to types of paralysis, but there is a significant difference between the two. Both are caused by injury to the spinal cord, but where damage occurs determines if the patient suffers from paraplegia or quadriplegia, also known as tetraplegia. The spine has a total of 33 vertebrae, which are classified into five categories: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal. These start from the base of the skull, moving downward towards the pelvis:
The higher the injury, the more significant the motor/sensory function impact. Injuries to cervical vertebrae can be the most devastating, affecting breathing, limb movement, and bowel & bladder function. Tetraplegia or quadriplegia typically means loss of function in all four limbs and torso. This type of injury requires the most intervention and need for medical aid. Those suffering from paraplegia often have sensation and muscle function from the waist up and require less intervention. To further complicate things, the severity of your injury has two classifications, and the Mayo Clinic classifies them:
Your doctor or therapist will perform tests to determine the level and completeness. Initially, there can be some function/sensory nerve recovery, but the extent depends on your injury location. The Mayo Clinic identifies the signs and symptoms of an SCI as follows:
Once you have been diagnosed with paraplegia or quadriplegia, what possible medical aids might benefit you the most? There are so many questions you may not have answers to, especially if you don't even know what questions should be asked! I sure didn't after suffering from my SCI. However, we can point to five great products that may improve your independence and quality of life. They include:
1. Karman Healthcare Tilt-in-Space Foldable Manual Wheelchair: The many features of this FSA-approved wheelchair make it a customer favorite. Lightweight and foldable, it is easily transported to maintain your independence and has an intelligent 0°-35° center of gravity shifting mechanism to relieve pressure on users. This makes it perfect for quadriplegia patients with a high risk of skin breakdown and has a weight limit of 250 lbs. while only weighing 38 lbs.
2. ROHO Quadtro Select Low Profile Wheelchair Cushion: Whether you use a manual wheelchair or a motorized rehab wheelchair, skin breakdown is your most significant concern, and this wheelchair cushion can aid in minimizing pressure points. It utilizes Isoflo memory control to offer pressure-shifting capabilities while the user is seated, allowing for quick/easy adjustments. Designed with an air-filled, adjustable, cellular design, this cushion is available in a wide range of sizes to fit almost every chair imaginable. It is FSA-approved, making it an economical choice and a favorite of wheelchair users. As someone dependent on a wheelchair for everyday mobility, I have used this pad on every chair I have owned.
3. Healthline Ezee Life Rehab Shower Commode Chair-18 inch 4-way Seat: This FSA-approved shower and commode chair is a customer favorite because it allows the caregiver peri-care access in any four directions (front, sides, and back). This chair features:
For those that need head support, it is available with the tilt chair option. The abundance of features in this chair makes this one of the best-reviewed shower chairs available. One reviewer said:
02/07/20, by Claire A. "We have ordered similar products for a much higher price and sent them back as they were different from what we thought because they were not safe from a stability standpoint. However, your product was affordable and surprisingly perfect for our situation. "
4. Freedom Extra Long Flexible Drinking Straw: This drinking straw eliminates the need to lift a drink from a wheelchair or tray cup holder. It's adjustable for various-sized patients making independent drinking easier without much effort. It's washable and reusable and can be trimmed to size. Customers love it when used in a wheelchair cupholder or on a table in a restaurant, maintaining independence while dining. One five-star review said:
02/07/20, by Claire A. " Easy shopping just what we wanted "
5. Joerns Healthcare Hoyer Portable Patient Electric Lift: A safe transfer from bed to wheelchair or vice versa is essential. This portable lift makes transfers safe and secure for patients and caregivers alike. The extra-wide, adjustable legs fit around most furniture, and its mobile design lets it go with you when traveling. Features of this lift include:
I own this lift, have taken it when traveling, and can only speak glowingly of it. Easily maneuverable and convenient no matter where you need to transfer.
While suffering a spinal injury is devastating, take solace in knowing that some medical aids and products can help you retain independence and quality of life. Fortunately, we offer numerous products that can help with quadriplegia at www.healthproductsforyou.com. Work with your doctor and therapists (both occupational and physical) to find the proper equipment that benefits you without wasting money.
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HPFY Staff Writers are product experts with years of experience in medical supplies and equipment retail. They specialize in understanding the typical usage of our products, the differentiation between brands and have insights on product popularity and features. Each article ...
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