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Keep Moving!! Living with Paraplegia

Keep Moving!! Living with Paraplegia
Kevin Cleary

A lack of mobility is associated with a spinal cord injury and paraplegia. While this may be the case, there is no reason you should become housebound and not enjoy this wonderful world around us!! Yes, dealing with paraplegia does come with a different set of challenges, but is not something that can’t be overcome. Consult your doctor and/or therapist to assist you and you’ll be up and about in no time.

Defining Paraplegia

After a spinal cord injury (complete or incomplete), electrical impulses that would normally travel down an intact spinal cord may be interrupted. When this happens, we lose the ability to move our extremities. Paraplegia is defined as an injury to the spinal cord below the first thoracic spinal nerve according to resulting in loss of feeling and movement to the legs. The degree of function loss depends on where the injury occurs and its severity. Since the injury occurs at T1 or lower paraplegics are able to use their arms and hands to manipulate their environment as well as themselves.

 Keep Moving!! Living with Paraplegia

In order to maintain mobility, paraplegics can get around using a variety of wheelchairs. Depending on their injury and personal choice, choosing which wheelchair varieties suit the user can be made consulting a physical therapist and your doctor.

Challenges Facing Paraplegics

Without the ability to use their legs, paraplegics face a unique set of challenges in order to maintain an everyday lifestyle. Issues such as skin breakdowns or pressure sores, inability to control waste functions, and simple everyday things like reaching something off the shelf become tasks that they need assistance with. The most important thing somebody bound to a wheelchair can do is to make sure that they’re sitting on a cushion that distributes their weight, minimizing pressure points. The ROHO High Profile Single Compartment Cushion is in air-filled adjustable wheelchair support surface that uses separate air bladders to distribute your weight properly. By using an air pump you can adjust the firmness of the seat cushion to your liking and provides hydrostatic distribution of load across the entire contact area. Thresholds offer another unique challenge to those in a wheelchair. Who would think that just a simple little bump can be a difficult obstacle? To overcome this dilemma, the use of a threshold ramp, such as the Ez-Access Aluminum Threshold Ramp , allows a wheelchair to glide over thresholds and small steps effortlessly. It’s available in a variety of sizes and is easily transported so wherever you go, it goes!! For those that are bound to a wheelchair, but can still work, attaching a desk tray can make working more convenient. The Maddak Lap Top Wheelchair Desk has plenty of storage beneath the lid for a laptop computer, business files, or personal belongings. It fits any standard 16“-20“wheelchair arm and its adjustable lid tilts forward for reading and writing while laying flat for computer use. Nothing can stop you now!!

Moving In and Out and All around!!

 Keep Moving!! Living with Paraplegia

Simply navigating around the home can become a complicated task for somebody living with paraplegia. Sometimes they encounter a narrow doorway that they never thought about in the past. This can complicate getting in and out of that room since the wheelchair may be wider than the doorway. By using the Mabis DMI HealthSmart Expandable Door Hinges you can add 2 inches to any doorway opening. It simply installs using the existing screw holes and is significantly easier than removing the door and its frame to accommodate a wider door. Getting around sometimes means being transferred out of your wheelchair. Paraplegics can even drive cars that are specially modified with hand controls. One way to make transferring out of the wheelchair simpler is to use the BeasyTrans Original Patient Transfer System . It is ideal for automobile transfers and its longer length accommodates transfers where space is not an issue. It can also be used for boosting or repositioning in bed and a simple way to transfer out of bed. The secret to a simple secure transfer is its circular seat that glides on a track while supporting the user’s weight comfortably. Since paraplegics have the ability to use their hands and arms, using an aid to manipulate your legs can make things easier. The Maddak Leg Wrap Positioning Aid can eliminate the need to grab clothing and reduce the risk of injury caused by dropping the legs. It attaches to the user in three positions and assists in repositioning legs to and from a bed, chair, or commode.

Get a Grip on It!!

Unfortunately, being confined to a wheelchair can limit one’s reach. While this may seem to be the proverbial unmovable obstacle, there is a way to extend your reach. A reacher such as the Mabis DMI Aluminum Reacher with Magnetic Tip is perfect for those with limited range of motion or reach. It can pick up objects as small as a dime or as big as a quart bottle and features a slip resistant, ergonomic handle. Other reacher’s use circular rubber tips in order to grasp objects such as the Sammons Preston Sure-Lock Aluminum Reacher . Its automatic locking mechanism locks the jaws in place while retrieving the desired object and easily releases with a flick of the thumb. The addition of grab bars can help a paraplegic transfer to and from their wheelchair. The Drive Deluxe International Grade Adjustable Length Suction Cup Grab Bars can be used in a variety of ways and places to accommodate any patient’s needs. Paraplegics don’t lament!! There are a multitude of aids to help regain your independence and allow you to get around easier.


Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.


HPFY Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary

Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.

In 2006, ...

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