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side-photo.PNGSitting for a long period of time takes practice! Maintaining good skin health is a matter of routine, and pressure relief is important.  For users of all types of mobility devices it’s important to shift your weight around.

1. Side-to-Side. This method allows for each side of your buttocks to regain bloodflow indepenently. It requires good shoulder and  arm strength. 

2. Push-up. This also requires good shoulder strength. It doesn’t matter how far off  your cushion you can get, all pressure relief counts. Using the elbows, a little bit of forward lean will increase the distance that your buttocks come off the back of the cushion. 

3. Tilt-and-Recline. For power wheelchair users who don’t have the  shoulder strength to do a push up, this is a great option. Tilt alone is great, but you achieve better pressure relief when it is combined with recline to open up the back angle.

4. Get out of your chair. For manual wheelchair users this is the equivalent of tilt. It can also act as a combination of tilt and recline, depending on how tall the couch or chair is.  This method shifts the pressure of gravity pushing down on you from your backside to your back. It also allows for decompression of your spine.

5. Slouch. This is one time when it’s ok to Ignore your Mom’s voice in your head telling you to sit up straight. Sliding forward and slouching in your chair is another good way to shift your weight. Just make sure you  have the strength, or help, to get back into the proper position when you are finished.

6. Stand. Using a standing frame allows for complete pressure relief and also provides other health benefits of improved GI health and circulation.  
Heather Markham, Heather Markham, MS CS, MS RST, ATP

Author

Heather Markham, Heather Markham, MS CS, MS RST, ATP

Heather Markham, MS CS, MS RST, ATP lives in the Phoenix area, and is a Virtual ATP for Numotion. Heather has been a wheelchair user for the last 12 years due to limb-girdle muscular dystrophy. She has a B.S. in Education from Texas A&M, M.S. in computer science from Midwestern State University, M.S. in Rehab Technology and Science from University of Pittsburgh, and a Doctorate from Walt Disney University. She is a photographer, competitive para-surfer, and was Ms. Wheelchair KY 2013. She lives with her cat, and loves living near family.