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Wheelchair News, Issue #014 Reduce Repetitive Stress
January 28, 2012

Reduce Repetitive Stress

If you have a low level spinal cord injury and can propel yourself take care not to use poor techniques or body position in your chair causing increased risk for injury. Using a very lightweight frame and positioning the shoulder directly over the rear axle helps reduce repetitive stress; the fingertips should just reach the middle of the wheel when the arm is hanging down at rest.

If your injury is mid level you may be able to self propel, however, have less strength and grip. You may push against the tire with the palm of your hand, rather than gripping the hand rim or tire. Adding a rubber coating can provide a better grip, or using pegs as a means to propel yourself. Efficiency at this level is decreased and therefore risk of shoulder injuries increases. A lightweight wheelchair is still important. Some individuals may benefit from a power-assist wheelchair or power wheelchair.

If your injury is higher and you have some function (ie: C5-C6) your may be able to use your arms to operate a joy stick; or have a post style handle making it easier to use due to a lack of a grip. You will need a power wheelchair and may need to consider arm supports, mobile or trough.

If your do not have any extremity control but do have some neck motion you may be able to use a head array such as Peach tree. If you do not have any neck movement you may be able to us a sip 'n puff control.

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