Home → Health & Wellness after SCI → Skin Care and Pressure Injuries (formerly referred to as pressure ulcers or pressure sores) → Pressure Relief in a Manual Wheelchair-RRTC
4.2. Pressure Relief in a Manual Wheelchair-RRTC
PRESSURE RELIEFS IN A MANUAL WHEELCHAIR
One way to perform a pressure relief is to push up from your chair to take the pressure off your buttocks and the boney areas.
To perform this type of pressure relief, lock your wheels and fully loosen or unbuckle your seat belt, then lift using the arm rests of your chair so that your buttocks lift off of the cushion. If you do not have arm rests, you can press up from your wheels.
Once up, fully extend your arms and lock your elbows. It is important to make sure you completely lift your buttocks off the cushion and hold for 15 seconds every 15 minutes or 30 seconds every 30 minutes (unless a different amount of time is recommended by your medical team) so that your skin can recover from the pressure of sitting.
Leaning from Side to Side
This technique is useful for performing discreet pressure reliefs in social settings or if you are unable to completely lift your buttocks off the cushion.
One way to perform a pressure relief is to lean to your side to remove pressure off your buttock. Please note that this is considered only half of a relief as only one buttock is lifted at a time. You will need to perform this relief to each side for 15 seconds every 15 minutes or 30 seconds every 30 minutes (unless a different amount of time is recommended by your medical team).
Lean to the right side until the left buttock including the boney area is lifted off your seat cushion. You may need to push through the arm rest and lock out your left elbow to achieve the full weight shift and clearance. If you do not have arm rests, you can press up from your wheels. Return to your sitting position and repeat on the opposite side. Lean your body to the left until you achieve full clearance of the right buttock, including the boney area and hold.
To perform this pressure relief, lean forward to remove pressure from your buttocks. Before starting this activity, make sure to lock you wheelchair.
Lean forward in your chair until you can slide your hands underneath your buttocks and hold that position for 15 seconds every 15 minutes or 30 seconds every 30 minutes (unless a different amount of time is recommended by your medical team).
One option is to lean forward and rest your chest on your knees. Another method is to lean forward on a desk or table. The key is to make sure you have pressure off your buttocks and boney areas.
This fact sheet only provides general information. It is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be used to diagnose or treat a medical condition. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice relative to your specific medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have about your medical condition.