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Last Updated on December 20, 2022

Wheelchair pressure sores happen to many wheelchair-bound individuals, whether it’s temporary or permanent. Users develop sores when there is constant pressure on one spot, and it can cause a slew of other issues—including infections. So, it’s no surprise sitting in a wheelchair all day might become uncomfortable or lead to sores.

Learning how to prevent pressure sores in a wheelchair is a good first step in ensuring your health and comfort. Read on to learn more about what they are, how massage therapy can help, and how to avoid them.Image of a persons hand on an empty wheelchair for an article about wheelchair pressure sores and the benefits of massage therapy for wheelchair users.

Wheelchair Massage Therapy

Wheelchair pressure sores can occur on the backs of the legs, buttocks, scapula, feet and heels, and even arms if one is leaning in the chair. One way to prevent pressure sores in a wheelchair is massage therapy.

While items like custom pills, elbow and heel pads, and seat adjustments can help, massage therapy is an active way to promote blood flow and stimulation. Even better, massage therapy can improve mobility. After a massage, the body will have a greater range of motion and more supple joints. The adage that “motion is lotion” is especially true in massage therapy.

How to Reverse Negative Effects of Being in a Wheelchair

When learning how to prevent pressure sores in a wheelchair remember to include activities you can do at home. Wheelchair pressure sores are uncomfortable and can happen within a few days or weeks of being stationary.

Here are a few tips on how to make a wheelchair more comfortable:

  1. Add a pillow for lumbar support and/or pelvic support
  2. Ensure the footrests are positioned properly
  3. When possible, take breaks from the chair or elevate your legs
  4. Consider purchasing a wheelchair massage cushion

How to Avoid Wheelchair Pressure Sores

Wheelchair pressure sores can manifest from being in one position for a prolonged period of time. Sitting can weaken the muscles significantly, and those using a manual wheelchair may feel sore and tight muscles from being overworked. 

If you’re wondering how to prevent pressure sores in a wheelchair, the answer is movement — like stretching and therapies — like massage.

Wheelchair therapy can release endorphins which act as a natural pain reliever for muscle aches for those that use a wheelchair. If you cannot go to a place for a massage, consider an at-home alternative like these exercises.

  1. The push-up – Using the wheelchair armrests to push up and out of the seat with your arms. You should straighten your arms fully and lock your elbows. Then ensure that the buttocks and lower back are fully out of the seat.
  2. The forward lean – Lean forward as far as possible – imagine that you are trying to bring your chest to your knees! This movement is particularly good for relieving coccyx pressure.
  3. Leaning side-to-side – While seated, shift your body weight onto your left side to lift your right side out of your seat and repeat on the other side. This is a more subtle movement, so you can perform this while you’re out, too.

For more information on helping those in a wheelchair, stair lifts, and more, contact Williams Lifts today.