A paraplegic wheelchair is a mobility chair designed for anyone who is paralyzed from the waist down due to a spinal cord injury or other circumstance. Since paraplegics have use of their arms, there are a variety of wheelchair options to serve their needs.
A manual wheelchair can be propelled by the user if arm strength is sufficient to push the rims of the wheels to move the chair forward and backward.
Of course, a manual chair can also be used when someone pushes from behind. Manual chairs are easily transportable and perfect for short distances. Though, they are difficult to use when traversing uneven surfaces, going up extended slopes, and when navigating harsh weather conditions.
Electric wheelchairs have rechargeable batteries and electric motors, allowing paraplegics who possess little upper body strength and stamina to cover long distances with ease. There are several varieties of electric wheelchairs available and they include rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, and mid-wheel drive electric wheelchairs. For more information on these power chair options, click here.
Understandably, electric wheelchairs are much more expensive than manual paraplegic wheelchairs. With a power chair, there are also more components (including the battery) to maintain and service.
If an individual spends most of his or her time using an electric wheelchair, a regular exercise program is essential to reduce the chance of muscle weakening.
How to Choose a Wheelchair
There are a number of basic factors to consider when deciding between a manual paraplegic wheelchair and a power chair. They include body type, ease of use, budget, transportability, and comfort.
Using a manual wheelchair for a prolonged period can be tiresome and using only an electric wheelchair can be detrimental to aerobic and muscular health over time.
Therefore, many paraplegics find that alternating between a manual wheelchair and an electric wheelchair is the ideal solution.
Manual wheelchairs are appropriate for short distances while electric wheelchairs are appropriate for longer ones. Some individuals use manual wheelchairs at home to maintain muscle strength and mobility; while using electric wheelchairs to get around outside of the home.
It is important to always consult your health professional and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each chair type prior to making a purchase decision.
Share Your Tips!
Do you know of a free service or event for mobility chair users? Or, do you have a travel or vacation tip? Click here to post on our forum>>
Types of Mobility Chairs
Wheelchair Sports Activities
Helpful Resource Organizations
Mobility Scooter Buying Tips
Portable Ramp Options