Making the Switch!

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"For many SCI survivors, recapturing independence is your single most significant achievement. You view any concessions to that independence - accepting more help, using more or different equipment - as giving up, as failure, as the ultimate defeat. But it's hard to deny the fatigue and pain that may come from years of pushing a manual chair. Switching to a power chair actually could be the way to maintain that independence.

Symptoms & Signs:

Accepting change is rarely easy. Many survivors choose to ignore the signals which indicate that a power chair would be appropriate for them. Picturing themselves in a power chair or admitting they might need one can be one of the most difficult adjustments for those with SCI. Physical therapists say there are three major issues that result in symptoms which cause people to make equipment changes: level of injury, number of years post injury and age. These three factors often interact, and they result in:

  • lower strength or function
  • increased pain
  • decreased mobility
  • weight gain or loss
  • less activity
  • skin sores
  • posture problems
  • fatigue
  • aging of the primary care givers"

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