It’s not easy sitting all the time. We all know the human body wasn’t meant to exist in such a way, but yet we do it, many of us decade after decade, all thanks to modern science. Ironically however, modern science hasn’t figured out how to cure back pain.
And it plagues everyone in a wheelchair sooner or later. Maybe you’ll get scoliosis or maybe you’ll just get grinding of the vertebrae. Whatever the root cause of the pain, it’s nearly unavoidable if you don’t stand and walk. All we can do is make the back pain as bearable as possible, and I have a few tips that work pretty darn good.
Cross Your Legs
When I was a little girl I always thought crossing my legs was a very ladylike thing; something you would do when wearing a dress or a skirt while at church. But after my injury I realized crossing my legs could have a whole new meaning – sublime back pain relief. My yoga teacher who is also a paraplegic swears by this trick. I’m not quite sure how it works but, but my theory is that by crossing my legs, the pressure on the back is transferred.
A yoga pose I learned in my adapted yoga class, you’ll need another person to help with “The Rack” but it’s oh-so worth it. Even a caregiver can help. How it works is by having your helper grab your ankles while you’re lying on your back and then they pull down on your body in a downward motion, lengthening your back. The relief you get from this is astounding, especially if you brace your upper body while your ankles are being pulled.
Head Between the Knees
I will frequently do this on my own. All I do is lean forward as far as I can in my wheelchair, putting my head between my knees. I’ll sometimes hook my arms to feel more secure so I can lean forward as much as I can too. This works in a pinch, even if it’s not the best one on the list.
My personal favorite, Spinal Twists. This is another adapted yoga pose. To do them, simply grab your left knee with your right hand and put your left hand behind you as much as you can (I usually grab my left push handle) and then twist to the left. Hold this for at least 10 seconds, and then do this on your right side in a similar fashion. This awesome “twist” really cranks the pain out of your back beautifully.
I wish back pain didn’t have to be a reality for us wheelchair users, but unfortunately it is. If you have any more tips that should be added to my list, please share in the comments below.
How do you relieve your back pain?