If you’re going to be spending a lot of time in a wheelchair – perhaps because you’re rehabilitating from an injury, or need a mobility aid to cope with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis – it’s imperative that you’re comfortable. Improper sitting posture can do unimaginable damage to your body over time, messing with spinal alignment and setting you up for aching backs and sore posteriors. But if we’re confined to a wheelchair, we can’t exactly put things like work, studies or any other activities involving sitting down for long periods on hold.
This is where wheelchair cushions come in. Some wheelchairs already come with padded seating, and while some brands do offer ergonomic seating to keep you comfortable, relaxed and properly supported, you’ll need a little extra help in most cases. The best wheelchair cushions are carefully designed not only to be durable and resilient, but also encourage your body to naturally maintain the right alignment so you don’t damage your spine or hips, or develop an unhealthy slouch. These pillows also help correct any such conditions you may already have, cutting down and eventually altogether removing instances of pain and soreness by giving the pressured parts of your body the right support and pain relief to begin to recover. So which pillows are going to cut it? Let’s take a look at our top picks.
ComfiLife Orthopedic Coccyx and Posture Support Cushion
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Memory foam is a great option for supportive cushions, mattresses and pillows for alleviating back and hip pain, because the material has the ability to hold the natural shape of the body and support it without losing its shape or bottoming out. This cushion’s top-grade memory foam isn’t the only reason we’ve placed this at the top, though – the pillow itself is designed ergonomically to give your rear and back the best support to keep your spine aligned and posture healthy. The U-shape of the cushions hold up the thighs and relieve pressure on the hips and tailbone, the contoured structure designed to essentially cup your posterior when you’re sitting down. This not only helps keep pains and aches from improper posture and misplaced strain from manifesting, but helps correct the posture problems which spark off or exacerbate conditions like sciatic pain and herniated disks too.
The cushion isn’t restricted for use only for wheelchairs. Throwing this on to your office chair, dining room chair or car seat also helps keep your posture right by supporting you properly thanks to its elevated rear design, and keeps you pain-free, so you can keep using it even when you won’t be using your wheelchair. The soft velour cover is removable and machine washable, while the non-slip rubber of the cushion’s underside will keep it from slipping around under you.
KEN’S BUDGET PICK
Essential Medical Supply Fleece Covered Wheelchair Cushion
The high density foam of this cushion holds its shape but also adapts just so to your body’s contours to properly support you and encourage a healthy posture. Available in two sizes – 16 by 16 inches and 18 by 16 inches – the soft fleece cover of the cushion is breathable and comfy, removable to toss into the washing machine when it’s time to do the laundry. Sitting perfectly not just on a wheelchair seat but also your armchairs, desk chairs and car seat for some much appreciated support and pain relief, this cushion bounces right back when you’re not sitting on it, not flattening or losing its shape despite hours of use.
Kieba Coccyx Seat Cushion
Some people may be wary about memory foam – although they can hold their shape very well, over a couple of years of use some lower-grade cushions can flatten out. This isn’t a problem for this cushion though – not only does it come with top-grade therapeutic standard memory foam you won’t have to worry will lose its shape, but complements it with gel technology to bring you the best of both worlds. The gel layer over the foam gives you additional support and keeps your posture in alignment, distributing pressure evenly and keeping you from straining yourself, as well as enabling more airflow, absorbing shock, and enabling pain relief.
The firm contours of the pillow meld to and hold on to your curves, the cooling gel and soft and removable velour cover ensuring the cushion is still breathable and won’t lead to you overheating from being in contact with it. The gel-foam combination promises not to lose its shape whether you’re using it all day for your wheelchair or a cross-country roadtrip, giving you more stability and support than an exclusively gel-based pillow, some of which have been known to flatten and leak liquid over use. The non-slip base holds the cushion in place when you’re sitting on it.
Drive Medical 14886 Skin Protection Gel “E” Wheelchair Seat Cushion
The polyurethane foam casing a gel center helps distribute the pressure on your body when you’re sitting for extended periods of time, just firm enough to give you the right support while malleable enough to mold to the natural shape of your body and hold it up, negating uneasy and strain-inducing postures. The cushion’s cover is divided into two sections – the top or exposed part of the cover we’ll be sitting on is a water-resistant, breathable and resilient urethane-coated nylon, while the bottom is waterproof, non-slip vinyl. The cover is removable and washable, durable as well as comfortable to be in contact with all day. Out of all the options on this list, this entry offers the most variety in cushion size, so there’s a solid likelihood you’ll find a pillow meeting even non-standard size requirements to perfectly fit your wheelchair.
- Drive Medical: http://www.drivemedical.com/
- Essential Medical Supply: http://www.essentialmedicalsupply.com/
- NCHPAD blog: http://blog.ncpad.org/2015/03/23/all-that-you-should-know-about-gel-seat-cushions-for-wheelchairs/
- Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheelchair_cushion