Backward adjustable thoracic support in wheelchair users
Wheelchair users are prone to back pain, this may be linked to slump posture. If lumbar curve can be maintained the pressure on the interverterable discs and postural musculature of the back is reduced. Muscular strength affects posture maintenance and is influenced by age-related disorders.
An experimental wheelchair was designed to support the sacral to thoracic region, which is adjustable around 3 axis. Also the seat height and depth as well as pedal length can be adjusted. This is referred to as backwards adjustable thoracic support (BTS).
BTS showed a neutral pelvic tilt, reduced lumbar tilt and reduced muscular activation when compared to other seated postures.
This has a knock on effect on hamstring tightness and shear stress both in the spine and on the seat, which can result in pressure sores.
This research was done with health individuals but shows potential for transfer to individuals with lower limb deficiencies.
> From: Li et al., PLoS One 9(11) (2015) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to The Author(s). Click here for the Pubmed summary.