Mobility & More:

Reprinted from PN March 2003
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Pain and Wheeling
Although many doctors and other clinicians believe wheelchair users have neck pain (NP), scientists have conducted little research on how common the pain is and on possible diagnoses associated with it. Wheelchair users are exposed to vibrations as they ride in their chairs, and other research has linked vibration exposure to NP. Scientists at the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL), VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, examined 71 chair users at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in New York City and Cleveland; 66% reported NP since becoming wheelchair users, and 60% told of pain during the past month. Neither age nor length of time in a wheelchair differed between those who did and did not report pain. Because pressing on muscles reproduced the symptoms in 54% of subjects, it is likely some of the pain comes from the muscles; such myofascial pain is effectively treated by deep massage and stretching. Wheelchair users who have NP should talk to their doctors about it and possibly try physical therapy. Contact: HERL, (412) 365-4854 / 365-4858 (fax).

George Howard tests the prototype of the off-road wheelchair designed by Clarkson University (Potsdam, N.Y.) senior engineering students.


During the 2001?2002 academic year, a team of Clarkson University senior engineering students took on the design and construction of an off-road wheelchair as an integrated design project. The vehicle was developed at the request of George Howard, a local ATV and wilderness enthusiast who lost the use of his legs as the result of a viral infection. In the March 2003 PN/Paraplegia News, read about the program, this project, and the resulting dune-buggy-like chair.


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