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Need Advice on Wheelchair usage

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  • Need Advice on Wheelchair usage

    Over the last two years my MS has been progressing and I have been using a wheelchair when I go to the mall or anywhere I may have to walk far. However I have insisted not to use it for short walks into stores or restaurants. However I have noticed lately that when I go to restaurants or stores and have to do walking like going to the restrooms or looking around. I get extremely fatigued. I am walking much slower and drag my left leg. All of my relapses have attacked my left leg and it is very weak. The logic before MS was that if your muscles aren't working then push them and make them work and they will get stronger. I have been going with that philosophy but I don't think it is working? I was going to PT but I stopped because it seemed like it wasn't working and I would be so fatigued that day and the next.
    I know a lot of you are so active maybe you can give me some advice. Do I give in and use my wheelchair more to avoid fatigue. I am so afraid to be dependant on the WC. Thanks for any thoughts.

  • #2
    Hi Becky, have you tried a cane? That might be a solution to take some of the pressure of your left leg but still allow for you to give it some work. MS effects my left leg and left arm more than anything also and a walking stick comes in handy when I am experiencing fatigue. Just curious how long were you going to PT? I started PT in November and I feel like its starting to help me get through most days now without a lot of fatigue. I walk everyday now and my stamina has been getting much better.
    Not knowing your situation I think its just important to listen to your body, if you feel good then walk or use a cane, if you feel you need to use your wheelchair there's nothing wrong with that. If you need the wheelchair use it because you don't want to hurt yourself even more. Just look at your wheelchair as a tool you have in your arsenal and don't feel like you're giving in to something bad when you do use it. PT and Occupational Therapy can take time so just try to be patient and if you really think it isn't working maybe you can try another PT or OT. Don't give up on getting better and try not to worry about what may or may not happen in the future. Hope this helps! Take care of yourself and use that wheelchair when you feel you need it and remember that using it isn't giving in, its just a tool and with time you can build up your strength and rely on it less and less.
    Rob Davidson
    Active With MS


    • #3
      So I used a wheelchair for about 5 months. It was a great and vital tool. For me, it kept me from getting isolated and let me keep getting out. It also helped dramatically reduce pain (the primary reason I needed it) and that pain reduction let me think again, which let me finish graduate school. If I'd kept walking, or trying to, I wasn't going to either make it across the campus or be able to think when I got to classes. I didn't use it full time but most of the time, any distances. I will say that I really needed some PT during or at least when the flare subsided, as my back became weak from not walking and standing and it was a hard readjustment. It helped though. At least if you have the chair as an option, you can also decide consciously when and how you want to exercise your legs and back etc.