Give That Skin Some Love, and Pressure Relief

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By: Tiffiny | April 17th, 2014 @ 6:04 pm | Feature stories |


Possibly one of the most annoying tasks that come with paralysis is pressure relief. No matter how time consuming and hard it can be, there’s no getting around it; it simply must be done. If you don’t, you could get a pressure sore that could leave you bedridden for months.

Most of us unfortunately learn the hard way about how important pressure relief is. We end up with skin breakdown, and before we know it we’re on our sides in bed, staring at a laptop screen and binge watching some mediocre television show. It is a living hell to be sure.

This is why learning the pressure relief techniques that can be done in a wheelchair is hugely important no matter your level of injury. Read on for three different pressure relief techniques, each tailored for a specific SCI level.

Video #1: The Easiest Method of All – Tilt

If you are someone who has limited movement, then you will certainly appreciate our first video from Abraham Lukens, a C3 quadriplegic from La Porte, Texas paralyzed just last August while playing volleyball in the water (he dove to catch a ball, but the water was too shallow).

Since his injury, he’s been on the long and arduous learning curve us veteran SCIers know well, and he’s got pressure relief down pat; a very good place to start. Because of his level of injury, tilting back is the only way to go.

In his short video, he shows exactly how he tilts all the way back and rests there for 2 minutes, which it is something he must do every hour to maintain good skin. Watch his demo video

Video #2: The Fabulous Forward Lean

Our second video comes from, a website sponsored by the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation Research. They’ve made dozens of videos showing how to be independent as a wheelchair-user, and in this video they show how to do pressure relief in a power wheelchair by leaning forward.

A technique that should only be attempted by those who know they can get themselves back upright, it shows how to lean forward onto your knees to achieve pressure relief around the buttocks and tailbone. This should be done for 30 seconds every 30 minutes.

It also shows a different way to do this that can feel great – leaning forward onto a piece of furniture, such as a countertop or table – to achieve the forward lean safely and to get a great back stretch while you’re at it. Watch how it’s done

Video #3: For Strong-Armed People Only

In our last video, also created by the National Institute on Disability, we get to see one of the most effective pressure relief techniques out there, but one that can only be done by people with full arm movement – The Pushup.

This technique has you either push up from your armrest or wheels to completely elevate your butt from the seat, and to hold the lift for either 30 seconds every 30 minutes or 15 seconds every 15 minutes; either works just fine.

And while doing this uber-strong lift, make sure to lock in your elbows so you don’t stress out your muscles. Watch the Pushup in action

No matter how hard it is or weird you look, always ALWAYS consider pressure relief your top priority. When your skin is healthy, everything else follows suit, and you will never have to think about how go keep your mind sane while on bed rest.

How do you prefer getting pressure relief?

Watch the videos!

- Quadriplegic showing how to use tilt for pressure relief

- How to do forward lean pressure relief in a powerchair

- The traditional method paras do pressure relief in a manual chair


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SCI Superstar: Travis Roy

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By: Tiffiny | April 15th, 2014 @ 7:18 pm | SCI Superstars |

New York Rangers v Boston Bruins

A product of the die-hard hockey world in the northeast U.S., Travis Roy grew up loving hockey, and after he became paralyzed while playing hockey for Boston University, he’s been committed to doing everything possible to not only improve his situation, but the situation of others like him.

He’s put on many hats to make his reality. Travis founded a nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure for spinal cord injury (as well as raise money to support people living with a spinal cord injury), he’s written a memoir, he’s become a mouth painter and he’s gone on to become a popular motivational speaker.

For a peek into the life of someone who inspires big time, read on for the impressive story of Travis Roy.

Why he’s fearless

Born in Yarmouth, Maine, Travis Roy was raised in an athletic family. By the time he was 20 months old, he was already on his first pair of skates, and he was displaying a natural talent for the sport as well. Travis loved everything about it, from the sound of the skates grinding into the ice to the camaraderie. It was no surprise he had his eyes set on becoming a college hockey player at Boston university.

Growing up in this part of the country, every boy who plays hockey dreams of playing for Boston University, so making the team with a big deal, but his first (and only) season for the team was in 1995; his freshman year. During his first game while trying to check a player, the player moved and Travis ended up hitting his head on the check boards, breaking his C4-5 vertebrae in the process.

He knew right away he was permanently paralyzed, and it was a huge blow for the team, his family and the greater Boston hockey community. Travis has been able to recover some movement over the years, such as the ability to move his right arm, but he is still quite dependent on others, and it was this that spurred him to found the Travis Roy Foundation in 1997.

To-date, the foundation has raised over $3.5 million. Half of the funds they receive go directly to spinal cord injury research projects, and the other half helps with the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries in the area, from buying them home lifts so they can live independently to buying rehab equipment for the new Project Walk facility in Boston.

After his injury, Travis also went back to college and in 1997 he wrote a book titled 11 Seconds That Changed My Life, where he discusses his injury and life after his injury. It definitely takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there in a book, and Travis Roy certainly has it.

What’s next?

In addition to running his foundation, the Travis is also an esteemed speaker, speaking on motivational issues at corporations, schools and conferences, helping to spread the message about perseverance and the importance of attitude. Check out his speaking website

The Travis Roy Foundation is going strong as well. Recently, they wrapped up their annual fundraiser Spring Fling, and they’re busy finalizing the touches on their fundraisers for the spring and summer as well. There’s just no stopping Travis, the his foundation, or the hockey community.

Who knows when the cure will arrive, but in the meantime, Travis has figured out how to strike a perfect balance – helping himself and others – and Boston thanks to him for it.

- Visit his site: Travis Roy Foundation

Have you heard Travis Roy speak?

Watch the videos

- The Travis Roy Story

- Travis Roy on Being Disabled

- Travis Roy Foundation: Overview

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