Best Wheelchair for Scoliosis

In this article, we review the best wheelchairs for scoliosis. You can look at the quick snapshot below or scroll down for in depth reviews.

Karman Healthcare S-115...
Invacare Tracer SX5 Recliner...
Smart Electric Wheelchair with...
Forcemech Voyager R2- Ultra...
Drive Medical Viper Plus GT...
Karman 19.8 lbs Ergonomic...
Wheelchair
Karman Healthcare S-115...
Invacare Tracer SX5 Recliner...
Smart Electric Wheelchair with...
Forcemech Voyager R2- Ultra...
Drive Medical Viper Plus GT...
Karman 19.8 lbs Ergonomic...
Wheelchair Type
Manual
Manual
Electric
Electric
Manual
Manual
Prime
-
-
Price
$569.00
$525.00
$1,799.99
$2,198.00
$636.53
$652.99
Karman Healthcare S-115...
Wheelchair
Karman Healthcare S-115...
Wheelchair Type
Manual
Prime
Price
$569.00
Invacare Tracer SX5 Recliner...
Wheelchair
Invacare Tracer SX5 Recliner...
Wheelchair Type
Manual
Prime
Price
$525.00
Smart Electric Wheelchair with...
Wheelchair
Smart Electric Wheelchair with...
Wheelchair Type
Electric
Prime
-
Price
$1,799.99
Forcemech Voyager R2- Ultra...
Wheelchair
Forcemech Voyager R2- Ultra...
Wheelchair Type
Electric
Prime
Price
$2,198.00
Drive Medical Viper Plus GT...
Wheelchair
Drive Medical Viper Plus GT...
Wheelchair Type
Manual
Prime
-
Price
$636.53
Karman 19.8 lbs Ergonomic...
Wheelchair
Karman 19.8 lbs Ergonomic...
Wheelchair Type
Manual
Prime
Price
$652.99

Last update 2020-07-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Wheelchairs for Scoliosis

There are multiple conditions and diseases which may lead you to use a wheelchair – however, some of these conditions require a specialized wheelchair or at least some bit of improvisation on a standard wheelchair, for better comfort. Scoliosis is one such condition in which you will have to work towards a more comfortable life on your wheelchair.

What is Scoliosis?

Scoliosis is a condition in which the human backbone is curved sideways – usually in the shape of the letter ‘C’ or ‘S’. If the patient’s condition is stable, the curve will stay the same and she may not even be required to sit on a wheelchair; in case of deterioration in sclerosis, the degree of curve increases over time. Scoliosis can develop in children in their growth phase, while adults may suffer from the condition in their later life.

Scoliosis is often a secondary problem and a biproduct of a muscle or neurological disease. It can often be caused by muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, or severe brain injury. However, in a majority of the cases, the cause of scoliosis is unknown.

Symptoms of Scoliosis

Scoliosis can lead to visible deformities like uneven shoulders or uneven hips or a bump in the lower back, depending on the stage and severity of scoliosis. As the spine curves, it can brush against nearby nerves and cause pain or a numb feeling in the back or the legs. Feelings of tiredness, weakness, breathlessness and trouble in walking are also often reported as symptoms of scoliosis.

Exercise and stretching are very important in the treatment of scoliosis and so is maintaining the correct posture while sitting and standing. Surgery may be required in extreme cases of scoliosis.

Patients with scoliosis have to be wheelchair bound, only if the pain is too much to bear and maintaining a correct posture standing up is not possible. That being said, since scoliosis is often a secondary problem, depending on the severity and nature of your primary problem, you may need to use a wheelchair, even when you have mild scoliosis.

How to Maintain Good Posture if you have Scoliosis?

Maintaining the correct posture helps to prevent scoliosis from getting worse. Good posture includes the way you stand, walk, sit and sleep. While in this article, we are mainly going to discuss the best practices to be maintained while sitting on the wheelchair, you should take care to maintain good posture habits during the day and at night while sleeping. Unfortunately, if you are suffering from scoliosis, you will find it difficult to maintain a good posture for long, but you must take up the challenge.

If you are maintaining good posture while standing, you are basically spreading out your entire body weight evenly across all joints. This means that your hips and shoulders should be level, your neck straight and not tilting to one side and your knees locked and straight.

While sleeping, you must ensure that your bed is not too low and is at least a couple of feet from the ground. You should try and sleep on your side in a foetal position, with a pillow between your legs, and a rolled towel under your ribs, the thickness of which will depend on the curvature of your spine and the severity of scoliosis. Take a firm pillow which will not put stress on your shoulders.

How to Sit in a Wheelchair with Scoliosis?

Finally, since we assume that you will be spending the majority of your waking hours sitting, a good sitting posture consumes a lot less energy and helps you recuperate faster from normal wear and tear, during your sleep. This, in turn, prevents scoliosis from turning more severe. Again, the idea is to evenly spread body weight as much as possible and relieve the neck and back from carrying extra weight. Ensure that the seat is firm (you should not sink into your cushion), and the depth of the seat is enough to rest your buttocks and the entire thigh muscles. You should also see to it that you are not leaning forward while sitting. Try and bring your shoulders back and expand your chest muscles as far as comfortably possible, unless you are typing or holding and try and avoid a hunched-up posture. This will automatically reduce stress on the spine and with a good lumbar support your spine will get proper rest while sitting. You should also support your feet on the footrest (mandatory for a wheelchair) and place your arms on the armrests, which further helps to spread out the body weight across your limbs. Finally, you must always remember to have your neck straight and your head looking right in front. Prolonged tilting of neck or head leads to stressed out neck muscles.

What to Look for in a Wheelchair if you have Scoliosis?

If you or your loved one is suffering from scoliosis, your choice of a wheelchair should be driven by the ability of the user to maintain a good posture and being able to move around with minimal effort.

  • Seat and seat cushions: These are important consideration. You seat should be deep enough for your height, so that your entire body, from the buttocks to the knees, gets support from the seat. You must ensure that the cushions are firm, or else you will not be able to maintain the correct posture while sitting.
  • Design of backrest: Consider buying a wheelchair which has good back support, especially ones with ergonomic design, to align to the natural curve of the human spine.
  • Headrest: The presence of headrest enables you to rest your neck muscles from time to time.
  • Manual or electric: If your wheelchair is manual you are going to have to hire a care giver to move you around. It is not advisable to self-propel a wheelchair when you are suffering from scoliosis. Too much upper body workout may aggravate your situation. If you purchase a power wheelchair, you will be free to move around on your own
  • Weight of your wheelchair: Having said the above, there may be instances where you have no choice but to self-propel your chair. Which is why it is advisable to buy as lightweight a wheelchair as possible. It will make your care-giver’s life easier as well.
  • Laptop or book rest: Finally, if you are anticipating that you would have to work for long on your laptop while sitting in the wheelchair, you should consider getting a laptop tray affixed to your wheelchair, so that you do not end up keeping the device on your lap and being hunched up over it. Very few wheelchairs come with a pre-fit laptop or food tray and you may want to attach one separately to your wheelchair.

While we have reviewed some power and some self-propelled wheelchairs below, we recommend that you hire a care-giver to move your wheelchair. You may also want to consult your physician to understand the risks of self-propelling a manual wheelchair.

#1 Karman Healthcare S-115 Ergonomic Wheelchair

This is a self-propelled lightweight wheelchair, at just 25 lbs. The maximum weight carrying capacity of the chair is 250 lbs. The chair is designed ergonomically to align to natural body curves which results in better support and a comfortable ride.

PROS:

  • The model with seat width of 18 inches has seat depth of 17 inches, sufficient to support your entire lower body till knees
  • The seat and back rest upholstery are easy to remove and clean
  • Ergonomic design gives getter support to your back
  • Full length armrests are densely padded, helping you to distribute body weight on elbows
  • Available in three seat sizes of 16, 18 and 20 inches; overall width of wheelchair is narrow enough to pass through standard doorways

CONS:

  • No headrest; you may want to separately buy a headrest and attach it to the back handles
  • Smaller front tires; If you lean forward to adjust the footrests, the chair may tip over till it gets supported by the footrests; Install a seat belt for better safety
  • Not suitable for heavy users

Karman Healthcare S-115...
  • Optional quick release wheels pop off with push of button - Purchased separately
  • Anti-bacterial, removable/washable upholstery
  • Equipped with AEGIS anti bacteria technology with stain resistance material
  • Seat Width-16 inch., 18 inch., 20 inch. Seat Depth-17 inch. Seat Height-19 inch..Armrest Height-8 inch.. Back Height-17 inch. Overall Height-36 inch. Overall Open Width-23 inch., 25 inch., 27 inch.
  • Weight Capacity: 250 lbs. Breathable mesh seat and back sling

Last update 2020-07-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#2 Invacare Tracer SX5 Recliner Wheelchair

This is a self-propelled wheelchair with full back support and head rest for better comfort. The wheelchair back rest can be reclined fully across a range of 90 to 180 degrees. The chair weighs 70 lbs and the maximum weight that it can carry is 250 lbs.

PROS:

  • Full back reclining support and headrest provides better lumbar and neck muscle support
  • Anti-tipper wheels add to wheelchair safety features and prevent it from tipping backwards
  • Full length arm rests can be flipped back for easier access to wheelchair seat
  • Calf muscle paddings offer comfort during long rides
  • Hand brakes at the back of the headrest help the care giver to have more control over chair

CONS:

  • You may want to add a firm cushion to the wheelchair for better comfort; the wheelchair seat does not come with any cushioning
  • Not a lightweight chair, at 70 lbs
  • Not suitable for tall users, as seat depth is 16 inches

Invacare Tracer SX5 Recliner...
  • FEATURING: A carbon steel frame, a heavy-duty inner liner, and urethane rear tires mounted on "no flex" wheels, recline range of 90-180 degrees and includes rear anti tippers.
  • BUILT TO LAST: Built with 14-gauge cross braces for added durability and strength. Seats are made of comfortable. dual-embossed nylon with heavy-duty inner liners that keep the seat and back from stretching.
  • WEIGHT CAPACITY: 250 lbs.
  • DIMENSIONS: Dual axle allows seat to floor adjustment of 17.5" or 19.5", seat width 18", seat depth 16", seat back height 23"
  • ARMREST & LEGREST DETAILS: Flip back, desk-length arms for added comfort, and comes with T94HAP Hemi elevating legrests with aluminum footplates and padded calf pads.

Last update 2020-07-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#3 Smart Electric Wheelchair with Headrest by A&DW

This is a power wheelchair with full back support and removable headrest, full arm rests, adjustable foot supports and calf muscle padding. The product is powered by dual motor technology (2 x 250 W motors) and runs on 2 lithium ion batteries

PROS:

  • Full back support which can be fully reclined to 180 degrees for better flexibility and support for scoliosis patients
  • Removable headrest for relaxing your neck muscles
  • Anti-tipper wheels will prevent wheelchair from tipping over backwards
  • Hand brakes behind headrest lend better control to care giver
  • Full length arm rests that can be flipped back up to provide easy access to wheelchair seat
  • Large rear tires provide better support to wheelchair structure
  • Easy switching between manual and electronic modes
  • Good cushioning available on seat and back rest for better comfort
  • Suitable for heavy users with maximum weight carrying capacity at 330 lbs

CONS:

  • No laptop tray for working on wheelchair
  • Wheelchair is comparatively heavier at about 80 lbs with batteries

Smart Electric Wheelchair with...
  • [Humanized Design]:The angle of the electric wheel backrest and headrest can be adjusted 90°-180°; The armrest can be lifted up, which is convenient for users to get on and off, eat, go to bed, etc; Breathable cushion can be used in winter and summer,easy to clean; Tilt angle backrest and seat cushion design reduces back discomfort due to sedentary to hip; widening the non-slip pedal can be adjusted and disassembled; With Large storage bag
  • [Double Protection]:Electromagnetic brake system stops immediately after releasing the hand and does not slip,safe and reliable,easy to operate,lets you have one hand free for quick stopping; 360° joystick waterproof and anti-corrosion protection, anti-electromagnetic interference;With manual parking system,shock absorbers and anti-flip wheel keeps you safe,stable and comfortable; With reversing horn
  • [Durable and Stylish]:Rugged carbon steel frame, bearing weight 150kg,wear-resistant;Two 250-watt dual motor performance, smooth operation, low noise, fast heat dissipation;Long lasting battery life,24V*12Ah lithium battery,0 - 6km / h speed adjustment,slope performance about 30°
  • [Convenient]:Lightweight storage folding electric wheelchair,It is very compact to fit in most small trunks,extremely convenient to put in the truck or airplane for travel;Manual / Electric mode to switch at any time,electric wheelchairs can push forward when there is low battery
  • [After-sale Service]:Your satisfaction is our top priority and all of our products have our 120-day return policy whichfor your added peace of mind

Last update 2020-07-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#4 Forcemech Power Wheelchair (Model: Voyager R2)

The Forcemech Voyager R2 model is one of the most lightweight power wheelchairs available in the market. It weighs only 45 lbs including the batteries. The wheelchair is made to carry up to a maximum weight of 265 lbs. The joystick control may be a bit sensitive to begin with, but it can be adjusted from the panel. The device takes about 6 – 8 hours to fully charge its 2 rechargeable lithium ion batteries. The batteries do not run together, when one runs low, the wheelchair has the option to switch to the second battery.

PROS:

  • Long battery life of up to 16 miles on full charge, including both batteries, suitable for travelling long distances
  • Lightweight and easy to fold and travel with
  • Durable wheelchair offering good ride quality
  • Rear reflective lights for extra visibility during night-time
  • Solid wheels with metal alloy rim lends good support to the entire structure
  • Good 24×7 customer support

CONS:

  • Height of the wheelchair is comparably bit lower, and it may be inconvenient to get into the wheelchair for a scoliosis patient, depending upon the height of the user
  • Might be slow to start and pick up pace with heavier weights

Forcemech Voyager R2- Ultra...
  • Forcemech is a US Company that is committed to offer the best Mobility Products.
  • All Products Backed By Forcemech's Gold Standard 24x7 Customer Support!
  • R2 weights only 43lbs - Lightest in the Industry, Foldable in Seconds.
  • Fold-able in seconds - Airplane Travel Approved & Cruise Trip Ready!
  • Will give you back your mobility freedom guaranteed or your money back.

Last update 2020-07-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#5 Drive Medical Full Reclining Wheelchair (Model: Viper Plus GT)

The wheelchair weighs under 49 lbs and has seating capacity of 300 lbs. The product has hand brakes for attendants. This is a full reclining self propelled device which is at the higher end in terms of price. The seat depth can be adjusted up to 2 inches to make room for taller users. The back height is also adjustable from 17 inches to 19 inches at 1 inch interval.

PROS:

  • Taller users can extend the seat depth by 2 inches to get a better fit on the wheelchair. Alternatively, if you do not need extension you can still use the extra depth for some extra cushioning
  • The arm rests can be flipped back for easier access to the seat
  • Durable upholstery and wheelchair material
  • Hand brake gives greater control to care giver or attendant
  • Wheel locks are conveniently located, so that you may reach them easily from your seat
  • Height adjustable feature of back rest is beneficial if the wheelchair is being used by two people in the same household.

CONS:

  • Seat cushioning could have been thicker for greater comfort. You may want to add separate cushioning
  • Foot rests are not fully adjustable, may cause discomfort at some degrees of incline

Drive Medical Viper Plus GT...
  • All-Aluminum frame; Weighs under 32 lbs (Excluding front rigging) Durable and comfortable heavy gauge nylon upholstery with hook-and-loop fastener straps
  • Built-in seat rail extensions and extendable upholstery easily adjusts seat depth from 16" to 18"; Back angle adjusts from 5-degrees to 20-degrees; Back height adjusts from 17"-19" in 1" increments, adaptable for individual patient need
  • Dual Axle allows for multiple seat-to-floor height positions; Over-center cross brace eliminates need for seat guides; Works with seating and positioning accessories
  • Quick release, 24" composite Mag-style wheels; Precision sealed wheel bearings ensure long-lasting performance and reliability; Urethane rear tires and casters offer superior performance, smoother ride, and are lightweight
  • Adjustable angle caster forks have three height adjustments; Tool-free adjustable swing-away footrests feature easy-to-access release handles; Comes with adjustable flip-up anti-tipper and push-to-lock wheel locks

Last update 2020-07-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#6 Karman Ergonomic Ultra Lightweight Wheelchair

This self-propelled model of wheelchair is extremely light at slightly under 20 lbs and has a maximum weight carrying capacity of 220 lbs. The model comes with hand brakes for the companion and its ergonomic design is expected to reduce the chances of pressure sores from long use.

PROS:

  • Attendant brakes make it easier for care giver to stop the chair
  • Ergonomically designed seat and backrest to provide greater comfort to scoliosis patients
  • Easy to fold and carry around as also to store in the back of a car
  • Comes fully assembled and you just have to install the foot rests
  • Sufficient seat depth to support your entire lower body till the knees
  • Available in two seat sizes of 16 (D) x 17 (W) inches and 17 (D) x 18 (W) inches

CONS:

  • No model available for seat width of more than 18 inches. You may want to get in touch with customer care to find out whether they can get you a larger model
  • Not suitable for heavy users; weight capacity is up to 220 lbs

Karman 19.8 lbs Ergonomic...
  • Weighs only 19.8 lbs
  • 18"x17" Seat with AEGIS Upholstery
  • Removable Footrest with Heel Loops
  • 20" x 1 3/8" Solid Rear Wheels with Fixed Axles
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

Last update 2020-07-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

#7 Karman Healthcare VIP tilt recliner wheelchair

The tilt recliner manual wheelchair is very lightweight at just 38 lbs and is made of aircraft grade aluminum. It has full back support and a headrest. The chair can be tilted to 35 degree angle for weight redistribution to lower back to prevent pressure sores from developing during extended period of use. The maximum weight carrying capacity of the wheelchair is 250 lbs.

PROS:

  • The curve on the back rest and firm cushioning makes the wheelchair very comfortable for scoliosis patients
  • The headrest is removable for better flexibility
  • Anti-tipper anchors help support the weight of the wheelchair in the tilted position
  • Hand brakes present at the back of the headrest helps attendant to have better control
  • Full length arm rests allow distribution of weight across body
  • Arm rest can be flipped backwards to provide easy access to seat

CONS:

  • Wheelchair seat depth is 16 inches and is not suitable for taller users
  • Cost is on the higher side for a manual wheelchair
  • You may want to add to the seat cushioning; wheelchair comes with thin cushions

Karman Healthcare...
  • The seat height is 20 inches
  • Weight Capacity of 250 lbs.

Last update 2020-07-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Conclusion

A wheelchair is a great investment if you are suffering from scoliosis pain and are not able to walk or stand maintaining a good posture. It lets you conserve a lot of energy and allows you to go about your work. Once you have bought and gotten used to your wheelchair (may require a few improvised adjustments here and there), you are sure to find a new lease of life. Having said this, you must make sure to complete your physiotherapy sessions which are extremely important for you to be able to return to your normal life.

Prosenjit has extensive experience in clean energy financing, banking and data science. He is driven by making an impact on lives through data powered decision making. He is passionate about working at the cross section of healthcare and data science and has deployed machine learning models in hospitals as decision support systems, which have the capability of automatically identifying patients with COVID-19 from X-ray and CT-Scan images. He believes that machine learning can be utilized to significantly improve and automate senior care. By education, he has completed his MBA and B. Tech. in Computer Science and Engineering.

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