Hello, my name is Emma Purcell, I?m 26 years old and live in Alton, Hampshire. I have quadriplegic cerebral palsy and registered blind. I?m a freelance journalist and the blogger of Rock For Disability. I?m also a writer at online magazine Disability Horizons. Plus, I?m the Hampshire Champion for disability organisation AccessAble.
Due to my physical disability, I use a powered wheelchair full-time and require mobility aids to carry out personal care. Plus, I have weekly physiotherapy to maintain my muscles and posture.
I attend sessions at my former college, Treloar?s, where they have a dedicated physio department with specially trained therapists and high-quality equipment.
Unfortunately, due to the recent lockdown measures, my sessions have been suspended until further notice. However, I do continue some basic exercises from my bed at home.
In this guest blog post, I would like to share six mobility aids I use when having physiotherapy:
- Hand splin
Because of my cerebral palsy, I have no use of my right arm. Since I was a child, I?ve had numerous botox injections in the arm to loosen the muscles and have worn a variety of hand splints to maintain the positioning of my wrist and fingers.
My recent hand splint has a folding sleeve that goes around my wrist then an extra vecro strap that goes over the top to secure my wrist in a straight position. My fingers are then slotted into the section at the front to help them straighten out as usually my hand clenches into a fist.
The hand splint isn?t a very comfortable aid, so I usually only wear it a few hours a day.
- T-roll cushion
When I?m lying down doing leg stretches, either at my physio sessions or at home, I use a T-roll cushion to elevate my legs. It is basically a large foamy cushion in the shape of the letter T.
When I use it, the T shape is actually upside down so my legs rest on the either side of the top line and the middle line sits in-between my legs.
- Platform trainers
?My left leg is in fact shorter than my right leg. Therefore when I?m doing standing, sitting or pedalling exercises (see below), I require specialist trainers.
These trainers are essentially a standard pair of trainers but with the exception my left shoes has a 2 inch platform that allows my left leg to reach the floor, stools, footplates, pedals etc. I only wear these trainers during physio sessions because my wheelchair footplate is high enough for me to wear normal shoes.
- Physio bench
?When I?m at my physio sessions, I do some of my stretches on a physio bench, or also known as a physio table or plinth. It is basically a large bed, which I lie on to do leg and arm stretches.
In addition, I do some sitting exercises where I sit on the edge of the bench, with the therapist behind me and my PA in front of me, and I work on my balance and posture. I have a slight curved spine and I naturally fall to the right. So, the aim of these exercises are to hold my spine in the middle, sit up straight and keep my head up, all unaided.
I find these exercises the hardest and most demanding, but it definitely benefits my posture a lot.
- EasyStands?? stander
?I am unable to stand or weight bare at all. Luckily, with the EasyStands?? stander, I can experience the joy of standing and get a much-needed stretch in my legs, hips and spine.
The EasyStands?? stander is a specialist standing frame whereby I get hoisted into a seat, get strapped in with a safety belt, foot straps and knee pads, then the seat is pumped up into a standing position.
I can usually stand for about 20 to 30 minutes. I could stand longer but my physio sessions are only 45 minutes long.
? ? ? 6. Motomed
?A motomed is a great device for disabled people who cannot access regular gym equipment such as a treadmill, rowing machine or electric bike
A motomed is a pedal machine that you can use from your wheelchair and it simply helps you pedal your arms or legs.
I usually use it for my legs because my right hand cannot hold the bar at all and my left arm can move without any assistance. Plus, my legs require more movement because I never walk.
I don?t to get use the motomed as often as I like, or as much as I did in my school days, but when I do, I can happily spend between 30 to 60 minutes pedalling away.
I hope this has given you a brief insight into my world of physiotherapy and inspired you to maybe find accessible ways to maintain your body?s fitness and posture.
Thank you John for inviting me to be a guest blogger.