Living with Chronic Pain
Deciding to Use a Mobility Device
Various chronic pain conditions can limit mobility, which can affect quality of life. Oftentimes, individuals with mobility issues are hesitant to use mobility devices, especially if they were previously mobile.
Restricted mobility can be challenging; therefore, it is imperative to consult a health care professional if mobility is an issue. Secondary problems, such as broken bones, fractures, hospital stays, and increased dependency, can occur without proper medical care and equipment.
Types of mobility devices
Assistive devices help those with limited mobility accomplish daily tasks, improve physical functioning, and provide a sense of independence. Mobility aids include, but are not limited to, braces, crutches, canes, rollators, walkers, scooters, and wheelchairs (manual and electric).
Who should use a mobility device
Individuals needing to compensate for decline in balance, coordination, sensation, strength, and those with an increased risk for falls should consider using a mobility device. They can be used temporarily or long-term.
A physical therapist and health care professional can help determine who would benefit from a mobility device and the type of device needed. Mobility aids are dependent on individual needs. Those who may benefit include individuals with certain conditions, which include, but are not limit to, the following:
- Back injuries or conditions
- Cerebral palsy
- Chronic pain issues
- Developmental disabilities
- Diabetic wounds or ulcers
- Balance difficulties
- Broken bones, fracture, gout, strains, sprains, or injury in the lower limbs
- Heart or lung problems
- Amputations, especially of lower extremities
- Spina bifida
- Walking difficulty
- Visual impairment
Deciding to use a mobility device
The decision to use a mobility aid may be frustrating and difficult; however, maintaining mobility and remaining active is often a priority. Mobility includes walking, getting in and out of bed, bathing, climbing stairs, dressing, participating in activities, etc. If difficulty completing these activities occurs or pain symptoms progress, it may be time to consider a mobility device. Most insurance plans cover mobility devices when recommended and prescribed by a physician.
Deciding on a mobility device takes time and research. Certain devices may need to be fitted to the individual. Mobility devices provide extra support and movement, diminish strain on muscles and joints, and reduce the risk of further injury from falls. When making a decision to use a mobility device, the risk should be weighed against the reward.