The Best Chairs for People with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
There’s a whole world of seating at our fingertips, especially with care chairs, riser recliners, and everything else in between. But when it comes to certain medical conditions, some seating features and qualities are more necessary than others. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that can affect the person’s entire nervous system. It shuts down the brain’s ability to send message to other part of the body, making daily life much more difficult than ever before. In more complex cases, MS causes muscles to stiffen and spasm unpredictably, so finding a suitable seat is imperative to keeping the person comfortable and supported over longer periods of sedentary time.
Whether it’s a care chair or a riser recliner, having lateral supports can make a huge difference when finding a seat for someone with MS. Individuals who live with MS may find that over time they develop weakness down one side of their body. They may also lose thorax strength because of their condition, so including lateral supports in a chair will really help them to maintain a healthier posture when seated.
If you’re wanting lateral supports as an option in your chair, then it is possible for us to make them removable as to suit your needs. Our seating assessors often find that the Legacy chair is a great option for those with MS as it can be made with varying levels of lateral support. What’s more, our made-to-measure seating service can ensure that anyone gets the perfect chair, completely customised to their needs.
Extra Backrest Angles & Tilt-in-Space
Adjustable positioning is also imperative to finding the right seat for someone with MS. The slightest discomfort can cause the individual a lot of pain, so investing in a chair that has the ability to reposition is key to keeping them as comfortable as possible.
Care chairs and riser recliners that are equipped with tilt-in-space can be particularly helpful for those with MS. Tilt-in-space allows muscle groups to relax, and it reduces any stress that may be put on the spine itself. By simply tilting the person backwards, the chair will spread any weight and pressure that usually sits on the sacrum and the spine, making it much more comfortable, and much less painful for the user.
Having an extra backrest angle can also help massively with this. It gives the individual another level of comfort, and allows them to still be able to sit upright to socialise. Again, the adjustable backrest will also take some of the strain of the person’s spine, and it will help with those people who have reduced trunk strength.
If the individual is still standing, and doesn’t struggle too much with mobility, then a rise and recline chair with tilt-in-space and an adjustable backrest will The Chatsworth is always a popular model for qualities like this, and we can have it made to measure to suit the user’s body shape and needs entirely.
The seat itself should also be taken into consideration when choosing a chair for an individual with MS. The seat acts as a base to the person’s posture and spinal positioning. If this is ignored, then the chair may cause more harm than good. Having adjustable seating is always advised, as this allows you to change the chair over time to keep up with the person’s varying needs. The Lento care chair is great for this, as it has adjustable seat width, height and depth.
Our seating assessors have found in the past that having a sculpted seat can really help individuals with MS to remain comfortable and positioned healthily. Because of the weakness and problems with balance that MS can sometimes cause, a slight saddle or pommel-shaped seat usually helps the person maintain a healthy pelvic positioning. This in turn acts as base for better spinal posture, and allows the leg muscles to relax a little more than a typical seat would.
Another thing to consider with your seat is pressure relief. The risk of pressure ulcers and injuries is much higher for people who spend a lot of time sat down, so finding a chair with built-in pressure relief is vital. At Yorkshire Care, we tend to put pressure relief active air cushions in the seats of our made to measure chairs. This helps to combat pressure build-ups, which slows down and prevents the onset of pressure injuries.
For individuals with more severe MS who sometimes suffer bouts of incontinence, we would suggest having some sort of waterproof cushion cover and materials on the chair.
These are just a few things to look for, but MS is such a vast and varying condition, we would highly recommend having a seating assessment done prior to making any purchases whatsoever. Not two people with MS will have the exact same body shape, ability level, and postural presentations, so seating should be specified on a case-by-case basis. Get in touch with us today to book your free no-obligation seating assessment. Or you can download this free seating assessments eBook that’s full of helpful hints and tips that will help with any seating assessments.