Ischial Pressure Relief


Recently, I was reminded of the #1 Rule stressed in rehab: ischial pressure relief. After making a round-trip in someone else’s car to visit family, an hour away, my right ischium screamed for relief. (My car is fifteen years old, so we stick close to home.) Miraculously, this was the first breakdown in my thirty-six+ years of disability.

Lately, I’ve been experiencing nicks and scratches on my tail bone/coccyx when sitting wrong on the toilet seat, and bruising under an ishium while dragging my bony maroney on and off. This first week of 2013, I’ve been playing bed tag—2 hours in and 3 hours out—everyday, to ward off a decubitus ulcer from one of these bruises.

With this foremost on my mind, and weighing heavily on my buttocks, there are several techniques to relieve ischial pressure. Each is to be performed for 60 seconds, every 60 minutes. Here are three of them:

The first is the easiest and most independent. It can be done by a quadriplegic, because I did this one until three years ago, but all paraplegics use it: the push-up lift.

Using your hands to grip your tires or arm rests if you use them, lift your buttocks off your cushion. (For independence’s sake, I now brake my wheelchair parallel to my bed, place an overstuffed pillow on my bed, and lay over it.)

Both of the following require the assistance of an experienced second person.

For the second technique, bend forward into someone’s lap. They support you and slightly pull you toward them from under your armpits.

For the third, someone reclines your braked wheelchair backward into their lap.

Remember the acronym RIP (relieve iscial pressure)—every hour, for one minute.

Let ‘er RIP!


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