Pressure Mapping

In my March article, “Conditional Pause” (, I relate the tail of why my pressure mapping was delayed. Now that it has been done, I want to explain my experience so that you will know what to expect at your appointment.

Pressure mapping should be done in a SCI rehabilitation facility in the PT department. The room where I was evaluated looked much like a small warehouse with shelves stacked to the ceiling piled high with sample cushions, wheelchair backs, and whatever to insure the perfect product for each individual. I was met by an out-patient PT and my DME representative, a wheelchair pressure specialist.

While in my wheelchair, I sat on a thin rubber mat that they placed over my cushion. Sensors within the mat measured my bottom’s pressure points on the seating surface. These points, represented by a color continuum of sorts, were projected onto a computer screen. The diagnostician explained my readings, as seen on the screen.

She explained that my low profile ROHO was good for me, but my wheelchair back didn’t provide sufficient back support for my SCI.

As we discussed the pros and cons of several attachable back rests, I reminded them that I shower in my chair and asked if these back supports were waterproof. They weren’t. As well, it would require someone else’s assistance to attach and detach it with each shower. I was given a lumbar support, a small elongated pad, that I can slide behind my back for all-day support then, remove before my shower.

Whatever your problem, it is diagnosed and immediately rectified with the appropriate cushion, back support or new wheelchair while you’re there. A corrective prescription is written and ordered, and a report sent to your physician.

In my humble opinion, pressure mapping should be done every 5 to 10 years. Our bodies change, we gain, and we lose weight. If you haven’t been pressure mapped, request it.

I don’t believe my spinal misalignment is a result of not having been pressure mapped, but it assures there is no undue pressure on the ischium or tailbone. It is also for wheelchair evaluation to ensure optimal spinal alignment and posture. My fee was $98.

Here is a site, SCIRE (Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Evidence), which further explains pressure mapping and many other aspects of SCI:


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