Recently I had a nice conversation with a colleague about Dynamic Seating. Joe McKnight is Director of Business Development in California, Nevada, and Arizona for Numotion, and he has been in the wheelchair seating and mobility field for a long time – probably longer than he would like to admit! Having that much experience provides a unique view. Joe states that “how we practiced 30 years ago and how we practice now should be different. We need to re-evaluate how we are doing things and how we need to change.”
Our last blog addressed dynamic seating used to provide posterior movement of the trunk. Anterior movement of the trunk can also be facilitated.
Our last blog discussed providing dynamic movement at the pelvis. If the pelvis moves posteriorly, the trunk will move posteriorly as well. So if posterior movement of the trunk is desired, dynamic seating components which allow posterior movement of the pelvis are provided, namely a dynamic back rest, which opens the seat to back angle in response to client movement and force.
Dynamic movement can be provided at various areas of the body where movement is possible from a seated posture. The
dynamic component allows movement beyond the usual seated posture, such as into increased trunk extension, and then assists with the client returning to upright. Ideally, the return to upright does not lead to a loss of position, such as a posterior pelvic tilt.
Dynamic seating provides movement within the seating system and/or mobility base. Dynamic seating systems are either integrated or modular.
Our last blog discussed how dynamic seating can provide vestibular input for clients. Vestibular input can, in turn, calm agitated clients and help sub-aroused clients be more alert. Movement can also increase comfort and general muscle activity.
Dynamic Seating moves in response to client forces. Many clients move, not due to increased extensor tone, but rather for the explicit purpose of moving. We all tend to seek out movement. We are wired to move and movement has so many benefits. Movement can calm, arouse, work muscles and provide comfort by varying our position. From a sensory standpoint, movement provides vestibular input.
As discussed in our last 2 blogs, dynamic seating is commonly used to prevent breakage of the wheelchair seating system and frame. Another common application of dynamic seating is to diffuse force and reduce overall extension.
Our last blog addressed using dynamic seating to prevent equipment breakage, particularly with clients who exhibit increased muscle tone. These clients often display strong extension, sometimes referred to as an “extensor thrust.” This intermittent and strong force can lead to breakage of the wheelchair seating system and frame.
Dynamic Seating is often used to prevent equipment breakage. Some clients who use wheelchair seating exhibit increased muscle tone. This is common in clients with diagnoses such as cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and Huntington’s disease. Increased muscle tone or spasticity is caused by an imbalance of signals from the central nervous system to the muscles. In addition to increased muscle tone, primitive reflexes and involuntary movements may also be present.