Using a wheelchair takes much less energy than walking, but it does take energy. Take it slowly and get someone to push you. If you are quite severely ill, try it at home without moving around first. To minimize vibration, have large wheels with pneumatic tyres and stick to smooth surfaces. Wheelchairs are a form of transport, which can enable people with M.E. to go much further than they could walk. This needn’t stop you using your leg muscles if you can walk – think about a child’s use of a wheelchair. If you are embarrassed, go at first to a place where you are unlikely to see anyone you know. People who can’t sit up for long enough to use a standard chair may be able to use one that reclines fully or partially (fully reclining wheelchairs can be used lying down). Experiment with different cushions to try to minimize pain/ discomfort. A headrest which supports the sides of the head may be useful. It might be suitable to combine a short trip in an upright chair with time lying down in a car or on a portable sun bed. Some people are not well enough to use a wheelchair at all. A castor chair is a wheelchair for use indoors which requires no turning circle. Lightweight chairs are easier to lift in and out of a vehicle and to self-propel. Electric wheelchairs and scooters can increase independence for some people with M.E.

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A Rough Guide to Wheelchairs