Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wheelchairs - History and the Necessity of Manual Wheelchairs

It is believed that the wheelchair is originated from England in 1670s. As its name, a wheelchair is a chair with wheels. It can be propelled either manually or using electrical power. Transporting people who have walking problems is the main function of the wheelchair.

A standard wheelchair has a seat, a back, two small front wheels, two large wheels, and a footrest. Along the years, wheelchairs were customized to meet the requirements of their users. Various accessories are also available to be added in a wheelchair, such as seat belt, adjustable back rest, pouch, and cup holder. The electric-powered wheelchair was invented during World War 2 and it has become very popular nowadays because it offers excellent freedom of movement to its users.

Another type of wheelchairs is a sport wheelchair, which has a streamlined design to provide agility and speed. Common wheelchair sports are basketball, rugby, tennis, and racing. A sport wheelchair is non-folding to maintain its strength, has a pronounced angle for the wheels to provide stability on turning, and lightweight. This wheelchair is not for daily use, although some people prefer to use it everyday.

The development of the wheelchair advances rapidly following the development in technology. Today, high-tech wheelchairs have been invented and perhaps the most famous one is iBot. This wheelchair has various capabilities, such as a self-balancing capability, running on two wheels, and climbing the stairs.

Nowadays public are more aware towards people who are confined in wheelchairs. Therefore, in order to increase their quality of life, ramps and elevators are provided in most public buildings as wheelchair accesses. Public transports also have provided wheelchair accesses and special spaces for wheelchairs to be secured.

Why I still see manual wheelchairs everywhere
Perhaps you are wondering about this because obviously you feel that electric-powered wheelchair is much more convenient for its user rather than the manual one. However, even in todays advanced world, manual wheelchair is still needed in certain situations. You might be surprise, but some people just do not like technology and prefer to use the old reliable manual wheelchair. They are happy with it and do not feel the needs to use electric-powered wheelchair.

Manual wheelchairs are also useful for people who need to use wheelchairs on a temporary basis. A condition like a sprained ankle or a broken leg will only confine a person in a wheelchair for a few weeks or months. Since it is only temporary, it is unnecessary for that person to buy an expensive electric-powered wheelchair. A manual wheelchair will work fine during their recovery period.

A manual wheelchair is also a good option in the case of emergency. Perhaps you have seen on TV repeatedly how a woman, who is going into labor, is placed in a wheelchair and brought into her room. As you can see, manual wheelchairs are perfect for emergency situations that happen only in a very short duration.

The last reason is cost. An electric-powered wheelchair can cost a considerable amount of money and not everyone can afford to buy it. For these people, manual wheelchairs are the best alternative for them. Although an electric-powered wheelchair is more affordable these days, especially due to financial supports by organizations like Medicare, a person who is in financial trouble will definitely choose the cheapest option and that is a manual wheelchair.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

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