What is an alternating pressure cushion ?

What is an alternating pressure cushion ?

Everybody sits and data shows that we’re sitting longer. According to a recent study published in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, adults in the U.S. now sit for an average of 6.5 hrs. per day.

Every surface we sit on, from recliners to wheelchair seat pans, is static, motionless. When a person sits for long periods of time without moving, pressure builds up over the bones closest to the skin surface. This leads to pain and discomfort which cannot be relieved until the person changes positions.

The solution seems simple, right? All a person needs to do is get up.

The truth is, there are certain circumstances that will prevent a person from moving. Whether it's a medical condition that limits mobility, or a work task that demands extensive sitting, it’s not always feasible to get up.

This is where alternating pressure cushions are useful.

How it works?

The system consists of a cushion base with air bladders and a firmware-driven pump. The software communicates with the hardware, causing the bladders to alternate by inflating and deflating air. This process automatically redistributes pressure, creating a comfortable seat surface.

Is it right for me?

Alternating pressure cushions are available in multiple sizes, configurations, and power sources. High-profile, contoured cushions with selectable parameters provide superior skin protection for complex medical conditions. The thinnest profile seat is approximate ½” tall, making it the perfect solution for cars and office seats. In summary, if you are experiencing pain and discomfort while sitting, an alternating pressure cushion could be the perfect solution!

Jim Baxter, MS, OTR/L

Interested in learning about how improper seating may lead to pressure sores? Read the blog post: Pressure Injuries and the Need for Movement 

Yang L, Cao C, Kantor ED, et al. Trends in Sedentary Behavior Among the US Population, 2001-2016. JAMA. 2019;321(16):1587–1597. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.3636

Reading next

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Understanding the Difference Between Alternating Pressure Cushions and Massage Seats

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