How To Make a Wheelchair More Comfortable (10 Tips for Wheelchair Comfort)

Like many wheelchair users, you may feel uncomfortable sitting in your chair all day. Fortunately, there are ways to improve the comfort level of any wheelchair.

Your wheelchair should provide support, mobility, and comfort. This one device is depended on to make your life easier in a variety of different ways. 

Understandably, wheelchairs aren’t one size fits all. This means you need to adjust and customize it to suit your needs and comfort level.

You can do plenty of things, such as invest in some of the suggestions listed above.

Here’s how to make a wheelchair more comfortable. So wave goodbye to discomfort, pain, and posture issues.

10 Tips for Wheelchair Comfort

1. ROHO Cushions

Wondering how to make a wheelchair more comfortable? If you’re limited to a wheelchair full-time due to physical impairment, investing in a nice wheelchair seat cushion is worthwhile.

ROHO MOSAIC Cushion, Heavy Duty, Inflatable Seat Cushion for Office Chair, Wheelchair, Cars, Home Living, & Back Pain Support, Adjustable Cushion with Stretchable Cover & Non-Skid Bottom, 18' x 16'

Finding a cushion specially designed to fit your wheelchair’s seat pad and back is essential to avoid straining your glutes and spine.

However, finding the best cushions for your wheelchair can be daunting, considering the several options in the market.

If you’re still puzzled about the right cushions for your wheelchair, consider getting ROHO cushions. 

These cushions are available in two models: high and low profiles. They’re made of multiple inflated nodules that offer a pillow-like sensation. Try both profile models to determine your best fit.

Roho Cushion
Light, easily portable wheelchair cushion.

2. Lumbar Support

Although often overlooked, lumbar support can make or break your experience in a wheelchair. The lumbar region is the small curved area of your lower back.

LOVEHOME Lumbar Support Pillow for Chair and Car, Back Support for Office Chair Memory Foam Cushion with Mesh Cover for Back Pain Relief - Black

Usually, most wheelchairs don’t feature effective, built-in lumbar support, so you will still have back issues regardless of how comfortable your wheelchair cushions are.

If you’re experiencing discomfort in the lumbar area, getting lumbar support can make a world of difference. You can opt for a rolled towel or buy a lumbar support attachment and see off back pain.

Lovehome Lumbar Support Pillow
Alleviates lower back pain and posture.

3. Buy Cushioned Arm Rests

Hard plastic armrests? No, thank you! Padding your armrest can significantly enhance your level of wheelchair comfort. 

Cushioning your armrest is essential for full-time wheelchair users as you will use them to readjust yourself throughout the day or transfer yourself onto accessible amenities.

Besides enhancing your comfort, cushioned armrests help prevent injury to your arms and elbows.

Vive Wheelchair Armrest Cover
Armrest pads to relieve pressure on your elbows and arms.

4. Lateral Side Supports

Lateral trunk supports are excellent wheelchair additions that help improve comfort, especially if you have balance problems from poor torso control.

They are padded attachments that mount on the wheelchair’s back posts and protrude from the sides of your backrests to enhance your stability and balance. 

This wheelchair accessory is vital when doing more demanding tasks, allowing you to retain your balance without struggle. 

Skil-Care 706055 Medical Lateral Support Cushion
Support to prevent lateral leaning in the wheel-chair.

5. Adjust the Footrest

Your wheelchair’s footrest position significantly affects your degree of comfort. The essential thing is to always keep your knees somewhat above your hips. 

Should they be too high, your bottom will be jammed into the rear corner of your chair, inflicting damage to your back.

Presumably, your footrests can be adjusted. If not, you can seek help at a wheelchair repair shop to adjust the footrest to your needs.

6. Recline the Backrest

Another simple way to improve the comfort of your wheelchair is reclining the backrest slightly. While it may seem a small adjustment, it goes a long way in providing tremendous comfort if you don’t overdo it. 

Unfortunately, most wheelchairs come with upright backrests, making it uncomfortable to maintain straight postures throughout the day.

Sitting up straight over an extended period causes you to lean forward. As a result, you will have to adjust your sitting position constantly throughout the day. A modest incline in your backrest may make a massive impact.

7. Cross Your Legs

Simple body movements can often make a big difference in your comfort in a wheelchair. Crossing your legs is among the most effective ways to ease back discomfort in wheelchairs.

It is important to note that crossing your legs aids in your body’s strain on your lower back.

Although this sitting position offers great comfort and relief, it can also result in pressure sores. To remedy this problem, remember to switch your legs every few hours.

8. Wear the Right Clothing

This advice may sound like a basic tip for anyone—get rid of those skinny pants and too-tight dresses—but when you are a full-time wheelchair user, the last thing you want is garments digging into your body.

Similarly, you don’t want overly baggy clothes on your wheels.

Also, avoid wearing bulky clothing, including:

  • Heavy woolen sweaters
  • Layered garments with hanging belts
  • Oversized shirts

Such clothing will impede your mobility and may put you off balance. If it is cold, layer up or find warm yet comfortable clothes made of thinner fabric.

So, ditch your craze of keeping up with the latest fashion trends and get fitting clothes to enhance your mobility experience.

9. Add Grips

Another essential adjustment to your wheelchair to improve comfort is adding grips to levers and handles.

The brake handles are an excellent area to add grips, especially for users with limited grip strength due to conditions such as arthritis.

Furthermore, grips can make push rims considerably more convenient if you propel your wheelchair. Some wheelchair users may opt for fingerless gloves to avoid blisters and the hassle of having to touch cold metal. 

However, if you don’t prefer wearing gloves, consider adding cushioning to the rim to improve comfort and grip.

Wheelchair Brakes Handle Cover
Wheelchair brakes handle cover provide the grip on the wheel lock mechanism.

10. Custom Seating

If you have tried all these insightful tips and nothing seems to work, custom seating could offer a well-fitting solution.

Although it may seem far-reaching, getting seating will help to maximize comfort, especially if you have complex postural needs. 

Custom seating allows for fine-tuned lateral and horizontal support, which provides adequate pressure distribution, optimizing functionality and comfort while minimizing injury and posture issues.

Final Thoughts

Your wheelchair should offer comfort, support, and mobility. So, just because you are a wheelchair user doesn’t mean you should part ways with comfort. 

While it may seem arduous, you will find the modification that gives you the best wheelchair comfort.

Try out our insightful tips on how to make a wheelchair more comfortable and find the adjustment that works for you.

A comfortable wheelchair experience enhances your daily life and prevents injury.

Are you worried about keeping warm in the winter when using a wheelchair? In that case, we have another whole article on the subject. To figure out how to stay warm in a wheelchair, you can read our tips by clicking here.

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