1) Try a ROHO Cushion
One of the first places to make your wheelchair comfortable is the cushion.
There are dozens of cushion options available, but one of the best is the ROHO cushion.
Made up of dozens of inflated nodules that create a pillowy effect under your bum, the ROHO cushion is one of the most popular wheelchair cushions because it feels amazing and works for most wheelchair-users.
They have their high and low profile series (the nodules are either higher or lower), and most insurance companies will cover it because it’s also really good at preventing skin breakdown.
Make sure you try both the high and low profiles before committing to one.
2) Lumbar Support
Your lumbar area can make or break your comfort level in your wheelchair, the little space in the lower part of your back where it curves inward.
If it doesn’t get proper support, your entire back will feel like giving out all day.
Depending on how much you want to spend, you can use a small rolled-up towel or an actual lumbar support seat attachment.
Just know that it can make a world of difference if you decide to try.
A friend of mine who’s had quadriplegia for five years recently put lumbar support in his wheelchair for the first time and was astounded how something so small could improve his comfort level so much.
3) Cushioned Arm Rests
Why have hard plastic armrests, silly goose, if you don’t need to?
If your wheelchair has armrests, it is easy to improve your wheelchair’s comfort level to ensure they’re cushioned.
That little extra cushion can feel amazing when you’re in a wheelchair all day, especially if you also use them to transfer or to re-position yourself during the day.
4) Adjust Your Footrest
The footrest on your chair can have a huge impact on your comfort level too.
The key is to make sure your knees are slightly higher than your hips.
If they’re too high, your poor booty gets crammed into the back corner of your seat, and believe me when I say it can wreak havoc on the back.
Hopefully, your footrests are adjustable.
If not, bring your chair into a wheelchair repair shop to force the adjustment. Nothing is impossible.
5) Cross Your Legs
Sometimes a simple body movement can make all the difference, and most wheelchair-users agree that crossing your legs is one of the most effective ways to relieve back pain when sitting.
It’s the redirection of the pressure of your body on your lower back that helps.
However, when crossing your legs, make sure to switch the legs every couple of hours so you don’t get any pressure sores.
6) Try a Jay Backrest
Trying a different backrest is a great way to get more comfortable in your chair, and one of the most popular backrests among wheelchair-users is Jay’s backrests.
Jay’s backrests curve to your back is made of a soft foam cushion.
The longer you sit against a Jay backrest, the more it feels like it was custom-made.
7) Lateral Side Supports
If you have bad torso control and have balance issues, lateral side supports are a great accessory to add to your wheelchair.
Think of these as tiny ping pong paddles that jut out on the sides of your backrest, helping support you if you lean too far to the right or left.
These supports can be indispensable when doing more arduous tasks, keeping your balance, so you don’t have to struggle.
8) Avoid Bulky Clothing
When sitting in a wheelchair all day, a big no-no is wearing big, bulky clothing.
Giant wool sweaters with belts that tie in the back, oversized hoods that hang too low, even extra-thick coats or shirts, having too much fabric on or behind you can really through off your balance and comfort when sitting in a wheelchair.
If you are generally cold, your best bet is to find warm clothing made of thin fabric.
9) Recline the Backrest a Few Degrees
Another thing you can do that lands in the “slight adjustment” category is to recline your backrest a few degrees to get more comfortable.
Sitting too straight in your wheelchair can make you lean too far forward and have to fight to keep your balance all day.
You will notice a huge difference by simply bringing back the backrest a few degrees.
10) Custom Seating
If all else fails and you still can’t get comfortable in your wheelchair, consider custom seating.
It may seem like a drastic step, but I’ve been using custom seating for nearly nine years and would never have in any other way.
The clinicians use pressure mapping to create your seat and backrest to make it perfect for your body, widdling the foam away until it’s just right. Most clinics and hospitals in major cities offer this.
Whatever you do, never think it’s a lost cause getting more comfortable in your wheelchair.
When you’re completely comfortable and pain-free in your wheelchair, anything is possible.
It may seem like a hassle, but if you’re able to find that one adjustment that can make all the difference, you’ll be thanking the lucky stars you gave getting comfortable a serious effort.