Below are some ways to get pressure relief when using a manual wheelchair.

The Push-up

One simple pressure relief exercise that can relieve pressure in the butt and bony areas is to push up from your chair.

Begin by locking your wheels and unbuckle any belts or straps. Push up using the arm rests so that your butt is off the seat. You can press up from your wheels if you don’t have arm rests.

When fully up, extend your arms so that your elbows lock. Be sure your butt is fully off the seat and for every 15 minutes hold 15 seconds, for 30 minutes hold 30 seconds etc., unless told otherwise by your doctor. This is done so that the skin can recover from the pressure of long periods of sitting.
pressure relief in manual wheelchairs

Leaning Forward

This exercise helps to relieve pressure on your butt. As usual lock your wheelchair before beginning the exercise.

Lean forward until your hands can slide under your butt and for every 15 minutes hold 15 seconds, for 30 minutes hold 30 seconds etc. unless your physio mentioned otherwise.

You can lean forward so that your chest rest on your knees. You can also lean forward on a table or desk. The object of this exercise is to relieve pressure in your butt and boney areas.

Leaning from Side to Side

This exercise is great to relieve pressure in social settings where you might not be able to do a push up or a lean forward exercise.

Lean to one side to relieve pressure from the lifted side. For every 15 minutes hold 15 seconds, for 30 minutes hold 30 seconds etc. for each side unless your physio says otherwise.

Lean to one side until your butt and bony area are off the seat. You might have to use your arm rest or wheel and lock your elbow to get the correct position. Go back to your seating position and repeat the exercise on the next side.


The info provided here is for general purposes only; mostly for educational purposes and shouldn’t be used to treat any medical condition. It is not to replace professional medical advice as it pertains to your medical situation. 

Consult with your doctor or other qualified health care providers before doing any new treatment and ask them any relevant questions regarding your medical condition.


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