Tips on How to Adapt a Recliner for Right Arm Surgery

If you’re preparing to undergo right arm surgery, there are a few things you need to take note of and plan for. The first being how you will be recovering from the surgery, your home or elsewhere. You also need to think about what furniture will be easiest for you to use once you’re back in your home. 

Recliners make great chairs because they can easily lean back and lift up again without needing much effort. Because of this, it is an excellent place to start when adapting your home for post-surgery recovery. This is also the reason why people with back pain prefer recliners.

However, recliners require more space than a chair would. They have levers on either side that allow the chair to recline and raise up again with ease, along with levers on the left side that control the left arm rest — that’s why it is called a “right arm recliner.” Manual recliners can become a nuisance after a right arm surgery because of their power reclining mechanism.

Given this information, here are some tips on how you can adapt your recliner so that it is easier to recover from a right arm surgery:

If you want to read up on the best recliner for after shoulder surgery make sure you click on the link.

Decide Where You Will Be Recovering

Before your surgery, you’ll have to think about where you’ll stay during your recovery period. Will you be staying at home? Will you be in a hospital? Will you be traveling? All of these things affect how you will recover. 

If you’re staying at home, consider the space you have in the place you plan to recover. Where will you be able to place the recliner if you’re buying a new one (if you already have one, an uncomfortable recliner that makes a lot of noise will be annoying)? Where will you place other items such as a food tray? If you’re getting a new recliner, make sure you get an electric one. It will save you from the hassle of installing PVC pipes etc. A click of a button and you’ll be sleeping in your recliner comfortably.

It’s important to ask these questions if you still haven’t decided where you’ll stay. If you already have a recliner and are planning to stay at home, we advise you to consult your doctor and make sure a loved one has everything in place for you. Once again, I stress that you consult your doctor before you pick a place to stay. Surgeries should be taken very seriously.

Create a Safe Environment for Recovery

While it may seem obvious, make sure that you create a safe environment for recovery. This includes a comfortable temperature, low lighting, and minimal noise. 

If you’re recovering at home, it is a good idea to have someone stay with you so that they can check in on you and make sure that you are comfortable and nothing is out of place. 

If you’re recovering at a hospital, they will have a nurse check in on you and make sure that everything is safe and comfortable. 

If you’re traveling, you will have to rely on yourself. This means ensuring your room is completely safe and comfy.

Install a PVC Pipe (For a Manual Recliner)

PVC pipes can help you recline your recliner because they are attached to the lever. This is specifically true for manual recliners as they require more work.

Here’s how you can use the help of a PVC pipe to recliner your chair after a right arm surgery:

  • Make sure the PVC pipe is of proper length.
  • Make sure the pipe fits the lever.
  • You can use duct tape to attach the PVC pipe to the lever or you can just make sure the PVC pipe is of a size that fits the lever perfectly.
  • If you think the pipe makes your recliner look ugly, you can use some kind of a cloth to cover it up.

Add a Slip-Resistant Mat

If you’re recovering at home, you will likely want to put a mat directly in front of where your recliner is. This way, you won’t have to worry about slipping and falling while you are recovering. 

Because you already have a recovering right arm, I want to make sure that nothing bothers you. That’s why I am stressing out on comfort and precautions that will help you throughout your recovery phase.

Use an Assistive Device

It will be a good idea to have some sort of assistive device by your side. This can be a call button, a flashlight, a water bottle, etc. You will want to make sure that the device is within reach so that you don’t have to stretch and strain while you are recovering. 

Have a food tray in place so your loved one or hired help can serve food and drinks right at your recliner. 

Add more cushion to the right arm rest

Before your surgery, have someone check your right arm rest. It should have enough cushioning to make it comfortable. It’s better if you overfill the right armrest. I am saying it because you might have a plaster which will make your arm heavier.

It’s also important to note that an arm rest will interfere with blood flow to your right arm. So always try to sit inside your recliner before tampering with it. Only you can tell how comfortable your reclining chair is for you.

Add Furniture That Supports Your Limbs

If you’re recovering from right arm surgery, it is a good idea to add furniture that is easy to use and supports your limbs. You can do this by adding a few more items to your “recovering from right arm surgery” checklist: 

  • A food tray that is low to the ground and easy to reach
  • A pillow to support your arm while you’re sleeping/eating.
  • Another pillow to support your leg while you’re sleeping/eating.
  • Last but not the least, a blanket to keep you warm and comfy. I prefer a comforter, but it’s totally up to you.


Recliners make excellent chairs for recovering from right arm surgery because they have the ability to lean back and lift up again without needing much effort. 

However, they require more space than a chair would. If you’re recovering from right arm surgery, it is a good idea to make sure that the recliner is in a safe location and has enough room around it. 

You can also adapt your house so that it is easier to recover from right arm surgery by creating a safe environment through adding a slip-resistant mat, installing an assistive device, adding furniture that supports your limbs, and modifying the lever using PVC pipes (if you have a manual recliner).

If you’re looking for more How Tos Related to Recliners then click on the link please.

I am attaching a really good video I saw on YouTube related to adapting a recliner for right arm surgery.

If you want to know how to sit in a recliner with sciatica, then click on the link.

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