Posture and Backrests

While for many people, a basic canvas back or padded captain's seat is sufficient, if in need of postural support, it is vital to get the appropriate backrest. A backrest should balance positioning and comfort, while customisation to allow a precise fit is possible for those needing the highest level of support.

We supply a large range of backrests from a number of different manufacturers, including Sunrise Medical's JAY range, Invacare's Matrx and Vicair, and Pride Quantum's Synergy, to ensure we can always meet our customers' needs. We recommend JAY backrests for the variety of needs catered for within their range, their configurability, which allows them to be tailored to the wheelchair user's exact requirements, and for their durability. On this page, we profile the most popular backrests available from the JAY range.

JAY Shape

The Shape is a premium tension-adjustable backrest, providing an alternative to the solid backrests found in the rest of the range. It features highly adjustable straps with a soft and breathable padded upholstery covering. The wide straps can be easily shaped to offer the maximum surface contact, optimising pressure distribution and support for those with fixed postures. Right and left sided shaping can be done to accommodate asymmetries or trunk rotation.

Further adjustment can be made with spine align inserts that help allowing the JAY Shape to cater for those with more complex positioning needs. The thin soft foam overlay supports the shape, while highly breathable fabric increases air flow while venting heat and moisture to keep the skin cool and dry. Lateral supports can be fitted for advanced trunk positioning, and are highly adjustable to ensure precise positioning. A choice of two pad sizes is available depending on trunk size.

The JAY Shape is available in widths of 14 to 19 inches, and 16 to 20 inch heights, catering to the most common sizes. Cheaper than the J3, it offers better contouring to the spine, making it ideal for those with fixed or only semi-reducible spinal postures.

JAY Easy

The JAY Easy is a simplified version of the J3 backrest, without the same level of configurability. The emphasis is on being easy to prescribe and use, and it offers a cost saving over the J3 too.

Available in widths of 14, 16, 18 and 20 inches, the JAY Easy has two types of contours - either shallow or deep, depending on the level of trunk stability needed. Three different heights are available, allowing it to accommodate both lower-backed manual chairs and higher-backed powerchair users.

The mounting hardware fits to most common backrest tubes, allowing the JAY Easy to be fitted to non-Sunrise wheelchairs. Lumbar pads and spine align inserts allow the shape of the back to be adapted to the wheelchair user, while lateral supports, headrests and chest straps or harnesses can all be fitted. Thick, soft foam balances immersion and comfort, while the microclimatic cover vents heat and moisture, and is machine washable too for easy maintenance.

The JAY Easy caters to those with mild to moderate positioning needs, when accommodation and comfort are the priority over correction and more aggressive positioning. It doesn't have the precise fit of the J3, but for those who don't need that, offers a small saving.


The J3 is Sunrise Medical's flagship backrest, designed for those with moderate to high positioning needs. With the widest range of sizes, shapes and options, it offers you a precisely fitted and individually tailored backrest.

Widths of 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 inches are available, as well as five contour shapes to provide varying levels of trunk stability:

  • Shallow Contour - moderate lateral support

  • Mid Contour - medium lateral support

  • Deep Contour - upper thoracic lateral support

  • Mid Deep Contour - mid thoracic lateral support

  • Posterior Deep Contour - low thoracic lateral support

Three back support heights are available, to ensure the J3 perfectly fits the wheelchair user's back height. Additionally, the "Freestyle" version in either lightweight aluminium or carbon fibre is available for manual wheelchair users, ensuring your wheelchair remains as light as possible.

Even with the perfect width, height and contour, further customisation is often needed to accommodate or correct spinal assymmetries and promote good posture and function. This is done through the JAY Spine Align kit, which has a vast number of shaping components that can be combined to optimise stability, provide precise correction or accommodation of postural deformities, and maximise surface loading area to preserve skin integrity. These can be further adjusted throughout the lifespan of your wheelchair should your requirements change.

The JAY mount hardware allows easy attachment to your wheelchair of choice, with the 2-point attachment fitting around obstructions such as towel bars and armrest receivers, while the 4-point attachment provides extra stability for those with high tone or excessive movement. The hardware further allows the backrest angle to be adjusted by up to 22° seat depth. Separately, depth adjustability of up to 8.2cm is available independent of the angle adjustment.

Accessories including JAY headrests and lateral supports in a range of sizes, as well as chest straps and harnesses can be fitted. Third party adaptations can also be attached via the universal mounting bracket, as well as headrests from other manufacturers, such as the highly-configurable Whitmyer range.

The J3 is the choice for those who need a precisely fitted, individually tailored backrest. It offers much improved lateral support over the JAY Shape, and far more options than the JAY Easy, allowing for a better fit. It is also the backrest to go for should you need to correct postural deformities, rather than merely accommodating them.


The JAY Zip is a paediatric version of the J3, featuring many of the same options albeit in smaller sizes to accommodate younger users. Available in a range of widths and heights, it can be fitted with similar accessories, including Spine Align positioning components, lateral supports, headrests, and harnesses or straps. The adjustability allows it to be modified to accommodate a child's growth.

The correct wheelchair cushion is also vital to ensure the pelvis is stable, promoting good posture. We profile wheelchair cushions in more depth on this page. Additionally, powered positioning functions can provide further assistance with posture.

Most of these backrests are designed with adjustable mounting hardware, so they can be fitted to wheelchairs regardless of manufacturer. Our product specialist are able to carry out expert consultations to determine which backest is best suited to your needs. If required, an OT Assessment service is available, for those with the highest level of clinical needs. For further information, please contact us.