Prone to shoulder pain and injury

Shoulder pain affects 30 to 60% of the SCI population.  This may be largely due to overuse of the arms when propelling a wheelchair or performing transfers over time.

Common injuries and conditions include:  

  • rotator cuff tears
  • impingement (pinching of tendons)
  • arthritis
  • bursitis (inflammation of the bursa sac
  • muscle pain

Those with relatively new SCI, can take preventative measures including maintaining a healthy body weight and using good biomechanics.

If you already have symptoms, treatment options include therapeutic exercise, weight loss, heat or ice, medications, injections or even surgery. 

Rest is often the best thing, but this can be difficult if you rely on your arms to transfer, push a wheelchair, walk with crutches, etc.  If pain and injury are severe enough, you may need to switch to a power wheelchair, at least temporarily.

This article is exercepted from UW Medicine SCI update Vo. 21 Issue 2, 2012 by Deborah Crane, MD, MPH, Asst. Professor Rehabilitation Medicine.

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Karen Koehler, partner at the nationally recognized law firm of SKW, blogs about all things related to spinal cord injuries...More
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