Addressing Shoulder Pain (part II)

Dec 12, 2016
Tagged with: Addressing Shoulder Pain (part II)

We discussed the causes of shoulder pain, now let’s look at how to make some changes to prevent it or improve it. When you use your arms to move yourself, resting the area, while ideal, is rarely possible. But here are some suggestions to modify your daily activities in order to decrease the stress you put on the shoulder joint.


* Try transferring to surfaces that are level with your wheelchair

* Consider using a slideboard

* Alternate the direction of transfers if possible, so that you are not always using the same forces to push


Wheelchair propulsion

* Make your chair as light as possible. No, don’t try to get a new wheelchair, but assess if you are carrying anything on the wheelchair that is adding weight (i.e. a backpack with multiple water bottles) or are there any components that you could take off without compromising your safety. The solid backrests help increase efficiency of pushing, but add weight. The various models have different hardware that you can check out.

* Make sure your wheelchair is maintained. The casters get build-up of hair and crude, decreasing the fluid rolling. Keep the spokes trued.

* Make sure your tires are fully inflated. These will roll smoother with an easier push, as well as be at a lower risk for flats.

* Consider moving your axle forward. This makes the wheelchair less stable, so be careful. But it will make wheelies easier, and will increase the efficiency of your push. Do this incrementally with small changes. And, again, be cautious of the increased tippiness.

* Try changing the way you load your wheelchair into the car. This is actually one of the greatest stressors on your shoulders.

* Maintain your ideal weight. Even if your wheelchair is as light as it can be, you still have to push your body weight, and the changes you can make there are more significant than the changes you can make to your wheelchair.

A Check of Posture

The way you sit can also contribute to this muscular imbalance. It’s difficult to sit straight upright when your trunk is weak and you need to balance. If you use a power wheelchair, this can also contribute to the shoulder pain even though you’re not pushing a wheelchair.

When sitting with a slouched posture, the shoulder joint space is compressed and all those structures get further compressed whenever you reach your arm. Consider getting a seating evaluation with a physical therapist to configure your wheelchair for better posture.




Author: Kristin Mcnealus

  • bobl07

    Many times parents purchase a wheelchair for their child that is either too heavy or not concise to body which makes it difficult for child and parent to benefit from the chair. The additional weight gives additional shoulder stress to youth who has trouble lifting the wheelchair thus hindering independence.