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Upper Body Problems

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  • Upper Body Problems

    Hello everyone,

    I think I might have a serious problem, but I am hoping it is fixable. After I transfer myself into my power chair and get situated, I always notice that more weight is on the right side of my body and my torso dips to the left a bit. Now after sitting this way for over 15 years the bursa in my left shoulder snaps and pops a lot. Sometimes the pain from it goes from the top of my left hand and shoots across my chest and down my left side.

    I just bought a lumbar support pad, which is helping and have been icing down the bursa area as well, but I cannot stop my torso from slightly dipping to the left. Any suggestions on fixing my overall problem will be greatly appreciated.
    It is better to do something than to do nothing while waiting to do everything.

  • #2
    You probably have a significant scoliosis. This can cause problems with balance, breathing, and increases the risks for ischial pressure ulcers on the side you sit on with more pressure.

    In addition, shoulder problems are common in those who have been injuried a long time, and who are using their shoulders for things they were never designed for (transfers, pushing a wheelchair, long sitting support, etc. etc.).

    For the first, I would recommend a seating evaluation to see if your scoliosis can be at least partially corrected with a custom back, and your wheelchair cushion may also need to be modified. These backs can also be formed to fit onto shower/commode chairs. You should also speak to your PCP about it and get some pulmonary function studies done. Some people end up with bracing or even surgery if the scoliosis continues to progress.

    A good evaluation of your shoulder by an orthopedist, or physiatrist is also indicated. You may have problems that require therapy or surgery. Here is a good resource on how to prevent and manage shoulder problems in those with SCI:

    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.