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Thread: Arthritic Shoulders. What can I do/take?

  1. #1
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    Arthritic Shoulders. What can I do/take?

    30 years post injury, C6/7. Active life until this past year when my shoulders seem to be extracting payment for those 30 years of use and abuse.

    Any suggestions as to any thing that might help would be deeply appreciated.

    thanks,
    mark

  2. #2
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    I assume you are immobile, but you do not say so. This is the route I chose to follow.

    Request your GP practicioner refer you to a orthopedic doctor or shoulder doctor, to get a MRI of them. I assume you are in a chair, if it is a manual chair, it may exacerbate your shoulder issues. I have severe shoulder injuries, and have had for many years, and reverse shoulder replacement was suggested. You should make your self aware that the surgery and repair is not worse than your current problem. my prognosis was, a recovery that would have consisted of 3+ months per shoulder in an extended care facility, plus very likely loss of my transfer ability. I chose a different path and refused the shoulder repair but found the my cervical spine was the cause of much of my discomfort. And I use a self provided power wheelchair for my mobility.

  3. #3
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    I do push a manual lightweight chair, and transfer in/out of the driver's seat in my van. I absolutely do not want surgery, as the recovery time would be unbearable, and leave me unable to work. I was hoping for suggestions along the lines of OTC meds, therapy, etc.

  4. #4
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    My son is a c6/7, 11 years post, started having shoulder pain in both shoulders. He recently received a Smart Drive attachment for his chair and it has made quite a difference. We went through insurance and they did cover a good portion of the cost. Hope this helps!

  5. #5
    Best managed by prevention unfortunately. Many of the things we used to teach in rehab we know now were just outright wrong for joint preservation. The emphasis now days is on "preserving for the future" vs. the old model of "push to the limits".

    You may want to get an evaluation by an orthopedist who specializes in shoulder problems and determine if your problems are "just" wear-and-tear arthritis, or if you actually have shoulder problems such as rotator cuff damage or impingement issues. Therapy and specialized exercises may help, as well as an evaluation of any poor body mechanics you are using for functional activities that may be making the situation worse.

    I would also recommend that you download and read this document:
    Preservation of Upper Limb Function Following Spinal Cord Injury: What You Should Know
    http://www.pva.org/site/apps/ka/ec/p...oductID=883954

    and that you consider the use of assistive devices to take the load off your shoulders. This can include power assist devices or power chairs, mechanical lifts, driving a van instead of transferring to a car (and maybe even driving from your chair to avoid having to do transfers), minimizing the number of transfers you have to do daily, and even which sports and exercise activities you engage in on a regular basis.

    (KLD)

  6. #6
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    Thank you all for the suggestions. It will be extremely difficult for me to give up my manual chair (pride, vanity, whatever) but someday that may just have to happen. Up until last year I was able to independently transfer in and out of my little Miata, but no longer. Now my only transportation is my GMC Safari with lift and 6 way power seat base.

    KLD - I downloaded that pdf and will read it through. Thank you.

    mark

  7. #7
    Mark electric wheelchairs are replaceable.....your shoulders are not. We have been threw this on this site many times in the past. I can do more things with my electric chair then I could ever do with my manual.
    Art

  8. #8
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    I know, but I love the portability and maneuverability of my Crossfire. It gets close enough to my bed and van seat for independent transfers still.

  9. #9
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    Liquid form is best for our slow motility guts:

    http://www.webmd.com/arthritis/osteo...is-supplements

    Therabands REALLY helped me. Keep one at work - one at home when you're watching tv or on your computer and work, stretch with it. Can't stress how much that helped.

    Also, I've heard that ibuprofen and acetaminophen work well together for OTC products and pain relief ... there are some things to read about taking both though:

    http://www.arthritis.org/living-with...de-effects.php

    I went and had an ultrasound when I was having trouble and found that my tendons were 'extra thick' and there were no tears. Have your doctor gets those scans done etc and monitor for changes.

    Finally, I'm using a power chair part-time as of two years ago. I use the manual at home ... and if I go out in my car (which isn't often anymore). Funny thing? No more shoulder pain AT ALL. The downside is that you lose muscle and stamina real quick so trying to figure out that balance is key.

    Go back to a transfer board ... I did this at 25yrs, saves the risk of a fall and saves your shoulders. I also bought a bath lift that enables me to get under hot soapy water and soak - best thing ever.
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  10. #10
    I have been through the cycle. I am using a fully powered wc these days after more than 50 years of manual wheeling. For the last 10 of those I had a power assist. If I had started using power assist10 years or so earlier my shoulders would be in much better shape. However power assists had not been developed at that time. When you are forced to change because of shoulder pain it is too late. I drove a vehicle like you are doing now. I had to quit because the pain became excruciating when I had to do a sharp turn. I realized I was no longer a safe driver. Now is the time for you to act. Below is a link to the power assist I used. This is the second generation,. It is integrated into a custom chair similar to today's manual chairs. IMO it is the best technology out there.

    http://www.clintonrivermedical.com/
    You will find a guide to preserving shoulder function @
    http://www.rstce.pitt.edu/RSTCE_Reso...imb_Injury.pdf

    See my personal webpage @
    http://cccforum55.freehostia.com/

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