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Thread: Car transfers kill shoulders

  1. #1

    Car transfers kill shoulders

    Not sure this is the right subforum to put this in, but it's roughly equipment related, so here goes.

    I recently came to the conclusion that slinging a chair in and out of the car is what's making my shoulders so jacked up.

    I took a vacation and during that time I pushed myself really hard. On average over the five days I probably pushed 4-5 miles per day (where as in a usual day I might push 1 mile, 2 miles on a rough day), I transferred in and out of multiple vehicles (taxis, ubers), hopped a bunch of curbs and pushed up non-ADA approved ramps, hauled myself up curbs using signposts or whatever was available. Point being I was a whole lot more active than I have been for the past two years and my shoulders felt absolutely fine. I began to think that my shoulders must just be all healed up since I'm doing so great.

    Then I got back home. After traveling for 18 hours and resting for another 18, I ventured out of the house to go restock the fridge. By the time I transferred back into my car I could feel it in my shoulders... just two transfers. My chair isn't super heavy, but throwing it across my body every time is obviously (at least now) because of slinging the chair over myself... It was the only physical thing that I didn't do while on vacation, it was always the taxi or uber driver who loaded the chair, all of my other physical activity was ramped way up and I felt fine until I had to go back to throwing the chair over myself.

    I guess my next car will be a modified van, but I'll probably stick with the Accord for another four or five years until it wears out. I feel like I have a pretty good technique for chucking the chair into the car, but my left shoulder is still bothering me now, hours after my last transfer.

  2. #2
    Yep, after 40 years of doing this I too had to limit the amount of times I lift the chair in and out of the car. (I also now use a sliding board to transfer as it just takes too much toll on the shoulders).

  3. #3
    yup, i jacked my shoulders big time driving cars as a c6 quad for 28 years. went to a full size van and wish i had done that 10 yrs prior.
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  4. #4
    A lot of us have kicked and screamed at the suggestion of going to a van, and most wish they had done it sooner when that shoulders start demanding serious attention. I went to a van back in the early 1980s after we had experienced South Carolina's summer weather with 100+ temps. It was not fun pulling in that 55lb. Everest & Jennings wheel chair in an asphalt parking lot.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Oddity's Avatar
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    Yo, Dr. Mr. Funklab! You've got the credentials. Do the research! Prove we NEED the lightest chair possible to save the people buying our gear, and paying our medical bills, even more money down the road by including wheelchair weight as a medical necessity! Do it.
    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

    "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

    "Even what those with the greatest reputation for knowing it all claim to understand and defend are but opinions..." -Heraclitus, Fragments

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oddity View Post
    Yo, Dr. Mr. Funklab! You've got the credentials. Do the research! Prove we NEED the lightest chair possible to save the people buying our gear, and paying our medical bills, even more money down the road by including wheelchair weight as a medical necessity! Do it.
    That is a sensible idea.

    I have only been in a chair 11 years but about 6 weeks ago had a busy day which, ironically, started with a seating assessment. I tossed my chair in and out without regard to technique. Bam1! I had a shoulder injury. Since then I've gotten chiropractic adjustments for it which helped some. I've restricted activity. It quickly became evident that it is the loading/unloading that cause the stress. That said, using my hand brake is a constant source of stress. on the left arm. I am somewhat short and cannot psh the brake hard leaving my shoulder against the seat. I have to lean the left side forward. This is not only stressful but dangerous. i expect to return to the shop that installed the brake (3 years ago) next month to ask if they can reposition it a bit on the steering column. I anticipate push-back but they never bothered to look and see how I fit behind the wheel.

    I did find several small tweaks that reduce the stress to the shoulder. I'm still having difficulty with the right shoulder, which is NOT the one under the most stress but there was a contagion effect. I certainly understand the importance of using a van, but the idea of spending a great wad pf cash on a different vehicle is daunting. A "work in progress".
    Last edited by Tetracyclone; 06-23-2019 at 11:26 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Oddity's Avatar
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    Biggest hurdle is the damned "only for use in the home" stipulation Medicare has imposed on our DME. Utter BS, as if going to the grocery store to buy food wasn't an ADL.
    "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

    "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

    "Even what those with the greatest reputation for knowing it all claim to understand and defend are but opinions..." -Heraclitus, Fragments

  8. #8
    There's a trade off between overuse and "use it or lose it". Personally, I always had shoulder pain but they were functional when I was doing several transfers a day. Then I slowed down and sometimes didn't do any car transfers for several days. Went to do a long transfer and all at once I hurt my shoulder really badly.

    Problem is there is no way to know where that tradeoff lies other than in hindsight. If you are looking forward, the only sure way is the van.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Oddity View Post
    Yo, Dr. Mr. Funklab! You've got the credentials. Do the research! Prove we NEED the lightest chair possible to save the people buying our gear, and paying our medical bills, even more money down the road by including wheelchair weight as a medical necessity! Do it.
    Insurance companies are not impressed by "research", unless it improves their bottom line. TBH the way to go about it would be to prove to Medicare that it saved money, because Medicare is the only insurance company that has patients for the long term. BCBS or Aetna or Cigna or whomever knows they will only have you for a couple years, and then you will switch jobs or your company will switch policies, or maybe you'll be unable to work and end up on medicaid or medicare and off of their books, so why invest a couple thousand dollars now to save a few tens of thousands of dollars in the future that they might not even have to pay for.

    And with medicare's only in the home (and not even the bathroom) policy, I don't think you're going to be able to convince them either.

  10. #10

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