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Prevalence of shoulder pain in adult- versus childhood-onset wheelchair users: A pilot study

Authors: Bonita J. Sawatzky, Gerard P. Slobogean, Christopher W. Reilly, Christine T. Chambers, Adrienne T.

References: J Rehab Res & Dev. 42(3), May/June 2005 Suppl 1:1-8

Abstract
Shoulder pain is a common overuse problem in long-term adult wheelchair users. The current study examined whether the prevalence of shoulder pain in adult wheelchair users who began using their wheelchairs during childhood (childhood-onset [CH-O] group) is similar to those who began using their wheelchairs as adults (adult-onset [AD-O] group). We compared 31 CH-O and 22 AD-O wheelchair users using the Wheelchair User's Shoulder Pain Index (WUSPI), an overall pain score (Brief Pain Inventory), and a lifestyle questionnaire to determine frequency and duration of physical activity. Shoulder pain (WUSPI) was greater in the AD-O wheelchair users compared with the CH-O group (p < 0.008), even though their general lifestyles were not different. The immature skeleton can possibly respond to the repetitive forces of wheeling better than that of those who begin using a wheelchair once their skeletal structure is completely developed.

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