A consequence of MS, not a symptom!

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) symptoms are many and varied; I read somewhere that there are more than 50. In Ireland it is estimated that about 9,000 people live with MS and each one experiences MS in a different way either with different combination of symptoms or a different degree of severity. Occasionally new symptoms appear or existing ones increase in severity but a very important point to remember is that not all problems we experience are caused by MS.

My ability to walk was affected very early on in my MS life and it has continued to deteriorate over the 30 years I have lived wit MS so much so that I progressed from the occasional use of a cane to the occasional use of a wheelchair and then more use of the wheelchair to the stage where I now need support from a walker to get around when not in the chair. These were not easy changes to make and I grudgingly allowed these assistive technologies into my life. Truth be told my acceptance of assistive technology helped me maintain my independence albeit at a reduced rate.

Everybody knows that the knee and hip joints are the joints that suffer the most wear and tear throughout our lives and are prone to malfunction and in some cases need to be replaced.

Recently I began to experience discomfort, dare I say pain, in my left upper arm and to a much lesser degree in my right. The pain/discomfort was not ever-present. It was transient and not related to physical exercise; it depended on what position my arm was in. A twist could be sore or not, reaching for something could be sore or not; I learned not to twist or stretch in a way that could be sore but I really wanted to find out what was causing it.

My shoulders had become my weight bearing limbs, replacing my legs. When it was explained to me it made perfect sense; the pain wasn’t caused by MS but it was a consequence of MS. When I use my manual wheelchair the power in my arms comes from my shoulders as it does when using other walking aids. I must now take better care of my shoulders; make them stronger and hopefully eliminate the pain but definitely reduce it.

This article relates to Spinal Cord Injury and protecting the shoulders and I found it helpful. Protect your shoulders

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