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Tight shoulders and neck from crutches

Discussion in 'Hip Replacement Recovery Area' started by sweetcaroline, Apr 29, 2009.

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  1. sweetcaroline

    sweetcaroline Member

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    What a great website! I really feel a connection to everyone posting!
    I had a RTHP three weeks ago. I can put full weight on it already which is great considering I was in a wheelchair before the surgery. Has anyone experienced shoulder and neck pain from using crutches? I need them to navigate the stairs in my house and even though I try not to put too much pressure on my upper body, my neck and upper shoulders remain stiff and painful. My sleeping position is not ideal either. I can only lie on my back or left side with a foam wedge between my legs. My wrists are sore too.
    Any ideas from anyone?
  2. Jamie

    Jamie Administrator

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    Welcome to the forum, Sweetcaroline! So glad you decided to join us.

    I think you CAN cause shoulder and neck pain if you are using your crutches incorrectly. It is possible they are not adjusted to the right height. The tops should just barely brush your armpits. And the hand grip should be at a comfortable position so that your arm is slightly bent when grasping it. When you use the crutches, your armpits should not bear your weight for any length of time. To do so would probably cause the pain you describe. You are supposed to use your hands and arms to support yourself with the crutches. It is hard work to use crutches for any length of time in my opinion. How about using a walker for all those times that you don't have to do stairs? That would be a lot easier on your neck and shoulders.
  3. YoungM

    YoungM Graduate

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    Hi Sweetcaroline! Welcome! I didn't use crutches so I can't comment on this. However, I can say that I HATED the sleeping position too. Most of us used the abductor pillow wedge and had to sleep on our backs too. I'm now at 6 weeks and can sleep on my side. Just think, you have something to look forward to :) It will get better!
  4. Judles

    Judles Alpha

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    Hi SweetCaroline!!!! Why don't you ask your PT if you're ready for a cane! I never used crutches but I'm sure the last thing is pain in other places! Everything really DOES get better.....it just requires more time and patience! Good luck! :)
  5. metalnikki

    metalnikki Junior Member

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    Hi Sweetcaroline
    I am using elbow crutches mainly when outdoor and yes I have got sore neck, elbow and wrists. I do have neck problems anyway but feel that the crutches are not helping!! My crutches were measured for me by my physio, and I have been told by my surgeon to continue using them for another 3 weeks. I do have a cane and am due to see physio soon and will ask them what they advise.
  6. Josephine

    Josephine Forum Admin and Mother Hen Administrator

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    This is a very, very common ailment and is called "crutch neuralgia". It can start in the wrist just at the bottom of the palm where it takes your weight on the handle (on either elbow or traditional crutches or even a walking stick). Compression of the median nerve at that point can be very painful.

    It can then radiate up the arm all the way to the neck. You can try to alleiviate it by padding the handles of the crutches but ultimately things won't improve much until you stop using them. Sorry!
  7. sweetcaroline

    sweetcaroline Member

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    Thank you all for your suggestions! I see a new PT on Monday and hopefully he'll have some ideas for me too. Wishing everyone a speedy recovery!
    sweetcaroline
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