Nearly 60% of persons with paraplegia who are wheelchair users will suffer from shoulder pain that severely hampers their ability to carry out daily activities and propel themselves over different terrains. Though persons with paraplegia routinely use exercise training in rehabilitation settings, no shoulder training guidelines currently exist for wheelchair users. That will soon change, thanks to the $9,700 Quality of Life Grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation grant awarded to Deborah Nawoczenski, professor of physical therapy, and Linda Riek, adjunct faculty, at Ithaca College’s Rochester Center, a PhD student at the University of Rochester and co-principal investigator on the project.
“The program will have an immediate benefit for the community because it will enable individuals with paralysis an opportunity to work out in a fitness program designed specifically for wheelchair users, with an emphasis on healthy shoulder movement patterns,” Nawoczenski said in a news release. “This program will also provide guidelines to trainers and therapists that can also be implemented in rehabilitation settings.”