Credentials Display

Jennifer Silvestri, MS, OTR/L, PPOTD candidate; Sonia Lawson, PhD, OTR/L; Cristina Sadowsky, MD


Background: Existing research on the lived experience of those with spinal cord injury (SCI) resulting in paraplegia who use a manual wheelchair and experience shoulder pain is extremely limited. This research aimed to begin the process of understanding the lived experience of this population and to describe how chronic shoulder pain impacts occupational engagement and quality of life.

Method: A phenomenological approach using a constant comparative method was used to analyze data and to construct and redefine themes throughout the research process. The qualitative data obtained from two semi-structured interviews with the four study participants is presented below.

Results: Five overarching themes emerged. The themes of putting on the brakes, intrinsic factors, extrinsic factors, hope, and resilience emerged among the participants to describe their lived experience of shoulder pain as a manual wheelchair user with SCI.

Conclusion: The themes presented increased the understanding of the lived experience of shoulder pain in this population. Though the experience was unique to each participant, many similarities emerged from the themes, such as the benefit of having a strong support network including others wheelchair users with SCI and demonstrating a resilient spirit.


The authors declare that they have no competing financial, professional, or personal interest that might have influenced the performance or presentation of the work described in this manuscript.