Mobility Devices and Pain

May 03, 2021

Can mobility assistance devices cause pain and deformity? You bet if they are used incorrectly or not adjusted properly. Avoiding the worst of the problems is fairly easy.

As a senior massage specialist, I go all over Ventura County serving elders and the disabled wherever the need arises. In my journeys, I have witnessed much unnecessary pain and suffering. Please, when purchasing a mobility aid, make sure it is adjusted to your needs and comfortably supports your best posture.

Our body functions best when fully upright. If a cane or mobility aid for walking isn’t at the proper height, the pain will find its way into your neck, back, shoulders, and/or arms.

Is cane too short? Body tissues on the cane side will compress and shorten. The opposite side will stretch and tighten. Over time the body will freeze in that lopsided stature. Balance is compromised. Pain becomes more frequent in the altered joints and muscles.

Is Walker too short? Posture is sacrificed to a forward lean. Your eyes then seek to level, causing the neck to bend awkwardly. A turtle-like appearance takes shape as the back rounds and the neck juts forward. Again, balance and posture are compromised and pain is the result.

Many seem to think that poor posture is just a part of aging. That is not necessarily true. If you maintain good bones and good posture, you can also maintain better balance. To age well, we have to take responsibility for our health where we can. Poor posture can round the body forward, disturbing the person’s center of gravity. The hunched back of osteoporosis also does this. A forward-leaning upper body shifts weight and falls are more likely to happen. Falls can end independence. Wheelchairs and scooters have their issues, too. So no matter what mobility aid you need, be sure before you purchase that it supports you at your best height comfortably and safely. Have a physical therapist, a physiatrist, or mobility and balance specialist make any necessary adjustments.

As a senior massage specialist, I work on the physical issues of aging bodies. Included in those are issues brought on by ill-fitting mobility devices. I work to lengthen compressed muscles and bring balance back to the body where I can.

I educate groups on this and other health topics and welcome your inquiries.

Don't Use The V-Word

Do you mind my asking you how old you are?" Linda, in her early 70's, doesn't identify as a "senior" - at least not in the context that most people think of it.

Published by James Lee

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