Back to shoul­der­ing ev­ery-day life

Sunday Star - - CELEBRATIONS -

Think about shoul­ders for a mo­ment.

Con­sider what im­pact it could have on your ev­ery-day life if lit­er­ally ev­ery move­ment of your arms — in this case, both of them — was painful.

Lau­rann MacPher­son Sch­waninger did not have to imag­ine it. She lived it.

“I was plagued by shoul­der pain,” she re­lated, “rotator cuff, in both shoul­ders. I had cor­ti­sone shots. They didn’t work. I had phys­i­cal ther­apy. I felt worse after that than when I went in.

“I couldn’t sleep,” she con­tin­ued. “My shoul­ders throbbed in the night. I could not work in the yard. I couldn’t even cut my own grass. Noth­ing worked.”

Fi­nally, at the en­cour­age­ment of her brother, Keith, who owns and op­er­ates the Capt. Ketch seafood mar­ket in Eas­ton, she fol­lowed his lead and be­came a pa­tient of Eas­ton chi­ro­prac­tor Dr. Christo­pher Cianci. That was last fall. “I’m a lot hap­pier now,” she said. But let’s go back a bit.

Thirty-nine years ago, Lau­rann and her hus­band, Melvin, opened Pop’s Mar­ket, the iconic coun­try mar­ket­ing place on Route 50 just north of Trappe. It started as a pro­duce mar­ket, then took on crabs and then the fa­mil­iar back­yard sheds which adorn the road front.

The Sch­waninger’s son, John, now man­ages the mar­ket with his mother. Melvin is ail­ing and has left the business.

Lau­rann’s three grand­sons of­ten scam­per around the business and tell their grand­mother that they want to work in the mar­ket some day.

“But I tell them they have go to col­lege first,” she said with a smile.

Of course, Lau­rann’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties at the mar­ket only served to mag­nify the shoul­der pain and dis­com­fort.

She was not able to even work the com­puter with­out dis­com­fort. But she con­tin­ued to bear with it. After all, she was no stranger to pain and ill­ness. She and her hus­band had each suf­fered from mold poi­son­ing in two homes which they oc­cu­pied.

She had breast can­cer in 1988 and back surgery in 1999. She also had other ma­jor surg­eries.

Per­haps the fi­nal straw was her in­abil­ity to row — that’s right, to row a boat. In this case, a kayak.

“My happy place is on the wa­ter,” she said.

In re­view­ing Lau­rann’s treat­ment, Dr. Cianci re­called that she had men­tioned in her his­tory a se­ri­ous whiplash in­jury that she had suf­fered 37 years ago.

“When we eval­u­ate a pa­tient,” Dr. Cianci said, “we of­ten see that a shoul­der is­sue will have a con­nec­tion to their neck, and vice versa.

“Of­ten old trau­mas come back and af­fect us years later. Hard work and ev­ery­day chores over time take their toll.”

Dr. Cianci noted that shoul­der is­sues seem to slowly and silently limit a per­son’s day-to-day ac­tiv­i­ties

As an ex­am­ple, he added. that “due to the cli­mate we live in, we only wear coats for a short time each year. Yet, put­ting on a coat this fall will of­ten alert a pa­tient to the fact that their shoul­der ache has got­ten worse The awk­ward move­ment of put­ting your arm be­hind you to slip your arm into the sleeve can be­come limited ... and very painful.

“If you find you’re hav­ing al­ways to put the same arm into a sleeve first, you can bet that shoul­der is­sues are down the road.”

Chat­ting after a re­cent ap­point­ment, she re­called her long his­tory of shoul­der ail­ments. Lau­rann said that, fi­nally, last fall, she had reached a point where she had to do some­thing to ease the shoul­der pain.

“I de­cided that I sim­ply was not go­ing to live my life that way,” she said. “I had to find some re­lief. Dr. Cianci is about mak­ing that hap­pen.”

Lau­rann and Melvin’s home is an amuse­ment park, of sorts, when a few gen­er­a­tions of Sch­waningers gather for fam­ily fun and en­joy­ment, of­fer­ing such plea­sures as swim­ming, kayak­ing, boat­ing, fish­ing and rides on the jet ski.

“It’s one thing to know that you’ve made a pa­tient feel bet­ter,” Dr. Cianci said, “but it is the re­al­iza­tion that you have played a part in help­ing that pa­tient en­joy life on the Eastern Shore, par­tic­u­larly with loved ones.

“That el­e­vates pro­fes­sional sat­is­fac­tion to an­other level. I’m so grate­ful for the abil­ity to pro­vide that for both the Sch­waninger fam­ily and the MacPher­son fam­ily, which in­cludes Keith and his wife and Lau­rann and her son.”

Lau­rann says it is a fam­ily af­fair as Melvin also was a pa­tient of Dr. Cianci.

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