Exercise into pain in chronic rotator cuff related shoulder pain: a prospective single-group feasibility study

Claudia Cavaggion, Birgit Juul-Kristensen, Alejandro Luque-Suarez*, Lennard Voogt, Guy Wollants, Eoin Ó Conaire, Filip Struyf


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OBJECTIVES: This study evaluated the feasibility of exercising into pain in rotator cuff related shoulder pain (RCRSP), data collection procedures, feedback from physiotherapists and patients, and clinically important changes in patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). DESIGN: Unblinded non-randomised single-group study. SETTING: Physiotherapy clinic in Belgium. PARTICIPANTS: Twelve patients with unilateral RCRSP for minimum 3 months, aged 18-65 years. INTERVENTIONS: Twelve weeks of four individualised exercises, with nine physiotherapist-led sessions with pain ratings 4-7 out of 10 on a verbal Numeric Pain Rating Scale for 9 weeks and then pain ratings 0-2 for 3 weeks. Every physiotherapy session included 15 min of manual therapy. Non-supervised exercises were: 2×/week in weeks with physiotherapy session, 3×/week in weeks without physiotherapy session. OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary: adherence, where patients were considered adherent with 78% (7/9 sessions) attendance for supervised sessions and 81% (22/27 sessions) completion for non-supervised exercises, and Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI); secondary: fear-avoidance behaviour, fear of pain, physical outcomes (strength, range of motion, scapular dyskinesis); others: ultrasound (US) imaging outcomes (acromionhumeral distance, supraspinatus tendon thickness, occupation ratio), global perceived effect (GPE). PROMs were collected via online survey, except for the GPE (via closed envelope). US measures were taken after physical measures. RESULTS: Adherence and adverse effects were analysed in patients who had the possibility to attend minimum seven supervised sessions (n=8): 88% of them adhered to supervised sessions, 50% to non-supervised exercises; none of them withdrew from the study, three of them obtained individual clinically important improvements in SPADI score above 20 points. The measurement protocol of physical and ultrasonographic outcomes took around 60 min. CONCLUSIONS: Adherence to supervised sessions was satisfactory, the adherence to non-supervised exercises must be improved. Data collection procedures were feasible to perform, but some changes are recommended. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT04154345.

TidsskriftBMJ Open
Udgave nummer10
Antal sider27
StatusUdgivet - 6. okt. 2023


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