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Effect of a standard exercise protocol on shoulder pain in long-term wheelchair users

Abstract

Purpose: To analyze the effectiveness of a 6-month exercise protocol on shoulder pain experienced by wheelchair users during functional activities. Subjects: Forty-two wheelchair users, 35 males and seven females: average age of 35 years and an average duration of wheelchair use of 14 years. Methods: Subjects were randomly assigned to treatment (n=21) and control (n=21) groups. The treatment group received instruction in five shoulder exercises which they performed daily for 6 months. The exercise protocol included two exercises for stretching anterior shoulder musculature and three exercises for strengthening posterior shoulder musculature. Outcome measures: All subjects completed a self-report questionnaire and the Wheelchair Users Shoulder Pain Index (WUSPI) initially and at bimonthly intervals during the 6-month intervention. Results: Seventy-five per cent of the subjects reported a history of shoulder pain since beginning wheelchair use. The average initial performance-corrected (PC-WUSPI) score of the 42 subjects was 17.7 (±21.3) with a range of 0–103.2 points. Over 83% of the subjects (35 of 42) completed the 6-month study. Subjects in the treatment group decreased their PC-WUSPI score by an average of 39.9%, compared to decreases of only 2.5% in the control group. Conclusions: These findings supported the effectiveness of this exercise protocol in decreasing the intensity of shoulder pain which interferes with functional activity in wheelchair users.

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Correspondence to KA Curtis.

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Curtis, K., Tyner, T., Zachary, L. et al. Effect of a standard exercise protocol on shoulder pain in long-term wheelchair users. Spinal Cord 37, 421–429 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.sc.3100860

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Keywords

  • spinal cord injury-treatment
  • paraplegia
  • tetraplegia
  • shoulder
  • exercise

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