Efficacy of Scapular Focused Treatment for Shoulder Pain

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study is to determine the effect of scapular focused treatment interventions on shoulder pain and biomechanics in patients with non-specific shoulder pain.

Design: Systematic literature review of randomized controlled trials.

Methods: The literature search was conducted in the databases Ovid MEDLINE, CINAHL, PEDro and Cochrane Library up to July 2020. Randomized controlled trials, cohort studies, and a quasi-experimental design were included; appraised using the Oxford Center for Evidence-Based Medicine (OCEBM) levels of evidence.

Results: Ten studies were included (n = 375) describing scapular-based interventions that targeted shoulder pain and assessed changes in shoulder biomechanics. Six studies captured biomechanical measurements and nine studies reported on pain. Two studies showed a statistically significant improvement with upward rotation, three for external rotation, and zero for flexion. Three studies showed a statistically significant reduction in pain.

Conclusion: Although scapular based exercise interventions demonstrate a positive impact on pain and perceived disability in patients with shoulder pain, results were inconsistent regarding biomechanical changes and greater improvements were seen when the interventions were combined with a generalized program focused on strength and range of motion (ROM). More high-quality research is needed to understand the effects of these interventions in clinical practice.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Mathew Failla, PT, Ph.D., SCS

Faculty/Staff Collaborators

Mathew Failla (Faculty mentor)

Status

Graduate

Student College

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

Program/Major

Physical Therapy

Primary Research Category

Health Sciences

Abstract only.

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Efficacy of Scapular Focused Treatment for Shoulder Pain

Objective: The purpose of this study is to determine the effect of scapular focused treatment interventions on shoulder pain and biomechanics in patients with non-specific shoulder pain.

Design: Systematic literature review of randomized controlled trials.

Methods: The literature search was conducted in the databases Ovid MEDLINE, CINAHL, PEDro and Cochrane Library up to July 2020. Randomized controlled trials, cohort studies, and a quasi-experimental design were included; appraised using the Oxford Center for Evidence-Based Medicine (OCEBM) levels of evidence.

Results: Ten studies were included (n = 375) describing scapular-based interventions that targeted shoulder pain and assessed changes in shoulder biomechanics. Six studies captured biomechanical measurements and nine studies reported on pain. Two studies showed a statistically significant improvement with upward rotation, three for external rotation, and zero for flexion. Three studies showed a statistically significant reduction in pain.

Conclusion: Although scapular based exercise interventions demonstrate a positive impact on pain and perceived disability in patients with shoulder pain, results were inconsistent regarding biomechanical changes and greater improvements were seen when the interventions were combined with a generalized program focused on strength and range of motion (ROM). More high-quality research is needed to understand the effects of these interventions in clinical practice.