Association between changes in pain or function scores and changes in scapular rotations in patients with subacromial shoulder pain: a prospective cohort study

Review written by Dr Teddy Willsey info

Key Points

  1. Changes in scapular mechanics do not appear to be related to changes in pain and function.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Scapular dyskinesis has been defined as “an observable alteration of the position and/or motion of the scapula relative to the thoracic cage” (1). It is a controversial concept that has come under significant scrutiny, as wide variations in scapular kinematics are seen when observing asymptomatic shoulders and comparing the dominant to non-dominant side (2, 3).

It has been suggested that decrements in scapular upward rotation, posterior tilting, and external rotation, may lead to shoulder pain and decreased function. It is thought that a combination of these three movements is necessary to reduce subacromial compression and account for superior migration of the humeral head during arm elevation.

The authors of this paper sought to answer the question of whether changes in subacromial pain or shoulder function occurred alongside changes in scapular rotations.

Scapular dyskinesis is a controversial concept as wide variations in scapular kinematics are seen when observing asymptomatic shoulders and comparing the dominant to non-dominant side.
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Scapular mechanics are not an independent explanatory factor for shoulder pain or dysfunction.

METHODS

  • This was an observational, prospective cohort study following 25 participants with subacromial shoulder pain for eight weeks.
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