BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE
Eccentric exercise has been shown to be an effective treatment for tendinopathies, but there is less evidence supporting its use for treatment of subacromial syndrome. Further, there is no consensus on whether the optimal eccentric exercise program for subacromial syndrome should either avoid or allow pain during exercise.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of two eccentric exercise protocols on pain and shoulder function in people with subacromial syndrome. The exercise protocols were the same except that one was performed without any pain, while the other allowed pain no more than 40 mm on the Visual Analog Scale (VAS).
Twenty-two subjects (average age of 59, approximately half male/female) were randomized into two groups - one who performed the exercises without pain, and the other who were allowed to have pain during exercise. The intervention lasted 4 weeks, and used five training sessions per week, each 30 minutes. The exercises (see more detail in the clinical implications section) consisted of rotator cuff strengthening, scapular stabilization, and stretching. Before and after the intervention, the researchers measured pain, active range of motion, and shoulder function using the modified Constant-Murley Score.
Each group had significant improvements in pain, active range of motion and shoulder function. However, there were no significant differences between the two groups in any measure, indicating that performing eccentric exercise with pain offered no benefit (or detriment) compared