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Shoulder pain, range of movement and functional recovery after acute tetraplegia
Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation (2003)
  • Susan K Salisbury
  • Nancy L Low Choy
  • Jennifer Nitz

To investigate (1) the prevalence and course of shoulder pain in acute tetraplegia and (2) its relationship with range of motion (ROM) and function and any associated risk factors.

A longitudinal prospective study.

Spinal injury unit in an Australian hospital.

Inpatients with acute tetraplegia.

Not applicable.

Main Outcome Measures:
Demographics, pain intensity, shoulder ROM, and functional motor skills.

The prevalence of pain during rehabilitation was 85%. Risk factors associated with pain during rehabilitation included age less than 30 years or more than 50 years (F 8.892, P .064), admission motor level at C2-5 (F 5.833, P .016), admission sensory level at C2-5 (F 7.543, P .006), lower left upper limb (P .005; 95% confidence interval [CI], 14.74 to 2.86) and total American Spinal Injury Association motor scores (P .009; 95% CI, 29.53 to 4.67), and a shorter duration of bedrest (F 5.794, P .055). Subjects with pain lost ROM in left abduction (P .038; 95% CI, 25.9 to 0.9) and right abduction (P .05; 95% CI, 30 to 9.3). No relationship existed between shoulder pain and functional motor skills on discharge.

Shoulder pain is common in acute tetraplegia and is associated with loss of shoulder ROM. Risk factors identified include age, injury level, and duration of bedrest. Areas for further study are identified.

© Copyright by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 2003

  • pain,
  • range of motion,
  • articular,
  • rehabilitation,
  • shoulder,
  • tetraplegia
Publication Date
January 1, 2003
Citation Information
Susan K Salisbury, Nancy L Low Choy and Jennifer Nitz. "Shoulder pain, range of movement and functional recovery after acute tetraplegia" Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation Vol. 84 (2003)
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