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Stroke - shoulder pain and upper limb function 

International Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Journal
Carvalho Sá P,1Ferro I,1Pires C,1Pascoal A,1 Lourenço A ,1Constantino J,1Martins L,1Campos I,1Valério M,2Mendes B,3Reis M,4Laíns J1,5


Introduction:Stroke causes disability and pain, especially shoulder pain. Often, shoulder pain, has a not completely known mechanism and evolution.1,2

Objectives:Assess shoulder pain and its impact in upper limb function, in patients who had suffered a stroke within 6 months.

Methods:Observational study. Included patients at discharge from an inpatient rehabilitation centre, from November 2019 until February 2020. Assessment was done using validated Portuguese versions of the Brief Pain Inventory(BPI) and Fugl Meyer Assessment Scale(FMAS).

Results:Of 32 patients screened, 26 fulfilled the inclusion criteria, 7 were females (26,9 %), with mean age of 60,7±10 years. Mean values of BPI Severity and Interference were 3,2±1,6 and 2,4±1,8, respectively. The mean values of the FMAS Motor Function and Passive Articular Movement were 38,8±23,2 and 20,3±2,3, respectively. Analysing the association between both subscales of BPI and both Subscales of FMAS negative correlations were found to be statistically significant with a confidence interval of 95% but there was no correlation between BPI Severity and FMAS motor function. Six patients (23%) received a local injection for shoulder pain. Analysing both groups, BPI Severity and both subscales of FMAS showed a statistically significant difference (p values of 0,0083, 0,0031 and 0,0056, respectively) for a Wilcoxon/Kruskal-Wallis test with a confidence interval of 95%.

Discussion/Conclusions:Patients with voluntary upper limb movements after a stroke tend to have less shoulder pain.Local injection was an effective intervention for shoulder pain.The greatest limitation of this study is the small sample size.


cerebrovascular disease ,post-stroke pain