Subscapular nerve block in the painful hemiplegic shoulder

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1992 Nov;73(11):1036-9.


Shoulder pain frequently superimposes substantial disability on a limb already limited by hemiplegia. The subscapularis muscle is a major internal rotator of the shoulder and, therefore, plays a role in the flexor synergy pattern commonly seen in spastic hemiplegia. Thirteen patients with spastic hemiplegia, limited range of motion, and painful shoulders underwent percutaneous phenol blocks to the nerves to the subscapularis. Patients' ages ranged from 22 to 76 (x 46 years) and the duration of hemiplegia from two to 13 months. Immediate and significant (p < 0.01) improvements in range of motion were observed in abduction (21 degrees), flexion (40 degrees), and external rotation (38 degrees). Relief of pain was also noted with the previously painful movement. Subscapularis nerve block is a new and potentially useful technique in the management of the painful hemiplegic shoulder.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hemiplegia / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Spasticity / physiopathology
  • Muscles / innervation
  • Nerve Block / methods*
  • Pain Management*
  • Phenols*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Scapula
  • Shoulder Joint / physiopathology*


  • Phenols