Poststroke shoulder pain: its relationship to motor impairment, activity limitation, and quality of life

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2007 Mar;88(3):298-301. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2006.12.007.


Objective: To assess the relationship between poststroke shoulder pain, upper-limb motor impairment, activity limitation, and pain-related quality of life (QOL).

Design: Cross-sectional, secondary analysis of baseline data from a multisite clinical trial.

Setting: Outpatient rehabilitation clinics of 7 academic medical centers.

Participants: Volunteer sample of 61 chronic stroke survivors with poststroke shoulder pain and glenohumeral subluxation.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: We measured poststroke shoulder pain with the Brief Pain Inventory question 12 (BPI 12), a self-reported 11-point numeric rating scale (NRS) that assesses "worst pain" in the last 7 days. Motor impairment was measured with the Fugl-Meyer Assessment (FMA). Activity limitation was measured with the Arm Motor Ability Test (AMAT) and the FIM instrument. Pain-related QOL was measured with BPI question 23, a self-reported 11-point NRS that assesses pain interference with general activity, mood, walking ability, normal work, interpersonal relationships, sleep, and enjoyment of life.

Results: Stepwise regression analyses indicated that poststroke shoulder pain is associated with the BPI 23, but not with the FMA, FIM, or AMAT scores.

Conclusions: Poststroke shoulder pain is associated with reduced QOL, but not with motor impairment or activity limitation.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Hemiplegia / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Quality of Life*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Shoulder Pain / physiopathology*
  • Stroke / physiopathology*