Effects of reduction in shoulder pain on quality of life and community activities among people living long-term with SCI paraplegia: a randomized control trial

J Spinal Cord Med. 2011;34(3):278-84. doi: 10.1179/107902611X12972448729486.


Objective/background: People with spinal cord injury (SCI) paraplegia can develop shoulder problems over time, which may also cause pain. Shoulder pain may complicate or interfere with a person's daily activities, social events, and their overall quality of life (QOL). The purpose of this study was to examine changes in social interaction and QOL after an exercise treatment for shoulder pain in people with SCI paraplegia.

Design: Fifty-eight participants with SCI paraplegia who were also experiencing shoulder pain were selected and randomized to either an exercise treatment or a control group. Participants in the treatment group participated in a 12-week, at-home, exercise and movement optimization program designed to strengthen shoulder muscles and modify movements related to upper extremity weight bearing.

Methods: Participants filled out self-report measures at baseline, 12 weeks later at the end of treatment, and at a 4-week follow-up.

Outcome measures: The Wheelchair User's Shoulder Pain Index (WUSPI), the Social Interaction Inventory (SII), and the Subjective Quality of Life Scale.

Results: From the baseline to the end of treatment, repeated-measures analysis of variance revealed a significant interaction between WUSPI and SII scores, P < 0.001, and between WUSPI and QOL scores, P < 0.001.

Conclusion: Reductions in shoulder pain were related to significant increases in social participation and improvements in QOL. However, increases in social participation did not significantly affect improvements in QOL.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Shoulder Pain / etiology
  • Shoulder Pain / psychology*
  • Shoulder Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / complications
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult