Background: Shoulder pain affects all ages, with a lifetime prevalence of one in three. The most effective treatment is not known. Physiotherapy is often recommended as the first choice of treatment. At present, it is not possible to identify, from the initial physiotherapy assessment, which factors predict the outcome of physiotherapy for patients with shoulder pain. The primary objective of this study is to identify which patient characteristics and baseline measures, typically assessed at the first physiotherapy appointment, are related to the functional outcome of shoulder pain 6 weeks and 6 months after starting physiotherapy treatment.
Methods/design: Participants with musculoskeletal shoulder pain of any duration will be recruited from participating physiotherapy departments. For this longitudinal cohort study, the participants care pathway, including physiotherapy treatment will be therapist determined.
Discussion: This study may offer service users and providers with guidance to help identify whether or not physiotherapy is likely to be of benefit. Clinicians may have some direction as to what key factors indicate a patient's likely response to physiotherapy.