Shoulder pain management. The role of physical and rehabilitation medicine physicians. The European perspective based on the best evidence. A paper by the UEMS-PRM Section Professional Practice Committee

Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2013 Oct;49(5):743-51.


One of the objectives of the Professional Practice Committee (PPC) of the Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (PRM) Section of the Union of European Medical Specialists (UEMS) is the development of the field of competence of PRM physicians in Europe. To achieve this objective, UEMS PRM Section PPC has adopted a systematic action plan of preparing a series of papers describing the role of PRM physicians in a number of disabling health conditions, based on the evidence of effectiveness of the physical and rehabilitation medicine interventions. According to the PCC of the UEMS-PRM Section, the role of PRM physician in the management of shoulder pain (SP) has to be situated inside the general pain management field. SP is a common condition that can place limitations on the activity and restriction in social life participation of sufferers. A variety of shoulder problems, commonly including subacromial impingement, calcifying tendinitis, frozen shoulder, acromio-clavicular disturbances, gleno-humeral instability and gleno-humeral arthritis, can cause pain, and patients should be assessed and treated in order to relieve symptoms and reduce disability. This position paper describes the role of the PRM specialist in the management of such patients. Many assessment methods and treatment interventions are usually used in the management of patients with SP. Depending on the process, disability and patient characteristics, some intervention modalities have reported evidence in pain relief, movement and daily life activity (DLA) restoration, thus permiting a patient early recovery and social participation. Oral medications, local injections, physical therapy modalities and exercises are normally used for the management of SP. The PRM specialist should, always use this best medical evidence to decide how to efficiently and effectively reduce SP-related disability. An adequate therapeutic algorithm is also proposed in order to channelize the above mentioned evidence and reach the best results.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Europe
  • European Union
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Humans
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / standards*
  • Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine / methods
  • Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine / standards*
  • Professional Practice
  • Range of Motion, Articular / drug effects
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Recovery of Function / drug effects
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Shoulder Pain / diagnosis
  • Shoulder Pain / etiology
  • Shoulder Pain / therapy*


  • Analgesics