Treatment of shoulder pain utilizing mechanical diagnosis and therapy principles

J Man Manip Ther. 2013 Aug;21(3):168-73. doi: 10.1179/2042618613Y.0000000037.


This case report describes the effectiveness of mechanical diagnosis and therapy (MDT) in the management of a patient referred with a diagnosis of shoulder tendonitis. The patient was a 56-year-old male with a 3-month history of left anterior shoulder pain. Upon initial assessment, he presented with a positive open-can test, lift-off test, and Hawkins-Kennedy impingement test. A MDT assessment quickly ruled out cervical involvement and identified a loss of end-range shoulder mobility and pain during active shoulder movement. After the patient underwent a repeated movement examination and treatment based on responses to end-range movements over three visits, his shoulder pain was abolished and motion was fully restored. Despite having positive rotator cuff and impingement signs, this patient was effectively treated with repeated end-range movements over a short period of 2 weeks. This case demonstrates that treatment based on MDT sub-classification principles may be an effective way to manage shoulder pain as it is in the spine.

Keywords: Classification; Derangement; Directional preference; Mechanical diagnosis and therapy; Shoulder pain.