BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders;(2018) 19:304
Background: There is a paucity of research on the association between psychological factors and persistent shoulder pain. The aim of this study was to investigate whether emotional distress was associated with pain intensity and self-reported disability after physiotherapy treatment in patients with shoulder pain. Methods: Data from 145 patients treated at physiotherapy outpatient clinics aged ≥18 years with self-reported pain in the shoulder or arm, and movement activity problems related to the upper-extremity, were included. Outcome measures were pain intensity measured by Numeric Pain Rating Scale and disability measured by Patient Specific Functional Scale. Demographic and clinical characteristics, including emotional distress measured by Hopkins Symptom Checklist – 25, were obtained at study onset. Association between characteristics at study onset and pain and disability after physiotherapy treatment were analysed using multiple linear regression and a backward manual elimination method. The final models were adjusted for age and sex. Results: Higher emotional distress at study onset (B 1.06, 95% CI 0.44 to 1.68) was associated with higher pain intensity after the physiotherapy treatment (P=0.001). Emotional distress was not associated with self-reported disability after the physiotherapy treatment. Conclusion: This study found that emotional distress at study onset was associated with shoulder pain intensity after physiotherapy treatment, but not with disability. The findings indicate that emotional distress should be included in the initial physiotherapy examination of shoulder pain.