An evaluation of two types of exercise classes, containing shoulder exercises or a combination of shoulder and thoracic exercises, for the treatment of nonspecific shoulder pain: A case series

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Study Design:A case series was carried out.Introduction:There is a lack of evidence exploring the effectiveness of group exercise classes for people with nonspecific shoulder pain (NSSP). Also, there is a lack of research that measures potential reductions in thoracic kyphosis after exercise interventions in people with NSSP.Purpose of the Study:To observe changes in shoulder pain, disability, and thoracic kyphosis in 2 groups of people with NSSP, after 2 different types of group exercise classes.Methods:People with NSSP received a 6-week block of exercises classes containing either shoulder exercises alone (shoulder group, n = 20) or a mixture of shoulder and thoracic extension exercises (thoracic group, n = 19). The Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire for disability and the Numeric Rating Scale for pain were measured at baseline, 6 weeks, and 6 months. Thoracic kyphosis was measured at baseline and 6 weeks using the manual inclinometer.Results:Significant and clinically meaningful improvements in Numeric Rating Scale and Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand were demonstrated in both groups at 6-week and 6-month follow-up (P < .001). Effect sizes ranged from 0.78–1.16 in the shoulder group and 0.85–1.88 in the thoracic group. Thoracic kyphosis did not change beyond measurement error in either group.Discussion/Conclusion:Group exercise classes can improve shoulder pain and disability in people with NSSP. Resting thoracic kyphosis did not change after either exercise intervention, which suggests that the treatment effect was not due to a change in static thoracic spine posture.

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