Scapulothoracic and Glenohumeral Motions During Functional Reaching Tasks in Women With a History of Breast Cancer and Healthy Age-Matched Controls

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Abstract

Purposes:

(1) To determine differences in scapulothoracic (ST) and glenohumeral (GH) motions between women with and without breast cancer (BrCa); and (2) to determine association between ST and GH motions and shoulder pain and disability.

Methods:

Thirty women with BrCa and 30 women without BrCa participated in this observational study. ST and GH kinematic data were collected during 5 repetitions of unilateral unweighted overhead reaching, weighted overhead reaching (0.91 kg), and simulated hair combing in a research laboratory. The involved side in women with BrCa was matched by hand dominance with the appropriate side in women without BrCa. Shoulder pain and disability were measured using the Penn Shoulder Score. Separate 1-way multivariate analysis of variance tests were conducted to determine whether differences existed. Pearson correlations were used to determine association between ST and GH motions and shoulder pain and disability. Significance levels were set at .05.

Results:

There were no significant differences in ST and GH motions between women with and without BrCa. Specific ST and GH motions were significantly correlated (r = 0.36-0.57) with shoulder pain and disability.

Conclusion:

Lack of significant differences in ST and GH motions suggests that the majority of women with BrCa in our study had sufficient motion to accomplish the functional tasks. Several ST and GH motions were weakly to moderately associated with shoulder pain and disability among women with BrCa. However, it is not clear whether these ST and GH motions are compensatory strategies or contributing factors to the development of shoulder pain and disability.

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