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Clinical course of pain and disability in patients with subacromial shoulder pain: a systematic review protocol
  1. Zohreh Jafarian Tangrood1,
  2. Angela Spontelli Gisselman1,2,
  3. Gisela Sole1,
  4. Daniel Cury Ribeiro1
  1. 1 School of Physiotherapy, Centre for Health, Activity, and Rehabilitation Research (CHARR), University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  2. 2 Department of Physical Therapy, High Point University, High Point, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Daniel Cury Ribeiro; daniel.ribeiro{at}


Introduction Previous systematic reviews have identified the multiple factors impacting on the prognosis of shoulder pain. However, the typical clinical course of subacromial shoulder pain remains unclear. The aim of this systematic review is to assess the clinical course of pain and disability in patients with subacromial shoulder pain.

Method and analysis We will systematically search electronic databases (Medline, Embase and AMED (via Ovid), Web of Science, Cochrane Library and Scopus) from the date of inception to 28 February 2018 for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies with patients with subacromial shoulder pain. We will follow patient groups measured with pain and disabilities with no intervention or usual care treatment. Two reviewers will extract the data, and assess the risk of bias within included studies. We will use the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool for RCTs, and a methodological quality assessment tool for observational studies. We will perform meta-analyses for changes in pain and disability scores for each group (usual care and no intervention) at different time categories (up to 6 weeks, 6–12 weeks, 12–26 weeks or more). If there are 10 or more studies, we will perform a meta-regression for each planned analysis. The outcomes of the included studies will be described individually if the above statistical methods are not possible. Findings from this review will be of interest to clinicians and researchers, and will describe the expected clinical course of subacromial shoulder pain. This study may indicate the potential differences between the clinical courses of pain and disability over time.

Ethics and dissemination This review will not gather original data, hence ethical approval is not required. The results of this systematic review will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and presented at a scientific conference.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42016052518.

  • shoulder pain
  • clinical course
  • subacromial pain

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  • Contributors ZJT and DCR conceived of the project. ZJT was responsible for the designing of the review. DCR is the guarantor. DCR, GS and ASG contributed to design of the review. All authors revised and approved the protocol for the study. All authors revised manuscript for important content and approved the final version.

  • Funding ZJT is supported by the University of Otago Doctoral Scholarship.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement None.