Cuff, A and Littlewood, C (2018) Subacromial impingement syndrome - What does this mean to and for the patient? A qualitative study. Musculoskeletal Science and Practice, 33. pp. 24-28. ISSN 2468-8630

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Structured exercise has been reported as the current treatment of choice for patients diagnosed with subacromial impingement syndrome (SIS). However, it has been suggested that this diagnostic term and the language used to explain this condition might negatively influence patient expectations and serve as a barrier to engagement with exercise, hence compromising clinical outcomes.

To explore how patients rationalise their shoulder pain following a diagnosis of SIS and how this understanding might impact on their perception of physiotherapy and engagement with exercise.

A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews and analysed using the Framework method.

One NHS Physiotherapy department in South Yorkshire, England.

Nine patients diagnosed with SIS were purposively sampled from those referred to the outpatient physiotherapy department by the orthopaedic team (consultant surgeons and registrars).

Three main themes were generated: (1) The diagnostic experience, (2) Understanding of the problem, (3) Expectation of the treatment required; with one subtheme: (3b) Barriers to engagement with physiotherapy.

The findings from this study suggest that diagnosis of shoulder pain remains grounded in a biomedical model. Understanding and explaining pain using the subacromial impingement model seems acceptable to patients but might have significant implications for engagement with and success of physiotherapy. It is suggested that clinicians should be mindful of the terminology they use and consider its impact on the patient's treatment pathway with the aim of doing no harm with the language used.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: shoulder pain, expectations, diagnosis, qualitative study
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC925 Diseases of the musculoskeletal system
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Primary Care Health Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2017 08:14
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2019 16:47

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