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Papers: 5 Oct 2019 - 11 Oct 2019

Human Studies

2020 Apr 28

Scand J Pain



Pressure pain sensitivity in patients with traumatic first-time and recurrent anterior shoulder dislocation: a cross-sectional analysis.


Liaghat B, Eshoj H, Juul-Kristensen B, Arendt-Nielsen L, Skou ST
Scand J Pain. 2020 Apr 28; 20(2):387-395.
PMID: 31586969.


Background and aims Traumatic anterior shoulder dislocation (ASD) is frequent in active populations and associated with a 39% higher risk of recurrent dislocation, which may cause persistent shoulder problems, pain, and impaired shoulder-related quality of life. While local and distant pressure pain sensitivity has been demonstrated in other shoulder conditions, little is known about the link between pressure pain sensitivity and ASD. The interesting aspect is whether recurrent dislocation – resulting in symptoms of longer duration – is associated with more pronounced pressure pain sensitivity, or if presence of pressure pain sensitivity may be part of the reasons why patients develop recurrent dislocation. Therefore, this study aimed at evaluating whether patients with recurrent ASD display greater pressure pain sensitivity and more painful body sites than patients with first-time ASD. Methods This was a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from a randomized controlled trial including 34 patients with first-time ASD [82% male, mean (SD) age 26 (7) years] and 22 patients with recurrent ASD [96% male, mean (SD) age 25 (5) years]. Patients were assessed as follows: (1) assessment of local and distant pressure pain sensitivity evaluated by pressure pain thresholds (PPTs) using a handheld algometer on mm. trapezius superior, levator scapula, pectorales major, deltoideus, and tibialis anterior, (2) pain intensity at rest during the previous 24 h, (3) number of ASD, and (4) number of painful body sites on a region-divided body chart. Results The PPTs were not significantly different between first-time and recurrent ASD [mean (SD) kPa for m. trapezius superior 264 (110) vs. 261 (88), m. levator scapula 301 (157) vs. 325 (163), m. pectorales major 234 (163) vs. 269 (130), m. deltoideus 290 (166) vs. 352 (173), m. tibialis anterior 420 (202) vs. 449 (184)], two-way ANCOVA, adjusted for sex and age, F (4,263) = 0.29, p = 0.88. For both groups, the PPTs were lower at the shoulder sites than at m. tibialis anterior (difference 117-184 kPa, 95% CI range 33-267). Females had lower PPTs than males (difference 124 kPa, 95% CI 64-183). The number (SD) of painful body sites were 2.2 (1.9) for first-time ASD and 2.6 (5.4) for recurrent ASD, with no between-group differences, one-way ANCOVA, adjusted for sex and age, F (1, 52) = 0.24, p = 0.63. There was a strong correlation between PPTs at the shoulder and lower leg, r = 0.84, p < 0.01. Conclusions This study demonstrated no differences in local and distant pressure pain sensitivity or number of painful body sites between patients with first-time and recurrent ASD. Females had lower PPTs than males, and a strong correlation was found between PPTs at the shoulder and lower leg. Implications Patients with first-time and recurrent ASD seem to have similar pressure pain sensitivity, but lower PPTs compared to existing normative data, suggesting that it is relevant to evaluate the status of the pain system in these patients to prevent triggering or worsening of their symptoms. However, it remains unanswered how these changes affect the patients' ability to undergo rehabilitation, symptom response and long-term shoulder function.