Inclusion of Mobilisation With Movement to an Exercise Programme in Rotator Cuff Related Pain

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    Federal University of Health Science of Porto Alegre
Updated on 27 October 2021


Rotator cuff related pain is considered the main source of musculoskeletal shoulder pain that affects function and produces pain on movement. Amongst the existing physiotherapeutic management approaches, exercise therapy has been recognized as the first line approach. The use of manual therapy in the management of this condition has been debated and studies have shown contradictory results. A specific manual therapy approach, mobilisation with movement (MWM), seems promising in this population as it aims to improve pain-free range of motion and includes active engagement of the participant.


Rotator cuff related pain is a term that includes a diversity of shoulder conditions known as: subacromial impingement syndrome, rotator cuff tendinitis/tendinopathy, rotator cuff tear, bursitis. The use of a broader term is useful as the diagnostic accuracy of special orthopaedic tests have been widely criticised and are unable to identify pathognomonic sources of symptoms in people presenting with shoulder pain. Additionally, even though diagnostic imaging is capable of identifying pathology in patients with rotator cuff related pain, studies demonstrate that their correlation with clinical presentation is questionable.

Shoulder pain is one of the most common sources of musculoskeletal pain that might affect up to 20% of the population. Additional important epidemiological data concerning shoulder pain is the fact that approximately 40% of people complaining of shoulder pain will still be symptomatic after six months. Physiotherapy has an important role in the management of rotator cuff related pain and exercise is the main therapeutic approach when considering pain and functional restriction,

Mobilisation with movement (MWM) is one alternative musculoskeletal approach that focuses on improving active pain-free range of motion. This concept of treatment incorporates a passive accessory glide produced by the clinician, followed by an active movement executed by the patient. Different studies have suggested positive effects of MWM in patients complaining of shoulder pain. On the other hand, other studies reported no superior effects when using MWM in their studies. Several methodological aspects might have influenced this discrepancy in results, such as population, dosage and type of MWM utilized, follow-up period and outcome measures. Due to this uncertainty, the current research aims to further explore the inclusion of MWM to an exercise programme in patients with rotator cuff related pain.

Condition Tendon Injuries, Shoulder Pain, Arthralgia, Rotator Cuff Injury, Chronic Leg Pain, TENDON INJURY, Rotator Cuff Injuries
Treatment Mobilisation with Movement, Sham Mobilisation with Movement
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04175184
SponsorFederal University of Health Science of Porto Alegre
Last Modified on27 October 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Unilateral shoulder pain of atraumatic origin
Complaining of shoulder pain for at least six weeks
Scoring at least 3 out 10 on a numeric pain rating scale (0- no pain; 10- worst pain imaginable)
Pain on active shoulder movement
Pain provoked by at least three of the following tests: Hawkins-Kennedy, Neer, painful arc, resisted external rotation, empty or full can
Participants referred by a specialist under the diagnosis of subacromial impingement syndrome, rotator cuff tendinopathy, partial rotator cuff tears, subacromial pain, bursitis

Exclusion Criteria

Shoulder pain following a traumatic event
History compatible with complete rotator cuff and biceps rupture
Adhesive capsulitis
History of dislocation
Glenohumeral osteoarthritis
Systemic, local or self-immune inflammatory conditions
Previous shoulder or neck surgery
Familiar pain provoked by neck movements
Presence of radicular signs
Use of corticosteroids over the past six months
Diagnosis of fibromyalgia
Participants with clinical depression
Participants under treatment for her/his shoulder condition
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