Background: Few studies have investigated the underlying mechanisms for unilateral subacromial pain syndrome (SAPS). Therefore, this study examined (1) if 8-weeks of exercise could modulate clinical pain or temporal summation of pain (TSP), conditioned pain modulation (CPM), and exercise-induced hypoalgesia (EIH) and (2) if any of these parameters could predict the effect of 8-weeks of exercise in patients with unilateral SAPS. Methods: Thirty-seven patients completed a progressive abduction exercise program every other day for 8-weeks. Worst shoulder pain in full abduction was rated on a numeric rating scale (NRS). Pain pressure thresholds (PPTs), TSP, CPM, EIH, Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI), Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS), PainDETECT questionnaire (PD-Q), Pain Self-Efficacy Questionnaire (PSE-Q) and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) were assessed before and after intervention. Results: The intervention improved worst pain intensity (p < 0.001), increased the CPM (p < 0.001), improved the sleep scores (p < 0.005) and reduced the PainDETECT ratings (p < 0.001). No changes were observed in PPT, TSP, EIH, SPADI, PCS and PSE-Q (all p > 0.05). In a linear regression, the combination of all baseline parameters predicted 23.2% variance in absolute change in pain after 8 weeks. Applying backwards elimination to the linear regression yielded that baseline pain intensity combined with TSP predicted 33.8% variance. Conclusion: This explorative study suggested reduction in pain, improved sleep quality and increased CPM after 8-weeks of exercise. Furthermore, the results suggests that low pain intensity and high TSP scores (indicative for pain sensitisation) may predict a lack of pain improvement after exercise.
Bibliographical noteFunding information:
Danish Society of Sports Physical Therapy (DSSF)
The Aalborg University Talent Management Programme, Grant/Award Number: 771126
Novo Nordisk Foundation, Grant/Award Number: NNF21OC0065373
Danish National Research Foundation, Grant/Award Number: DNRF121
© 2022 The Authors. European Journal of Pain published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Pain Federation - EFIC ®.