UBC Graduate Research

The Effectiveness of Exercise Therapy in Reducing Pain and Improving Clinical Outcomes in Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy : a Systematic Review Gonsalves, Jennifer; Kuyer, Evin; McKay, Tamara; Moffat, Amy; Palmer, Stephanie


A systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was performed to examine the effectiveness of exercise interventions in treating patients with rotator cuff tendinopathy. Three databases were searched- Medline OvidSP, CINAHL, and EMBASE. Ten articles examining eight different RCTs were reviewed. The clinical outcomes examined were shoulder pain, strength, range of motion, quality of life, and function. The secondary objective was to determine which parameters of exercise are most beneficial in treating this group of conditions. A qualitative data analysis was performed. Although few conclusive statements can be made, the evidence suggests that exercise interventions can lead to improvements in all of the above-mentioned clinical outcomes. Specific shoulder exercises appear to be more effective than general, non-specific neck and upper extremity exercises. Additionally, exercises performed at a higher intensity may be more beneficial than those performed at a lower intensity. The exercise parameters used in the studies vary considerably, and therefore it is difficult to draw conclusions about the most beneficial exercise prescription. Further research is needed in order to conclusively determine the effectiveness of exercise interventions in the treatment of rotator cuff tendinopathy. MPT Systematic Reviews and Research Projects.

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