Original research| Volume 97, ISSUE 1, P84-91, January 2016

Association of Shoulder Problems in Persons With Spinal Cord Injury at Discharge From Inpatient Rehabilitation With Activities and Participation 5 Years Later

Published:September 13, 2015DOI:



      To examine whether musculoskeletal shoulder pain and limitations in shoulder range of motion (ROM) at discharge from first rehabilitation are associated with activities and participation restrictions 5 years later in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI).


      Prospective cohort study.


      Eight specialized SCI rehabilitation centers.


      Subjects (N=138) with an SCI admitted for first rehabilitation.


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Peak power output (POpeak), Wheelchair Skills Test (WST), FIM motor score, ability to transfer, Physical Activity Scale for Individuals with Physical Disabilities (PASIPD), mobility range and social behavior subscales of the Sickness Impact Profile 68 (SIPSOC), and employment status.


      Mean age of the subjects at discharge was 39 years, 72% were men, 32% had tetraplegia, and in 65% the SCI was motor complete. At discharge, 39% reported shoulder pain and 32% had a limited shoulder ROM. In the analyses of variance, shoulder ROM limitation, but not shoulder pain, was associated with all but 1 outcome at 5 years. In the regression analyses, ROM limitations of the shoulder were negatively associated with the ability to transfer (P=.004), FIM motor scores (P<.001), and return to work (P= .027) 5 years after discharge. No significant associations were found with POpeak, WST performance time, SIPSOC, and PASIPD.


      The presence of limitations in shoulder ROM, but not shoulder pain, at discharge is associated with limitations in activities and employment status 5 years later.


      List of abbreviations:

      PASIPD (Physical Activity Scale for Individuals with Physical Disabilities), POpeak (peak power output), ROM (range of motion), SCI (spinal cord injury), SIP68 (68-Item Sickness Impact Profile), SIPSOC (mobility range and social behavior subscales of the Sickness Impact Profile 68), WST (Wheelchair Skills Test)
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