Date Published: 17 August 2005

Leeds Scientists investigate effectiveness of treatments for shoulder pain

Health News from Leeds, England (UK).
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Shoulder pain is a common and disabling condition affecting mainly older people.

A team of physiotherapists based in the city of Leeds (West Yorkshire, England) are about to begin a two-year clinical trial testing the effectiveness of treatment currently given to patients in Leeds who are suffering from painful shoulder problems. Depending on the outcome of the trial, which will be run in collaboration with experts based at Leeds University, this treatment might be made available across the UK.

Up to 200 local patients over the age of 50 are to take part in the trial, for which recruitment is expected to begin later this summer.

One group of 100 patients will be given physiotherapy and exercise over a 12-week period, while the other will have a corticosteroid injection followed by physiotherapy and exercise a week later, a treatment regime that is already being used in Leeds.

"In other parts of the country, GPs will often give patients steroid injections but then because of waiting lists they have to wait for about two months to get their physiotherapy, by which time the effect of the injection is starting to wear off, and they find moving their shoulder too painful," explained Dickon Crawshaw, an extended scope physiotherapist at Leeds musculoskeletal and rehabilitation service, who will co-ordinate the trial.

_ But in Leeds, patients are already given a steroid injection by their physiotherapist, followed by physiotherapy and exercise a week later, when they still have reasonable pain relief. If we can prove that this is an effective way of treating these patients, then this service will be rolled out to other parts of the country

People will be recruited from among patients referred by GPs to the Leeds musculoskeletal and rehabilitation service. The service, which operates in several centres in the city, is a citywide primary care run service which sees about 26,000 patients a year, and is a multi-disciplinary team of predominantly physiotherapy podiatrists and doctors specialising in musculoskeletal conditions. The trial is being run in collaboration with the University of Leeds' academic unit of musculoskeletal disease.

Physiotherapist and other allied health professionals are playing an ever-bigger role in treating musculoskeletal conditions in primary care, and arc is increasingly funding more non-medics to carry out clinical research, and encouraging allied health professionals to develop careers in academic research. Derbyshire-based national medical research charity the Arthritis Research Campaign (arc) has awarded the Leeds researchers nearly £94,000 to carry out the trial.

Source: Leeds University, England (UK)

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