A new UK study is set to establish whether a personalised approach to dealing with shoulder pain could be an ideal solution for patients. It is estimated one in five adults within the UK suffer from shoulder pain. However, despite seeking treatment from their GP, 40% of patients continue to experience long-term shoulder pain.
Scientists from the Keele University are being jointly funded by the Arthritis Research UK and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). It is set to be the largest study of its kind and the hope is to provide patients with a treatment plan which will best fit their needs.
Here, you’ll discover more about this new study and what it could mean for the future of shoulder pain treatment.
What will the shoulder pain study involve?
The study is set to be one of the largest ever to be carried out into shoulder pain management. It will consist of four different stages and is reportedly costing £2.7 million.
In the first stage, researchers from the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre will analyse existing research alongside the University of Oxford. They’ll use the findings of this research to determine which factors will influence the likelihood of specific treatments benefitting patients.
The second stage will see the researchers follow 1000 patients who have sought help from a physiotherapist or GP for their shoulder pain. This will aid in the development of a decision making and screening tool which will be trialled during a randomised study. It is reported that 500 of the participants will be from Oxfordshire.
New tool could help identify need for intervention
The researchers are hoping that the new tool developed during the study will be able to be used to assess the cause and outcome of shoulder issues. This, in turn, will help them to develop a more personalised treatment plan to match the condition.
As it stands, GPs and physiotherapists don’t currently have a tool which can help them identify a patient’s risk of experiencing long-term shoulder pain. So, if the new tool does prove successful, it will ensure patients who are at an increased risk, get the appropriate treatment they need early on. It will also help patients who aren’t suffering from serious shoulder problems, avoid unnecessary invasive treatments.
Shoulder problems need to be treated as early as possible
The one thing that is known about shoulder problems, is they need to be treated as early as possible. This is because, the longer the condition is left untreated, the worse it will become. Many patients are currently being failed by their doctors because there simply isn’t a reliable diagnostic tool available.
Existing research has shown that each patient experiences shoulder pain differently, making it difficult for doctors and physicians to determine how severe the problem is.
This new study is certainly promising and if successful, could prove to be a game changer in the diagnosis and treatment of shoulder pain. In the meantime, patients are advised to seek treatment for any shoulder pain they may experience from a qualified, expert shoulder specialist.