Lene Bastrup

Reducing shoulder complaints in employees with high occupational shoulder exposures: study protocol for a cluster-randomised controlled study (The Shoulder-Café Study)

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BACKGROUND: In Denmark, exercise therapy in combination with work modification is the first-choice treatment for persons with shoulder complaints and high occupational shoulder exposures. To obtain this treatment they must visit several healthcare providers, which makes usual care fragmented and uncoordinated. Therefore, we developed a new intervention which unifies the expertise that is needed. The main hypotheses are that a group-based Shoulder-Café intervention will more effectively reduce (1) shoulder complaints and (2) occupational shoulder exposures than an individual-based Shoulder-Guidance intervention (active control - enhanced usual care).

METHODS: A cluster-randomised trial is conducted including 120 employees with high occupational shoulder exposures. Companies (clusters) are randomised to either Shoulder-Café or Shoulder-Guidance with a 1:1 allocation ratio. Participants are 18-65 years old and have an Oxford Shoulder Score (OSS) ≤ 40. Both interventions include a home-based shoulder-exercise programme, assessment of shoulder exposures by technical measurements and self-report, and general information on how to reduce shoulder exposures. The Shoulder-Café course also includes three café meetings with physiotherapist-supervised exercises, clinical shoulder evaluation, education on shoulder anatomy, workplace-orientated counselling, and an opportunity for a workplace visit by a health and safety consultant. The primary outcomes are the OSS at 6-month follow-up (hypothesis I), and the mean number of min/day with the arm elevated > 60° shortly after the end of the intervention (hypothesis II). We will use a mixed-model analysis that allows for company clustering, and data will be analysed according to the intention-to-treat principle.

DISCUSSION: Persons with shoulder complaints and high occupational shoulder exposures are an obvious target group for secondary prevention efforts. We developed the Shoulder-Café to reduce shoulder complaints and shoulder exposures while unifying the expertise that is needed to evaluate and treat shoulder complaints. If the intervention is effective, it would warrant widespread implementation.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinicaltrials.gov, ID: NCT03159910. Registered on 18 May 2017.

Original languageEnglish
Article number627
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Shoulder Pain, occupation, intervention, exercise, mechanical exposure, training programme, Randomised controlled trial

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