OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of manipulative treatment of the structures of the shoulder girdle, in addition to standard treatment by the general practitioner for relief of shoulder symptoms and prevention of persistent or recurrent shoulder symptoms.
METHODS: A total of 250 patients with shoulder symptoms and a functional limitation of the shoulder girdle will be included from 30 general practices in Groningen, The Netherlands. All participating patients receive standard treatment by the general practitioner and will be randomly allocated to additional manipulative treatment. Evaluation measurements take place 6, 12, 26, and 52 weeks after randomization.
CONCLUSION: The short-term primary outcome measure is the proportion of patients with relief of shoulder complaints and the long-term primary outcome is the proportion of patients without persistent or recurrent shoulder symptoms. Dependent and independent variables include a structured medical history, a physical examination of the shoulder and shoulder girdle, and a measure of the mobility of the cervico-thoracic spine with a 6-degree-of-freedom electromagnetic tracking device.
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