What is the prevalence of hemiplegic shoulder pain in the US?

Updated: Feb 08, 2019
  • Author: Robert Gould, DO; Chief Editor: Stephen Kishner, MD, MHA  more...
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According to Van Ouwenaller and coauthors, shoulder pathology with resulting pain is relatively common in individuals who develop hemiplegia after stroke and/or brain injury. [16] Van Ouwenaller and colleagues report that shoulder pathology occurs in up to 85% of patients with spastic symptoms and in up to 18% of patients with flaccid symptoms. [16]

Other clinical trials have reported the general incidence of shoulder pain in patients with hemiplegic stroke to be 16-84%, [17, 18] while that for shoulder subluxation has been found to be as high as 81%. [18]

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) also appears to be a relatively common complication of hemiplegia, with Van Ouwenaller and colleagues reporting an incidence of 27% in patients with spasticity, versus 7% in those with flaccidity. [16] Other sources have reported an incidence of 12.5-61%.

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