University of Limerick
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Managing shoulder pain: a meta-ethnography exploring healthcare providers’ experiences

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-06-21, 10:48 authored by Christina Maxwell, Katie RobinsonKatie Robinson, Karen Mc CreeshKaren Mc Creesh
Objective To review and synthesize qualitative research studies exploring the experiences of Healthcare Providers (HCPs) of managing shoulder pain. Methods A meta-ethnographic approach was adopted to review and synthesize eligible studies. The findings from each included study were translated into one another using Noblit and Hares’ seven-stage process. A systematic search of eleven electronic databases was conducted in February 2021. Methodological quality was assessed using the CASP Appraisal Tool. Results Ten studies were included in the meta-synthesis, all deemed of high methodological quality. Three themes were identified; (1) Lack of consensus: “we all have different approaches.” (2) Challenges to Changing Practice: It’s “really hard to change and switch to a different approach,” (3) Getting “Buy in” to Treatment: “…so you have to really sell it early”. Conclusion Healthcare providers working with people with shoulder pain struggle to reconcile, often conflicting, research recommendations with their own clinical experience, beliefs and patient expectations. These findings help explain the continued lack of consensus on how best to manage shoulder pain in clinical practice. IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION Healthcare providers (HCPs) working with people with shoulder pain struggle to resolve conflicts between evidence-based recommendations, clinical experience, their own shoulder pain beliefs and patient expectations and preferences. Stronger collaboration across professional disciplines is needed to address the current lack of consensus on the management of shoulder pain. Many HCP’s find it difficult to engage patients with shoulder pain in exercise and they work hard to “sell” this approach to patients using strategies such as education, shared decision making and therapeutic alliance.


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Disability and Rehabilitation;


Taylor and Francis


peer-reviewed The full text of this article will not be available in ULIR until the embargo expires on the 13/04/2022

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This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article whose final and definitive form, the Version of Record, has been published in the Disability and Rehabilitation 2021 copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at:



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