Abstract

Development of a painful shoulder in the hemiplegic patient is a significant and serious problem, because it can limit the patient’s ability to reach his or her maximum functional potential. Several etiologies of shoulder pain have been identified, such as immobilization of the upper extremity, trauma to the joint structures, including brachial plexus injuries, and subluxation of the gleno-humeral joint. A review of the literature explains the basic anatomy and kinesiology of the shoulder complex, the various etiologies of hemiplegic shoulder pain, and the pros and cons of specific treatment techniques. This knowledge is essential for the occupational therapist to evaluate effectively techniques used to treat the patient with hemiplegic shoulder pain. More effective management of this problem will facilitate the patient’s ability to reach his or her maximum functional potential.

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