We're using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalise your web experience.

By continuing to use our website without changing the settings, you're agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more
For more information, go to

New study to explore personalised care for people with shoulder pain

Published on 03 May 2018
New study to explore personalised care for people with shoulder pain

A collaboration is being launched by UK scientists to develop new clinical tools to offer personally-tailored interventions for people with shoulder pain.

Led by Keele University with joint funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and Arthritis Research UK, the programme will be one of the largest ever research efforts that NIHR has jointly funded with a charity, and will help to ensure that people receive the treatments from which they are most likely to benefit.

One in five adults in the UK experiences shoulder pain. Although around 1.5 million people visit their GP for shoulder pain each year, 40 per cent continue to experience ongoing pain despite treatment.

The aims of the research
At present, patients with shoulder pain are usually treated with exercises, shoulder injections or surgery, but there is a real demand for additional approaches to therapy.

The new study will see researchers from the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre at Keele University and the University of Oxford develop and test a new screening and decision-making tool for treatment. They will do this by identifying factors that may influence whether patients are likely to benefit from specific treatments. They will also follow 1,000 patients who have consulted their GP or a physiotherapist for shoulder pain.

Expected benefits
The team hopes the new tool will help doctors assess the likely cause and outcomes of shoulder problems. This will help them offer people personalised treatments matching the characteristics of their condition.

Principal investigator Danielle van der Windt, professor of primary care epidemiology at Keele University, said: "Many patients with shoulder pain recover quickly, but in others the pain does not diminish and can affect sleep, work and everyday life for many months. At the moment, we don't have good evidence that can help clinicians to identify patients at increased risk and make decisions about which treatment is likely to be best.

"This NIHR programme of research aims to provide such evidence. This means that, in future, patients who need it can be offered optimal treatment early on, whereas those who are likely to do well without treatment can be reassured and given good advice on how to manage their shoulder pain, so that unnecessary investigations or treatments can be avoided."

Arthritis Research UK's view
Dr Natalie Carter, head of research liaison and evaluation at Arthritis Research UK, said: "We are very excited to announce this funding partnership. By working together, we can have a bigger impact on the one in five people in the UK who live with the agony of shoulder pain.

"Everyone experiences arthritis differently, which is why making sure patients with shoulder pain are given treatments which will give the best results for them and their condition will make a huge difference on a person's life. If you are living with joint pain or arthritis and have questions about pain management, please visit the Arthritis Research UK website."

We're now

Versus Arthritis.

You're being taken through to our new website in order to finish your donation.

Thank you for your generosity.

For more information, go to
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.