Synthesize evidence regarding effectiveness of progressive and resisted or non-progressive and non-resisted exercise compared with placebo or no treatment, in rotator cuff related pain.
English articles, searched in Cochrane CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE and CINAHL databases up until May 19, 2020.
Randomized controlled trials in people with rotator cuff related pain comparing either progressive and resisted exercise or non-progressive and non-resisted exercise, with placebo or no treatment were included. Data extracted independently by two authors. Risk of bias appraised with the Cochrane Collaboration tool.
Seven trials (468 participants) were included, four trials (271 participants) included progressive and resisted exercise and three trials (197 participants) included non-progressive or non-resisted exercise. There was uncertain clinical benefit for composite pain and function (15 point difference, 95% CI 9 to 21, 100-point scale) and pain outcomes at >6 weeks to 6 months with progressive and resisted exercise compared to placebo or no treatment (comparison 1). For non-progressive or non-resisted exercise there was no significant benefit for composite pain and function (4 point difference, 95% CI −2 to 9, 100-point scale) and pain outcomes at >6 weeks to 6 months compared to placebo or no treatment (comparison 2). Adverse events were seldom reported and mild.
There is uncertain clinical benefit for all outcomes with progressive and resisted exercise and no significant benefit with non-progressive and non-resisted exercise, versus no treatment or placebo at >6 weeks to 6 months. Findings are low certainty and should be interpreted with caution.