Rotator cuff related shoulder pain: Assessment, management and uncertainties.
Rotator cuff related shoulder pain (RCRSP) is an over-arching term that encompasses a spectrum of shoulder conditions including; subacromial pain (impingement) syndrome, rotator cuff tendinopathy, and symptomatic partial and full thickness rotator cuff tears. For those diagnosed with RCRSP one aim of treatment is to achieve symptom free shoulder movement and function. Findings from published high quality research investigations suggest that a graduated and well-constructed exercise approach confers at least equivalent benefit as that derived from surgery for; subacromial pain (impingement) syndrome, rotator cuff tendinopathy, partial thickness rotator cuff (RC) tears and atraumatic full thickness rotator cuff tears. However considerable deficits in our understanding of RCRSP persist. These include; (i) cause and source of symptoms, (ii) establishing a definitive diagnosis, (iii) establishing the epidemiology of symptomatic RCRSP, (iv) knowing which tissues or systems to target intervention, and (v) which interventions are most effective.